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Harvard University sues over cracked bell

November 21
4:44 PM 2013

Harvard University has resorted to suing Chime Master Systems over a dispute over a cracked church bell. The Ivy League school accused the Ohio company of installing a defective clapper that allegedly cause the Harvard Yard bell to crack in 2011. The 5000 pound bell began to produce an 'abnormally loud and noticeably harsh sound" when rung, according to the legal documents filed in the U.S District Court in Boston on Monday.

The source was a 24 to 30 inch crack in the bell that was noticed a little more than two months after the clapper was installed, according to court documents submitted. For now, an electronic chime is used for the meantime with the same schedule as the bell.

Chime Master, whom was hired in 2006 to maintain the bell and recommend a replacement clapper in 2011, is now facing legal action for negligence and breach of warranty.

"As a result of Chime Master's improper work, Harvard has incurred costs in determining the cause of the crack in the Memorial Church bell and will incur great expense for its replacement," Harvard's complaint states.

Jeff Crook, Chime Master president referred all calls to his insurance company's attorney whom also declined to comment on the matter.

Background: Cast in England, the Memorial Church bell was donated in 1932 by then-Harvard president A. Lawrence Lowell and installed as part of the church's dedication in honor of Harvard students who died in World War I.

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