Whitechapel Tone Ring

By the mid 1800’s Cornwall was producing over half the world’s tin and copper from roughly 3000 mines. Boats from Wales would arrive at Cornish ports loaded with coal from the North, brought to fuel the great Cornish steam pumping engines. The tin and copper would then be loaded back onto the boats to be distributed to the UK, Europe and beyond. 
In 1858 the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London cast a 13tonne bronze bell made of tin and copper. This bell was named ‘Big Ben’ and in 1859 it was housed in Westminster clock tower at the Houses of Parliament in London. Due to the distribution pattern of metals at that time it is fair to presume that Big Ben itself is most probably made from Cornish Metal.
Much of the tonal quality and variation of the banjo is a result of the tone ring. How it is made, shape, size and what materials all affect the sound. As a large single piece of resonant metal the best results have historically been found in Bell Bronze, an alloy of 80% Copper and 20% Tin. Whitechapel Bell Foundry have specialised in the art of mixing Bell Bronze for hundreds of years, perfecting the best way to attain the ultimate resonant alloy. 
We have worked extensively and for some time with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London to perfect the ultimate method of casting a bell bronze tone ring. These are carefully delivered to us to be turned to the correct size and shape according to our requirements.
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