The Campanile’s original 12 bells were cast in 1914-15 by Taylor’s Bell Foundry of Loughborough, England, and first played Nov. 3, 1917, joined by the factory whistles of west Berkeley. Those original bells are still played today.
As the campus celebrates the Campanile’s centennial, university carillonist Jeff Davis — in an op-ed published in the Daily Californian — shares historical background about Sather Tower, the bells atop it, and those who have played the massive instrument over the decades.
Carillons, by their nature, “are exposed to the elements,” he writes. “Our carillon, directly across from the Golden Gate, is particularly exposed to constant salt air, moisture, wind and changes in temperature,” and as a consequence needs a serious upgrade.
“This centennial year is a good time for all of us to consider how much the tower and the bells mean to us,” he writes. “Jane Sather and John Galen Howard left us a spectacular legacy. It is up to us to make certain it endures.”