School Bell & PA Systems

Here’s my school’s bell & PA systems:

Elementary School (Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade), Elementary School (Grades 2-5)
Bell: 4 Second 1250 hz Sine Wave Tone Over PA System.
All Call, classroom page: .05 Second 1250 HZ Sine Wave Tone
PA System was probably an older Rauland or Bogen system.
Elementary School (Pre-K for August-October 1999)
Bell: Three or Four .5 Second 875 hz Triangular Wave Chimes then one .5 Second 875 Hz Triangular Wave Tone
All Call: 2 Second 800 hz Triangular Wave Tone
PA System was a Dukane StarCall, made around 1989/1990.
Middle School
Bell: Four 1 Second 500 hz Sine Wave Chimes, then one .5 second 500 hz Sine Wave Tone
All Call: 2 Second 700 hz Sine Wave Tone
Classroom Page: .05 Second 1250 hz Sine Wave Tone
PA System was a Rauland Borg Telecenter, made around 2001.
High School
Class Change Bell: Two 1 Second 525 hz Sine Wave Chimes, then one .5 second 525 hz Sine Wave Tone
Warning Bell: Six .5 Second 825 hz Sine Wave Chimes, then one .5 second 825 hz Sine Wave Tone
All Call: Three .5 Second 1400 hz Square Wave Tones
Classroom Page: 2 Second 1000 hz Sine Wave Tone
PA System is a Rauland Borg Telecenter, made around 2005-2006 (I Think).
NOTE: I’ve noticed this during my Freshman Year, they sometimes (RARELY) play music before school and in some cases between classes. They stopped doing that last year.

My current school’s PA system is an old DuKane system (one second tone for announcements), possibly from when the school was first built, but there are newer model speakers (unknown manufacturers) in some parts of the school. Holmes might also have a DuKane system (one second tone for announcements) but I am not sure. While I was at Cass and Riley, I believe both schools used Simplex PA systems (the clocks there were also manufactured by Simplex) w/ a 0.5 second tone.

For bell systems, most schools I’ve attended used National Time for their bell systems, w/ a 4 second ringing time. Riley may have a non-synchronized Autocall system, though. Stevenson may also have likely had a Standard Electric bell control panel in the past before getting replaced by a National Time panel.

Do you mean either a 4-second ringing of mechanical bells and/or a 4-second electronic tone over a PA System?

I know that my elementary school had a Dukane system, but I’m not sure about my current school or the one before it. None of my schools have had bell systems.

I’m glad all of my schools used bells that were just tones over the intercom. I can’t imagine having to actually hear that really loud actual bell go off at school. It would have been terrifying.

Mechanical bells–none of the schools I have attended have ever used bell tones over the intercoms.

Were those mechanical bells loud and scary? I’d hate to attend a school that used mechanic bells. I prefer the tone over the intercom.

Elementary School: Simplex 2350 Master Time system with 6" IBM vibrating bells inside and 10" IBM bells with guards outside.

Middle/High School: For grades 6 through 75% of 12th grade, a Simplex 2350 Master Time system. The middle school bell sound was a buzzer tone that came from behind the clocks (buzzer mounted in the backbox). In the high school, it was single-stroke chimes in the hallways with some classrooms having buzzers as well. When the school was added onto during the the 2002-2003 school year, they installed Edwards Adaptabels in the new additions. In 2004, they rennovated the HS office and they accidentally cut most of the wires that were wired to the master time system which left the HS and the new additions without bells. Simplex came down and rewired the chimes in the HS and eventually the new classroom wing, but the buzzers in the HS and the bells in the gyms never worked again after that, and to my knowledge, they still don’t to this day. They also replaced a couple of singlestroke chimes in the HS with 6" vibrating bells because people complained they could not hear the bells ring. Finally, the 2350 shorted out during the later half of my senior year and was replaced with a Simplex 6400 master time system. None of the non-working bells were fixed at that time.

@Fallin86: No–I am used to the bells nowadays, but they used to petrify me sometimes when I was attending the elementary schools. The bells are not loud as to deafen, and most people I know have no problems with the bells.

1st ES - I have no clue about what kind of bell system they had, but it used vibrating bells, I think 6" ones behind grilles. They were definitely loud though. They were probably either Edwards or Simplex, and they rang for either 3 or 5 seconds. The school was built in the mid-70s and had a more open architecture; the classrooms were open to the hallway and the walls were movable. I’ve never seen that kind of setup anywhere else. Therefore, I don’t think they had a clock system. I’m not sure about the PA system.

2nd ES - Simplex clocks and time system with tones over the PA system (which was most likely Simplex, since the fire alarms were also Simplex). The class tone only rang when school started and ended. The tone was a 500 Hz chime with 3 dings that lasted about 1.5 to 2 seconds, and then a ding that was cut off after about a half-second. The announcement tone was about 700 Hz (not sure of the exact frequency, but it was an F note) and lasted either .5 or 1 second.

MS - the middle school used to be 2 separate schools, but they were connected around 1970. Some of the rooms had Standard clock/speaker units, and the rest of them had separate clocks and speakers. They originally used bells - half of the school had grey IBM 6" bells, and the other half had black Autocall bells, mostly 4" but some were 6". Actually, there was one tan 8" bell like the one in SimplexTech’s vid when he was testing that old IBM/Simplex system. When I went there, they had a class tone over the PA that sounded the same as my ES except there were 4 dings. The clock system was most likely Standard, but I’m not sure about the PA system. The announcement tone was a half-second 500 Hz tone, but it sounded a bit buzzier than the class tone. Half of that building was renovated in '99, and I don’t know what companies they use now.

HS - the original high school had Edwards clock/speaker/phone units, and I think the bell system was Edwards. They had Edwards 4" adaptabels, and buzzers in the rooms, behind the clocks. They rang for 3 seconds. I thought the bells were loud, but not as loud as my first ES. Some of the buzzers didn’t sound though. A few of the ones that did were loud, and others were quiet. That school was renovated in 2000, and they now have Simplex clock/speaker units, and they use the exact same tones that my second ES uses. I’m pretty sure their time system is Simplex. The PA might be Simplex also.

Both PA systems in my school were by Dukane. IDK the models.

Actually, the clock/speaker/phone units in the old high school might not have been Edwards. I believe the clocks were Edwards though.

First Elementary School: No P.A. system. Generic speakers that broadcasted a bell tone (Westminster Chime, I believe) were installed when I was in third or fourth grade to signal the beginning and end of the day along with the recesses.

Second Elementary School: Bell is broadcasted over the P.A. system (don’t know the manufacturer) which uses Electro Vox speakers such as this one (not my picture). Disconnected Faraday Uni-Pact bells are located throughout the school and the clocks are a mix of older electric Faraday and Westclox models along with a few Bates and CTS battery-operated ones.

High School: Bell is broadcasted over the P.A. system (once again, I don’t know the manufacturer) which uses older generic-looking Atlas Soundolier speakers. The clocks were older Unelco/Standard models with a Unelco master clock (replaced in 2007 with newer battery-operated models). A few Standard bells remain outside.

Elementary school: Some Edwards bell control panel. There were 10 bells installed inside + outside the school. There are Edwards 4" adaptabels (5), Edwards 10" adaptabels (4), and 1 Edwards adaptahorn (outside). Outside, The only 6" adaptabel we had was replaced with a 4" adaptabel, and one of the 4" adaptabels were replaced with a adaptabuzzer, then a 10" adaptabel. The only bell that doesn’t work is the one in the gymnasium, a 10" adaptabel. I think it’s disconnected, it hasn’t worked since I began school there.

High school: The bells are over the PA system, and are controlled by a panel ( the company is named ______tone, have no clue). There are about 11 bells installed around the school. A mix of 6" adaptabels, and 4" IBM and Simplex bells. I don’t know if they were part of an old bell system, or are used for another system, but I have never heard them go off.

A while ago in the Some Fire Alarm Pics thread on this page:, you posted some pics of those IBM 4" bells. We had those exact same kind of 4" bells in half of the old middle school, but they were by Autocall and they were black. Actually, a few of them were 6". They used tones while I was there though, so unfortunately, I never heard those bells ring.

It’s probably an Executone system.

Yeah, same here, i really wanna know how those bells at my school sound like. I have no idea if the bells are actually still in use for anything else, so maybe i’ll try and see if i could get some.

I’m guessing these could be Rauland Telecenter systems…

Elementary school - Had round Lathem clocks and a Dukane PA system, both installed upon the school’s first expansion in 1986. The old wing had the clocks and speakers separate (you pulled strings on the sides of the speakers to call the office), while the new wing had tall combination units with a clock, a speaker, a call button, light switches, and a thermostat. The bell was generally a steady tone that sounded for 5 seconds. The one I remember for the majority of the time was a middle-pitched G-note (I think). I remember that it was higher pitched when I first started there in kindergarten, and in my last year (8th grade) it became lower-pitched and a bit overtly loud. It also became slightly higher pitched for a short time later on (I want to say 4th or 5th grade) - the first day that tone was used, they also seemed to be experimenting with other tones during the morning (a quick chirp and a very high-pitched raspy tone), or perhaps they were having problems since the bell then stopped sounding for two periods before the slightly higher-pitched tone returned. The year after I graduated, when the school expanded, the bell became an intermittent “Bing… Bing-bing… Bing-Bing”, also a bit on the loud side.

First high school - Built in 1970, the school had a Simplex synchronous clock system and a Dukane PA system - the controls for both were updated over the summer before my sophomore year. The bell during freshman year was a steady high C note, sounding very similar to the common “bleep” tone used for censorship (laughter would ensue when the bell would interrupt a PA announcement). Sophomore year, it became three lower “F” notes sounding over the course of five seconds. The PA system had the Simplex units with square clocks (many of which were either frozen or displayed the wrong time, even after the upgrade) and speakers next to each other. There were Dukane-branded phone handsets on the walls of each room that would initially be used to talk privately to the office, but after the upgrade, the receivers essentially functioned as call switches and communication would take place through the PA speakers. Then the next year, the receivers were removed in favor of a telephone system installed throughout the school, leaving the PA system for one-way communication only.

Also worth noting, the gym, cafeteria, and band room were in the elementary school building next door. This had a Standard synchronous system from 1960 with round clocks and 6-inch Standard vibrating bells. Don’t know a lot of details about the PA system - the speakers were flush-mounted and separate from the clocks, and there didn’t appear to be any two-way communication capability.

Second high school - At the time I attended, it had an old Standard AR-2 impulse clock system (no second hands) with round clocks. I don’t remember as many details about the PA system, but I believe Rauland made the speakers which were separate from the clocks and did not have two-way communication. The bell tone was similar to the second one from my first high school, but faster (five “bings” in five seconds). But there were also Standard 6-inch bells behind grilles (alongside the original alarm horns which had been disconnected about a decade earlier) in the gym, cafeteria, and auditorium areas, as well as 8" (I think) bells outside the school with protective metal casing. These sounded simultaneously with the PA tone. Since I graduated, the PA and clock systems have been upgraded - there are digital clocks now, there’s PA speakers outside the school, the bell was a different intermittent tone the one time I heard it, and the actual bells no longer sound.

Bringing up an old topic I know, but I have some new info and I will be uploading some videos as well.

I have learned a lot more about the bell system at my high school. I had previously said the bells were controlled by a panel in the main office. This year, I was Minister of Communications for our student council, which basically I did announcements and advertising, so I had access to the PA system all year. I learned that the bells weren’t controlled by the Executone panel (that was actually a security alarm panel), but by the PA system itself.

The PA system is made by Telecor. We used to have an old Telecor system, installed in 1988. We just got a brand new one, the Telecor 2, during the march break, when the old one fried in December. I had learned how to use both these systems, and before you knew it, I was actually teaching the administration staff how to program bell schedules and bell tones. In fact, one of the guys who installed the system during the break told me I knew more about these systems than most of the people he works with. As I said, The system itself serves as a PA system for paging the school and classrooms, but also as a bell system. It has a tone generator in it, and you can program/customize any tones. The consoles that are used for paging and programming are basically telephones. If you’re into PA systems and stuff like that its very neat, I will post some videos later.

As for the actual school bells in my building, I believe that the school had an old IBM bell/clock control system at one point, with buzzers in the classrooms as well. All the classrooms in the building have a backbox with an IBM sticker and instructions on it, which are now just have a nail in them to hang the new Edwards clocks.