Neil Goeppinger grew up on an Iowa farm where his parents taught him not just a work ethic, but the enjoyment that comes from a job well done.
While managing farms in two states, Neil picked up an appreciation for the sound of church bells in 1978 and started to collect them. He also became interested in church bell foundries and started to research those as well. In the early years, his research was done by phone and correspondence with state historical societies, often hiring a researcher to go through the records and mail photocopies. Around 1983, Neil found and joined the American Bell Association, Int'l Inc. (ABAII), which gave him access to the knowledge its members had of large bells and foundries. Soon Neil was answering all the Association's inquiries on large bells, including requests from the Smithsonian and the National Park Service.
The advent of the internet helped research efforts, but much of the information on early foundries was still in old foundry catalogs which were not on the internet. During 38 years of collecting and researching, Neil amassed a large amount of information which he wanted to pass along to future bell collectors and researchers. The result is this book.
Neil personally collected over 60 large bells. In 2001-2002, he served as President of the ABAII, wrote many articles for the Association's magazine, The Bell Tower, and traveled to Japan several times to visit fellow bell collectors. This book solves a common frustration among collectors, providing one single source to check for the origin of an American-made large bell.
Neil lives with Ginny, his college sweetheart and wife of 49 years, enjoying summers in Iowa and inters in Florida. His daughter, her husband and four grandchildren are an hour away, and his son and wife live in California. At 71, Neil still manages a few farms, and still answers a few large bell inquiries.