The Rødberg Fog Bell
«And hoy! The fog came suddenly. That he should go fishing on a day like this, but he needs to make a living, and the nets have to be drawn. The fisherman clings to the wheel. The wind and waves call for precise manoeuvring. He could hardly see his own boat. Whereabouts was he, anyway? Suddenly, the timely beating of heavy bells. Oh, such a welcome sound. The fisherman wiped his hand across his forehead, adjusted his cap, and steered to the sound of the bells. Perhaps I’ll be home safe in time for supper after all!»
In storms, blizzards and dense fog, bells and lighthouses were lifesavers. People along the coast worked and travelled on the ocean, and 100 years ago boats were a source of livelihood and growth in Stadsbygda. Even though the waters outside Stadsbygda are relatively safe, the protruding peninsula forced ships to change course before heading further into the fjord. When the lighthouse at Rødberget remained hidden by fog or snow, the steady beating of the fog bell led the boats to safe passage.
A fog bell would be quite useless further out, where the ocean could easily drown the noise. But here in the fjords, the chiming from the Rødberg peninsula was a common sound whenever the fog grew dense, or the storms raged during wintertime.
The Rødberg fog bell is owned by the Coastal Heritage Museum at Rissa. It represents a distinctive yet natural element within the museum’s field of activity. The museum is the only one in Norway with its own active boatyard, and which mostly conveys heritage related to boats and sailing.
«The bell chimed every ten seconds, and there was the familiar breakwater, and then the fog bell. The fisherman docked at the harbour, and in his mind he sent thanks to overseer Ole Røberg, who had been raising the clockwork weights every three hours all day. That he managed to sleep at night on that little cot in the tower with the bells chiming, was a mystery to him, and a most welcome ability.»