standard Liberty Bell , iconic symbol of American Independence

The Liberty Bell , located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , is an iconic symbol of American Independence and freedom in the US  .

Independence Hall

Independence Hall - Philadephia

Formerly located in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall), the bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack (today the Whitechapel Bell Foundry) in 1752, and was cast with the lettering “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” It originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations.

Bells were rung to mark the reading of the Declaration on July 8, 1776, and while there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung. After American independence was secured, it fell into relative obscurity for some years. In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the “Liberty Bell”. It acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the early 19th century a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835.

Liberty Bell Crack

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

The bell first cracked during a test ringing. After cracking, the bell was recast twice in 1753 in Philadelphia by John Pass and John Stow (the old bell was broken up and melted down, more copper was added to the metal alloy to make it less brittle, and the bell was re-cast).

The restored bell was probably rung at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia (on July 8, 1776). It rang to announce many important events in early American history, including Presidential elections and deaths.

The bell cracked again on July 8, 1835, while being rung at the funeral of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The crack’s dimensions are 24.5 inches long by 1/2 inch wide.

Inscriptions on Liberty Bell

Across the top of the bell is the inscription, “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This is a quote from the Old Testament of the Bible.

ONE Dollar Coin Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell on One Dollar Coin

Under this reads, “By order of the assembly of the province of Pennsylvania  for the State House in Philad “

Lower on the bell are the inscriptions, “Pass and stow” the last names of the founders who cast the bell (John Pass and John Stow). The lowest inscription is the Roman numerals MDCCLIII (1753), the year the bell was re-cast.

Short facts :

  • Location – Liberty Bell Center
  • elevation – 30 ft (9 m)
  • Circumference -12 ft (3.7 m)
  • Weight – 2,080 lb (900 kg)
  • Caster – Whitechapel Bell Foundry
  • Materials – Copper, Tin
  • Cast – 1752 (Recast 1753 by Pass and Stow)
  • Owner – City of Philadelphia

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