Photos of a Handbell Ghost

Posted By Derek Nance on Dec 5, 2014 | 5 comments


Schulmerich Bells recently went through a big change.  After being in the same factory since 1950, the company decided it was time to move to a newer facility.  Regular readers of the blog will remember that this summer I packed up and moved across the country to work for Schulmerich.  So when I heard that we were moving, I grabbed a camera and documented the last few days of production in the iconic Schulmerich factory.
The first thing anyone noticed when they came to the factory was the beautiful location.  Sitting on a green hill in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, the fading white factory stood in stark contrast to the green trees surrounding it.

On the inside of the factory lived the machines that are at the heart of the Schulmerich factory.  While the people in the factory cycle in and out, these machines have been there for decades, turning out handbell after handbell.  Because they have stayed in place for so many years, each machine seems to have taken on a personality of it’s own.

Because it is a working handbell factory, there are bells all over the place. You can find everything from raw castings to half turned bells to half bells used for demonstrations laying around the factory.

Decades and decades of use leaves its mark on a building.  Employees from the past left evidence of their presence for us to find.

Then it was time to move.  It took a small army of trucks and crew to get the old factory on the road.

After the moving crews had done their job, the factory sat empty and still.

However, this is not a sad story about the death of a building.  The machinery was all moved to a new facility and still produces the finest quality bells.  Due to an accident during demolition, the factory had a fiery finale.  And the hill top that was home to Schulmerich for so many decades will now be home to a housing development.  George’s legacy will continue to live on, however, because the new housing development will be called “Carillon Hill“.

Carillon Hill sign

Carillon Hill sign

A big thank you to my friend Jeremy for letting me borrow his fancy camera for the week to take all these pictures.  Schulmerich will be having an open house of their new facility in Hatfield, Pennsylvania on December 11th.  You can find out more about that on their website.