Paccard Bell Foundry

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History

  • 1796 Village of Quintal - After the French revolution, the village found itself without a bell or priest. Its bell was taken down and melted for cannon. Mayor Antoine Paccard implored the Bishop to send the village a new priest. The Bishop agreed with a stipulation that "You will have a priest when a bell rings in the church tower." Paccard approached founder Jean-Baptiste Pitton of Geneva to cast the bell. When Pitton requested an assistant, Paccard decided to help, and at the age of 24 discovered his new vocation. The bell at Quantal still rings today.
  • Early 1800s - Antoine continues to make bells and trains his sons Jean-Pierre and Claude to cast bells and improve the quality.
  • 1854 Annecy-le-Vieux - The foundry is moved closer to railways allowing expansion of the foundry to supply bells to a larger region.
  • 1857 - Jean-Pierre's widow, Fanfoué, takes over the foundry to protect her minor sons' future interest in the company from their uncle Claude. When George reaches adulthood, she gives him control of the business.
  • 1800s - George and his brothers, Francique and Victor continue to prosper the foundry with an international reputation for fine bells. George brings the foundry technologically into the industrial age and casts more than 10,000 bells. Over time George develops the distinctive profile that give Paccard bells their unique sonorous voice.
  • 1891 - George Paccard casts the largest bell ever cast in France, the Savoy bell for Sacré-Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica) in Montmartre.
  • 1900s - George continues to advise his own sons Joseph and Louis as they take over the foundry. The annual output during this time is between 700 and 800 bells. Chimes and carillons instruments are also introduced. Alfred, son of Louis, with his cousins Henri Jacques refines the art of bell tuning to create beautiful musical instruments.
  • 1950 - The federal government of the United States commissions 54 replicas of the Liberty Bell. These replicas opened doors to other opportunities in the US for the foundry.
  • 1989 - The foundry is moved to its new location in Sévrier. Today the Paccard bell foundry is a main attraction to tourists who travel the the Savoy region of France. In addition to the foundry tours where you can witness bells being cast, Paccard maintains a museum that chronicles the development of what has come to be known as "le Stradivarius de la Cloche" (the Stradivarius of bells).