What IS that?
Schulmerich Coronation Carillon “Auto Bell” Roll player. It is just over 50 years old and was made in 1963.
What’s a carillon?
It’s a musical instrument composed of carillon bells arranged chromatically and tuned harmonically so they may be played together from a controller that can either be a keyboard or a paper roll (like a player piano). You can usually hear them in church or bell towers.
Why do we have it?
Actually, no one knows. It’s been on campus since July 1, 1984 and it used to sit in the student activities office on the second floor of the SUB. It sat there for years but no one knows where it came from.
Have we ever used it?
Yes. Around 2000, Mike Beckert, manager of the Gleason Auditorium, began noticing it in student activities office. He thought it was just a safe. One day he asked what it was. Rodney Bowers, Dean of Students, said he thought it was something that “played bells”. About the same time, Mike was asked to come up with an idea of how to broadcast the alma mater into Panther Plaza from speakers on top of the SUB. Mike immediately thought of the carillon. Since this carillon worked by use of a paper roll, Mike tried to find one of the Florida Tech “alma mater”. He couldn’t find one so he bypassed the internal mechanism and hooked up a computer to the speakers. At first, it was programmed to play the alma mater every hour but, as you can imagine, it got a little tedious. It was then programmed to chime every hour and play the alma mater only at noon. This continued for five or six years.
Where can I find it on campus now?
You can see the carillon in the library on the first floor outside of Dean Wastawy’s office. Mike says “the carillon is so well-made, it probably still works today.”