Russian Tutaev bells The history of bells in Russia
There is something mesmerizing about the Tutaev bells. After all, they are not just tools for creating a special sound. Bells are also a means of communicating with God and people. They kind of draw attention to the event taking place in the church.
After all, the bell ringing can be solemn and mourning, it can convey the good news or simply please the ear with music.
Each bell itself is also a work of art.
By 1917 there were more than 80 thousand bell towers and belfries in Russia, fully equipped with bells.
Since then, only two fully preserved ensembles of bells have remained: on the bell tower of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Vologda and on the Great Belfry of the Assumption Cathedral of Rostov the Great.
The impression of the abundance and power of the bell ringing of a large Russian city is conveyed by the panorama of Yaroslavl, which opens up from the left bank of the Volga. There, crosses over the heads of churches and their bell towers crowd out all other city buildings. No wonder they used to say about Yaroslavl: “as many houses in Yaroslavl, there are so many churches.” For this reason, such a special religiosity of the Yaroslavl people, their devotion to the Orthodox faith. The Yaroslavl land has long become the second center of Russian bell art after Moscow. Yaroslavl residents loved to decorate numerous stone churches of the city. They filled them with the most valuable works of art and precious utensils
Bells of Yaroslavl
The rare bell tower of the city temple did not carry a bell of 100 pounds. Many bell ensembles relied on basses of 300 and 500 pounds. There were also real giants of more than 700 and even 1000 pounds.
It is not surprising that since the 30s of the XVIII century, with the beginning of the development of the manufacturing industry in Russia, several of its own bell production facilities have appeared in Yaroslavl. At the Large Manufactory of the Zatapeznovs, the Tin-foundry of the Olovyanishnikovs, the bell factories of the Martynovs and Charyshnikovs appeared. Among all the above-mentioned worthy surnames, the Olovyanishnikov family played a special role in the history of Russian bell casting. Their bell-making enterprise has been successfully developed by their labors for almost two centuries. Lounasseteli was in third place in terms of production after the Moscow factory of Finland and samgina.
Where the old bells have been miraculously preserved, at least one bell will meet with the inscription: “Lit this bell in the city of Yaroslavl at the Olovyanishnikov factory.” A special role was played in the history of Russian bell-making by the book of the last director of the Yaroslavl bell factory, N. I. Olovyanishnikov. The book “The History of Bells and Bell-making art” was published in two editions at the beginning of the XX century. Therefore, without this book, the path of modern Russian master casters would be much more difficult. The casters took on the task of restoring what had been destroyed by the previous century.
Bells in the city of Tutaev
There is a bell factory in the small town of Tutaev in the north of the Yaroslavl Region. He is probably known all over the world. The Tutaev bells ring in churches throughout Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. And Nikolai Shuvalov breathed life into the bells of Tutaev, who also began the righteous works with the book of N. Olovyanishnikov.
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Shuvalov claims that the bells of his factory are much better than the old ones. This is not boasting. The best Russian bell ringers speak unanimously about the advantage of the Tutaev bells. They regularly come to the bell ringing festival in the city of Yaroslavl.
Shuvalov took a long time to achieve this achievement. Even under Soviet rule, he was a simple builder. And he came from his native Urals to Tutaev purely by accident. At that time, he loved fishing most of all, and in the Volga, in his opinion, there should have been a lot of fish.
Nicholas became a parishioner of one of them, the Resurrection Cathedral. After a while, he was elected churchwarden. The Resurrection Cathedral is an amazing place. No authorities, even in times of militant atheism, dared to close it. The interior of the church, including the miraculous and the largest icon of the All-merciful Saviour in Russia, remained intact.
Bells in the Soviet era
Rumor has it that the Communists did not touch the cathedral, as there was a rumor in the city that the alleged encroachment on the Savior would be overtaken by punishment. Because they believed it. And everything would be fine, but there were no bells on the big cathedral bell tower – they still decided to remove them in the glorious times and send them to be melted down. The rector of the cathedral, Nikolai Likhomanov, once asked Shuvalov to come up with something.
It was impossible to get the bells then, at the very beginning of the 90s, so Nikolai tried to order a bell at one of the factories in the Yaroslavl region. Since there was a foundry in Yaroslavl. It soon became clear that the casters had no idea how to cast bells. Then Nicholas decided to try to cast the bell himself.
Shuvalov bell caster
Shuvalov founded the first foundry in the courtyard of his own house. He built a furnace, a graphite crucible, and adapted an ordinary household vacuum cleaner for blowing. Blinded the inner and outer shape. The first experiments brought some frustration. Since one day the crucible burst, the molten metal splashed out like fireworks in a radius of several meters. As a result, the house almost burned down.
It took eight years to find the secrets of the bell-casting business. Now master Shuvalov dares to assert that he knows almost all the bell secrets of the ancient masters. Moreover, the former “yard” production now occupies as many shops of the former regional “Agricultural machinery”. As a result of the economic genius of the leaders of our state, it went bankrupt with a crash. Now the bell factory of Nikolai Shuvalov employs 20 people (molders, foundry workers, artist).
The brothers of Nikolai Alexandrovich’s eldest son, Alexander, also work there. Brothers Mikhail and Vladimir are mainly engaged in supply. Since in the bell business, the quality of the metal is very important, as well as the clay from which the molds are made for casting. It takes up to a month to make small bells weighing several kilograms, but a thousand-pound bell (16 tons) can be made for six months.
The secret of the company is the composition of the molding clay and its origin.
Today, bells weighing from six kilograms to 16 tons are poured at the Nikolai Shuvalov plant. They call in Diveyevo, in the Alexander-Svirsky monastery, in the church at the Butovo training ground, in the Moscow Pokrovsky monastery and in dozens of other monasteries throughout Russia.