The earliest record of the van Bergen family is found on a graveyard monument in the village of Memelin, Germany. The monument reads, "H.A. von Bergen, Glockengiesser - 1790." His son, A.H. van Bergen, settled in Holland, and began casting bells in 1795 at his foundry in Heiligerlee. This was the beginning of fine tuning of cast bronze bells. So explosive was the demand for sets of these bells in the Netherlands that the van Bergen family bellfoundry became the leader in the industry.
|Andries Heero van Bergen, three sons and workers upon completion of two large bells in Holland, 1906.|
In 1939, H.T. van Bergen brought two carillons to display at the New York World's Fair. One carillon was installed at the Dutch Reformed Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J. and the other was installed at Callie Self Memorial Church in Greenwood, S.C. At that time, Holland was at war, and the van Bergens were unable to return home. After World War II, van Bergen Bellfoundries, Inc. established the first bellfoundry in America that actually tuned bells. Larger bells were still imported from Holland, but smaller instruments were cast in Greenwood.
Notable van Bergen installations from that period include The Citadel, Charleston, S.C.; St. Martin's Church, New York City; University of Montana, Missoula, MT; and the recasting of 56 bells for the Riverside Church in New York City.
|H.T. van Bergen with his son, H. H. van Bergen at the carillon display at the 1939 New York's World Fair.|
Handing down the tradition of careful tuning and casting from generation to generation has allowed van Bergen to grow and continually improve its products. Bellfounding is an art which has passed from father to son for generations. Many casting techniques, which were developed years ago, are still used today. Each bell is hand-crafted, using a custom-made mold which is destroyed once the bell is cast.
Expanding to meet the ever changing demands of the marketplace, in 1985, van Bergen entered the digital sampling field which now includes the Renaissance Multi-Voice Carillon Instrument and the Flemish Master Carillon. Solid state systems, providing digitally sampled true bell sounds with user-friendly operating systems, have kept van Bergen at the top in the bell and carillon industry.
|Installation of bells at the National Shrine, Washington, D.C.|
Harmannus (Harry) H. van Bergen, Carillon Consultant and Designer - Harry van Bergen is well-qualified as a bell consultant. He grew up as a member of a bellfounder's family and studied the art (casting-tuning-playing) in Europe. He learned to play the carillon while at college, studied with the late Kamiel Lefevere, Riverside Church Carillonneur, New York City, and is an associate member of the Guild of Carillonneurs. His bell expertise has been developed over a period of more than forty years, which gives him the experience to make the best possible recommendation. No other firm in this country can give you this background, which is most important to you for the finest installation.