Paccard Bell Foundry workers from 1900

Paccard Bell Foundry workers from 1900

Paccard History

The Paccard family is in its seventh generation, with worldwide operations directed by Philippe Paccard. Philippe is supported in his work by his brother, Cyril, who leads the design and engineering work of the Paccard Bell Foundry.

With over 125,000 bells cast and delivered, Paccard bells are known worldwide for their warmth and sweetness of tone, and quality of their tuning.

  • Founded by Antoine Paccard, (1770-1830), in 1796
  • Operated by seven generations of the Paccard family
  • Perfected the art and science of musically tuning bronze bells
  • Cast the largest swinging bell in Europe, the 19-ton Savoyarde at the Sacre-Couer in Paris
  • Cast the largest swinging peal in the world, three bells in Markham, Ontario, bourdon bell alone is 40,000 pounds
  • Cast the worlds largest single swinging bell, the World Peace bell, in Newport, Kentucky, 73,000 pounds
  • Have cast more than 125,000 bells since 1796 for their clients all over the world

About Paccard Bells

Each Paccard bell is meticulously crafted by hand, carefully cast using the lost wax process, and finely tuned to exact musical standards. Cast only of bronze, Paccard bells are composed of pure red copper and block tin. Although the ratio of copper to tin is different depending on the size of the bell, most bells are approximately 78% copper and 22% tin.

Only new metal is used in the casting. When selecting a cast bronze bell, it is also critical to choose a founder who understands how to properly tune a bell. Paccard is the best choice.

By working, studying, and experimenting over generations with the shape of the bell and the thickness of the bell at the “sound bow”, the Paccard Foundry has developed the acoustically balanced carillon. Consider the great strength and volume of a large bourdon bell, such as a 5,000 pound C3, in relation to a 29 pound C7. (For reference, a C3 is C below middle C on a piano – middle C on a piano is identified as C4).

Without any adjustments, the C7 is overpowered by the C3. To help overcome that size / volume disparity, the C3 would be cast in a medium profile, incorporating a thinner structure at the sound bow (striking point), while the C7 uses a heavy profile that requires a much thicker sound bow. This difference in thickness at the sound bow helps the smaller bells ring louder, preventing them from being overpowered by the larger bells, creating the rich soundscape that is characteristic of the Paccard carillon.

In addition to thickness, Paccard’s bell profiles have two other important characteristics that impact acoustic balancing:

  1. The Paccard profile, or shape, which has been developed over two centuries, is designed to intensify the bell’s prime note while subduing its minor third.
  2. As the bell sizes decrease, the amount of tin used in their construction increases. Increasing the ratio of tin to copper allows the smaller bells to ring for a longer period of time, which also helps prevent the larger bells from overpowering them.

The end result is a musically wonderful tower instrument of cast bronze bells – the acoustically-balanced Paccard carillon.