Malmark was incorporated in November 1973 by Jacob H. Malta, which he formed after leaving Schulmerich Carillons where he served as Vice President and Chief Engineer. Mr. Malta made his mark in the handbell industry when he took over the development of the Schulmerich handbell program in 1962 and designed the first production model for that firm. He resigned in November 1972 to form Malmark when the ownership of the company changed hands.
In April 1974 Mr. Malta was joined by Willard H. Markey, who previously was Vice President of Marketing and Sales of Handbells for Schulmerich Carillons, Inc. Mr. Markey developed the marketing and sales programs for Malmark and served as Vice President and secretary of the firm until his death in 2004.
Mr. Malta had developed a new design for a handbell which included many features he felt would benefit ringers and advance the art of ringing. A new profile of the tuned casting provided a cleaner sound when ringing the heavy chords composers and arrangers were scoring. A hand-adjustable clapper permitted an instant change of setting to vary the timbre of the bell sound to bring more variety in performance.
Keyboard color-coded handles and handguards (white for naturals and black for sharps/flats) helped ringers to identify bells more quickly. Smooth, comfortable handles were easy on the hands. A new clapper mechanism with dependable, softer restraining springs provided precise control to give better expression and dynamic range to the music. A unique, adjustable bearing for the clapper mechanism eliminated the unmusical sound caused by worn bearings and any need for factory repairs. The bell castings were polished to a jeweler's finish inside and out to enhance their beauty and to make it easier to maintain their brilliant surface.
Malmark, Inc., opened its doors at 100 Doyle Street, Doylestown, Penn., in May 1974. The first sets of 25 bells were shipped to clients in the fall of that year. The size of the sets were soon expanded to 37, 49, and 61 bell range.
Sales of the new handbells were handled by an organization of trained representatives and bell choir directors who were taking the story of the advanced features and benefits provided by the new Malmark handbell to churches, schools, and community groups.
As sales increased, so did the need for more space for the crafting of the bells. So in 1978, Malmark moved its operations to larger facilities at 21 Bell Lane, New Britain, Penn., just a few miles from its previous location. Growth of sales continued and when local zoning restrictions blocked Malmark's plans for further expansion of its plant, the company began looking for another location with long range growth potential. This resulted in the purchase of a plot of more than 12 acres on U.S. Route 611 in Plumsteadville, Penn., with buildings providing some 42,000 square feet of floor space. After extensive remodeling and an addition to the office area, Malmark moved to its present location in 1985. It has just completed a further addition to provide more needed space.
In 1982, Malmark introduced its Choirchime Instruments as a means of meeting the demand for low-priced, high-quality handchimes for use in elementary music education classes and performance. Now the Choirchimes® are also used with handbells to add variety to the music and to train youth to become bell-ringers and future members of handbell choirs.
In 1992, Malmark introduced a new concept in handbell design and performance through the use of aluminum for the castings of its bass bells. This not only reduced the weight to about half of the bronze, but it also provided a strong fundamental tone. This made it practical and musically desirable to expand the range of bass bells down to G1.
Today, Malmark continues to be a leader in the design, crafting, and tuning of fine English handbells. Its continued research into the past, present, and future of handbell ringing as a musical art provides a firm basis for continuing developments in this specialized field. With the widest musical range (7 1/2 octaves) of handbells, six chromatic octaves of its Choirchimes® (C2-C8) and a complete line of ringing accessories, Malmark is well qualified to meet the needs of every call for the finest in handbells and handchimes.