Ding dong: New bells cast during Our Tomorrow campaign launch


Eight new bells were cast under the shadow of the Campanile on the Verdin Bell Company’s bell foundry on wheels Oct. 6 and 7. Tim Verdin, CEO of the Verdin Company based in Cincinnati, Ohio noted the historical saga of UNI’s connection with the Verdin Company.

“We are a very old company. We were started in 1842 by my great-great-great grandfather,” Verdin said. “We had a relationship with the bell foundry that cast the original 15 bells installed in 1926.”

The Verdin Company also installed clock movements on the Campanile in the 1940s and expanded the original 15 chime bells into a carillon in 1968. The company’s most recent work on the Campanile included the casting of eight bells to successfully establish a full octave carillon utilizing their bell foundry on wheels.

“We load the furnaces, assemble all the sand molds, melt the bronze, and cast the bells on site,” Verdin said. “They cool down and then use sledgehammers and other equipment to essentially break the mold from the bells and then we polish them getting ready for the public to view.”

Verdin continued, “It’s a spectacle you can learn from. It shows how you can essentially start from nothing, which in our case are these bronze ingots we load into the furnace, and with a little bit of hard work and some time you can turn them into something as beautiful as a bell.”

The significance of bells was emphasized by Verdin, and how it can create a sense of community while bringing back fond memories.

“A bell has a special meaning,” Verdin said. “The sound of a bell can kind of bring back memories of what it used to be like.”

Verdin continued, “To my knowledge, this is the first time that a carillon bell has ever been cast on a mobile bell foundry in this country. They are pretty unique.”

The Verdin Company will also work on existing bells in the carillon, which is set to be up and running again by next Homecoming.