St. Patrick’s Cathedral's 19 bells (chimes) were cast by G. & F. Paccard Company of Annecy, Savoy, France with a range of nearly two octaves. They arrived in July 1897 and were displayed inside the Cathedral near the 5th Avenue entrance. They have a combined weight of over 29,000lbs and range in weight from 137 lbs to 6,608 lbs. Each bell also bears an inscription written in Latin by Rev. Philip Cordella, SJ. A translation (in verse) of each was made by Michael J.A. McCafferty, LL.D.
On August 15, 1897, they were blessed by Archbishop Michael Corrigan in an elaborate ceremony before a crowd of 5,000. The Hertford Champ Company was hired to install the bells in the North Tower in February 1898 under the supervision of two European expert bell hangers.
The bells were rung by hand by means of tracker action from 1897 to 1952. One hundred ten foot rods connected the levers to the clappers of the bells to make them sound. Mr. Montell Toulmin played the bells regularly by hand for 44 years until he died on May 5, 1946. After that Charles Henry played them, but only very rarely.
In 1952, after a bequest from Mrs. Maren Fellowes who died on January 28, 1951, the bells were electrified and are played from a small keyboard in the Gallery. "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" was the first song played on the bells for April 8, 1952, the Tuesday of Holy Week. They were not played again until April 13, Easter Sunday by Dr. Charles Courboin.
|St. Anthony of Padua||A||971.13|
|St. John the Evangelist||B||667.7|
|St. Francis Xavier||C#||476.3|
|St. Alphonsus Liguori||F||240.9|
|St. Thomas Aquinas||F#||204|
Sources: Catholic News, July 18, 1897, August 8, 1897, August 22, 1897;New York Times, August 16, 1897; The History of St. Patrick’s Cathedral,John M. Farley, 1908.