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"The Real Thing!"

These are the first bells we brought to America, from the Pyatkov & Co., of Kamensk-Uralskij, in Russia. They were made at the same foundry that produced the cannons for Admiral Bering and for Fort Ross, Russia's lonely outpost in Mendocinco County, California, 200 years ago.

These bells are at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Anselmo, California. That's our own parish, and Fr. Stephan Meholick, who dreamed of real bells all his life, urged us to start this business after we'd gotten two sets for St. Nicholas in 1999. He was also the one who exclaimed, "The real thing!" when they arived. And as anyone in the neighborhood will tell you, they are!

Here, bells no. 1, 2, 3, and 4 are on the top row, and nos. 6, 5, and 8 (click the links to hear the sounds) are in that order on the bottom row. We don't have No. 7 (yet).

No. 5 looks different because it is not a Pyatkov bell, but a bell that we had from before. Fortunately, it's a bronze bell, and its sound works well with the others— but that won't happen with old school bells or ship or railroad bells!

The woman in the blue dress had never played bells before we took this picture— and our video. Yet the ensemble was good enough that we've proudly used the footage ever since. In case you're wondering who's ringing bells no. 5 and 6, there's a fourth person behind the pillar and the big bell, but you can't see her here.

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