A bellmaker participates in the function of bellfounding, which is the manufacturing of bells from casts, usually in a foundry. This is not a new tradition and dates back to the early 4th century and the manufacture continues to the present day. Bells are often created in order to create a particular pitch of noise; due to this the bell design has to be exact and precise. Wooden templates are used to create the bell, this includes both the outside and inside of the bell, these wooden templates are traditionally known as strickle boards. The manufacturing process of bells has changed very little of the years. To create a bell, a false bell is first manufactured in order to be able to produce the bell under the false coat. Bells which are manufactured with the intent of being used to create a noise are usually produced in a high copper bronze, which includes bother copper and tin. This is a suitable element as it is substantial, long wearing and will with stand sever weather conditions. Bells which are not required to make noises, which are often used as decorative methods, can be made from materials such as wood and clay.
One of the most famous bells with England, is Big Ben located within Westminster in London, the original bell within the clock was manufactured in 1856 by John Warner and Sons. Although this first bell was produced before the clock was ready, therefore it was held in New Palace Yard, and unfortunately it became cracked. A replacement bell was produced, which first chimed in 1859. As well as this main bell, four other quarter bells are held within Big Ben, these bells play a twenty chime sequence, the tune played is the one of the Cambridge Chimes. To create this tune, just like in any other bell, the bell has to be manufactured to an exact formula. The formula is used to provide the diameter and every dimension. Bells can be tuned once manufactured even through the use of a tuning fork, or in more recent times through the use of electronic equipment such as electronic stroboscopic tuning devices. The Big Ben bell is the third largest in Britain, after Great Paul in London and Great George in Liverpool. The bells within Big Ben, sound every hour.
Bells which are often produced by bellmakers may be used for the art of change ringing, which is ringing a set of tuned arms. This art now occurs all over the world although it was established in the 17th century in Britain. Traditionally each bell has an operator (a ringer) and the bell is rung freely to create a free melody (not one which is planned). The size of the church or bell tower often dictates the amount of bells within a certain space, for example the larger the church often means the larger number of bells. Some churches may have only two and some may have sixteen.