An Inside Look at Malmark Travel Cases

In 2012 Travel Cases were added to Malmark’s line of innovative and quality products. We’re very proud of these cases as we’ve put a lot of thought and planning into making them the best cases for transporting your valuable instruments. To see Travel Cases in our store, click here.

Designing and manufacturing the best carry cases for handbells doesn’t just happen; it’s the result of many hours of research and planning. At Malmark, our years of experience and innovative spirit that began with our founder, Jacob Malta, is evident in the Malmark Travel Case. As an example, Joann Malta, one of Malmark’s owners, recalls that by observing the way customers use and handle their handbells in cases and how they need to transport them was considered. This process included considering potential hazards involved, as well as which features would be most valuable in setting goals for the new Travel Case. These goals include:

  • To provide the best handbell container designed for ease and protection in travel by any means.
  • To make the cases stackable without the possibility of sliding.
  • To make the cases adaptable to other brands of handbells.
  • To consider the weight, balance and ease of use of each case.

We are pleased that Malmark’s Travel Cases meet all the above goals in addition to offering other great features. Our research and observations confirm that Travel Cases are the superior case on the market because of the durability, weight and balance, design and functionality of every case, plus the personal service Malmark is known to provide. Here are more details as to how we achieved our goals:


You may have read and wondered what the significance of “ATA-approved” is for handbell cases. Joann explains that “ATA-approved” cases, such as Malmark Travel Cases, meet the guidelines set by the Air Transportation Association. Meeting these guidelines assures customers that Malmark Travel Cases can “withstand the rigors of shipping by any means and not compromise the integrity of the contents.” Consequently, Guidelines set by the ATA figure heavily into the design and testing of our Travel Cases. And, not only do our products comply with the guidelines but  they are also weight-balanced for the comfort of the handlers. (Most times the “handler” is you!)


Malmark’s cases are designed to stack without sliding, have locking latches that won’t accidentally open and can be secured with your own lock, weight-balanced for easier handling and formatted to integrate upper bells into the bass cases resulting in fewer cases. You’ll love knowing exactly which bells are in which case without opening them because each case comes with a permanent external note plate! This is in addition to note labels inside for each bell pocket. (A pernament note plate is a better alternative than a hanging luggage tag that can get caught between cases or come off, paint pens, or other DIY methods.)

Case Interiors

Interiors of Travel Cases use the same proven-for-over-forty-years fabric, which covers foam inserts that absorb shocks and protect bell castings from damage. Moreover, we’ like to bring clarity into the discussion of materials used to line bell interiors. Another company has indicated their “closed-cell” foam is a safer alternative than “open-cell” foam covered in fabric, inferring that closed-cell bare foam will not trap moisture. However, we feel this is misleading. What is the significance of the open or closed-cell foam? Yes, open-cell foam does contain small pockets of air but simply stated by Joann, “If we were speaking of a closed area of insulation, perhaps we could state the closed-cell foam may provide more moisture resistance. However, these are carrying cases with open pockets the size of each handbell and the cases are opened and closed regularly allowing air exchange.” For this reason, “there is NO assurance moisture cannot be trapped in the closed-cell inserts which only provide the least-cost effective means to hold the bells in place.”

More concerning than a small amount of moisture in a case is the real potential for damage to handbell castings stored directly on foam inserts. Elaborating on this concern, Joann says “the foam is a plastic, and plastic melts and out-gasses in heated environments. The melted foam on the bronze castings often etch into the metal making removal impossible without de-tuning the casting.” This situation is a costly and frustrating experience for the customer who believed their handbells were protected only to be faced with unexpected repairs or replacement of handbell castings. Malmark has witnessed this damage when receiving handbells for refurbishment at our factory. Although it doesn’t happen to every set transported in the hot summer months it is a potential hazard that should be avoided.

More Details

Do Travel Cases fit other brands of handbells? You bet! We can fit ANY BRAND of handbells into Malmark Travel Cases.

Pockets? Yes, Travel Cases offer the same interior pockets as our standard cases so you won’t be missing a place to store mallets, gloves or polish cloths, or anything else you need.

Never worry about a lost or broken luggage tag  for your cases again! Malmark offers engraved brass or laminate plates as an add-on to Travel Cases so you can permanently identify your property. The black laminate plates look fabulous on Travel Cases!

 About Joann:

Joann Malta began working for her father Jake Malta’s business in 1976 after graduating from the University of Delaware as a Fine Arts major. She has worked in all of Malmark’s facilities from the original 3000 square foot location in Doylestown, PA to neighboring New Britain’s facility to our present 45,000 square foot plant in Plumsteadville, PA. Having the opportunity to work closely with her father she handled the quality control and customer service, continuously learning and implementing those lessons and becoming an integral part of the Malmark business.

By 1993, the business was booming and on a constant upward projectile. Joann left Malmark to complete the nursing education she originally had in mind when graduating from high school. She became a registered nurse in 1996 and as fate would have it, became the primary caregiver for her mother just diagnosed with cancer. Taking care of her mother returned her as close to Malmark as she could be without physically working in the plant, since conversation with her dad centered on the business when not on health. With her mom’s death in 2004 she considered returning to Malmark, but Jake’s health began to turn. 

Returning to Malmark in 2011 following Jake’s death, Joann is presently the Quality Controller as well as a principal of the company.  She considers herself extremely lucky to have her father’s legacy around her daily and celebrates over 42 years of the Malmark family business.

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