The Stedman Spinner
A handy tower aid for conductors
What is to be done when a practice-night band includes both a newcomer to Stedman Triples with a specific request — either to be unaffected or affected — and a conductor who is not yet able to select a touch on the fly?
There are several popular two-course practice-night touches — traditionally described as “calls at Q or S or H or L, repeated” — which are generally the first ones learned by novice Stedman bob-callers, and which may be called with any bell as observation, affecting four ringers while leaving the other three unaffected. Whether our learner wants to be affected or not, at least one of the touches will suit this purpose; the experienced conductor could simply call “go” and decide which version to use by watching the bells. But the inexperienced conductor, although happy with any of these four touches, will probably want to know in advance which one to call.
The solution is the Stedman Spinner, posted on the tower bulletin board! Simply rotate the wheel to indicate the conductor’s observation bell and it’s easy to see which other bells are left unaffected by the various touches.
When a tower boasts several learners, of whom some wish to be affected and others un-, even the experienced conductor may find the Spinner useful when assigning ropes.
(The four very common touches mentioned above all involve twin bobs. Since a tower captain will sometimes specifically request a touch giving learners the chance to practice odd bobs, the Spinner also includes information about the simplest of these, in which a bob is called whenever the observation bell is about to begin or end its slow work. Just like the twin-bob touches, this one is two courses long and leaves the observation bell and two others unaffected.)
Instructions for making your own Stedman Spinner:
Print the ‘background’ image on heavy paper or card-stock. Print the ‘wheel’ image on transparency film and cut with scissors on the dashed line; using a pin or brad, attach to the background at the indicated center-point. Spin away!
Special thanks to my mother, Margaret Kepner, for laying out the Spinner in Illustrator.