New bell for next generation

The sound of merrily ringing bells has become synonymous with Christmastime. For more than 100 years, The Salvation Army has used the bell to draw attention to its red kettles and encourage the public to donate in support of its services to the community year-round.

Now, for the first time since the tradition of bellringing began, a new kind of bell has been developed to engage more of the senses. The Brite Bell, created by Major Alan Wurtz, incorporates lights, sounds and other features to bring the bell into the 21st century.

“It’s for the next generation,” Major Alan said. “You don’t just hear it—you see it!”

Major Alan Wurtz, Brite Bell’s creator, gives a demonstration.

The Brite Bell has versatile features which allow the ringer to adjust the settings for sound, white light flashing, alternating colors flashing or a combination. It can be programmed to function as needed and appropriate for various settings—lights only, for example, in a contained space where ringing might echo and become too loud. It also has safety features including a wrist strap and has been drop-tested for durability.

Major Alan says the idea came to him as he chatted with a customer service representative while waiting for an issue to be resolved on his PayPal account.

“She told me her son rings bells at the mall every year for The Salvation Army, but that he is deaf,” he said. “That got me thinking we could do better, but I wasn’t sure what that would mean.”

The process of bringing the concept of the Brite Bell to life took six years. From developing a prototype to engaging a manufacturer and marketing the product, it was a long haul. However, Major Alan says each step went smoothly as God opened doors and provided what was needed to make the Brite Bell a reality.

“The debut of the Brite Bell at the Better Together conference in Dallas this spring was amazing,” said the major. “It was very well received and everyone seemed to love the idea.”

The Brite Bell isn’t only for ringing at red kettles. A more advanced model containing an RFID chip is also available which allows for remote programming from a computer or smart device.

“You’re only limited by your imagination,” Major Alan concluded. “It can be used as a centerpiece or favor at community events, sponsor logos can be printed on the sides, hundreds of the RFID bells can be programmed to create a kind of show. The uses are endless.”

 

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