chime that changed the world"
On July 8, 1776,
on a day that marked America's history of Independence, the "State
House Bell", later renamed "Liberty Bell" in 1893,
after its inscription, made its most resonant pealing from the
top of the tower of the State House, present Independence Hall,
inviting American citizens to hear the first public reading of
the Declaration of Independence produced by the Second Continental
Congress in Philadelphia.
Bell was cast in London, ordered from Whitechapel Foundry, by
the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751, in commemoration of the 50-year
anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's
original Constitution, which speaks of the rights and freedoms
valued by people. It arrived in Philadelphia on September 1,
1752 and hung in the tower of the Independence Hall, on March
fist inscription of the Bell, as specified in the Whitechaple
order of the Assembly of the province of Pensylvania for the
State house in the City of Philadª 1752
the Bell was recast by Pass and Stow, it changed to:
order of the ASSEMBLY of the Province of PENSYLVANIA for the
State House in Philadª
quotation "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto
all the inhabitants thereof," from the passage from Leviticus
25:10, was chosen by Quaker Isaac Norris, speaker of the Assembly,
to be inscribed on the Bell.
bell weighed originally 943.5 kg (2080 lbs.), today it has been
reduced to 2055 lbs. and it measures 3.7 m (12 ft) in circumference
around the lip. Its height from the lip to the crown is 3 ft.
The Bell tone is E-flat.
curiosity about the Bell's inscriptions, is the way Pennsylvania
was misspelled: "By Order of the Assembly of the Province
of Pensylvania for the State House in Philadª." No,
no one made a mistake, it was in fact, the exact way that Pennsylvania
was spelled at that time, even in the original Constitution,
the name of the state is also spelled Pensylvania.
the first Bell, cast by Whitechapel, "province" was
misspelled in the contract. "By order of the Assembly of
the province of Pensylvania for the State house in the City of
Bell was first mentioned as Liberty Bell in a pamphlet from the
Friends of Freedom, a Boston abolitionist organization, in 1839.
However, it only became universally known as Liberty Bell in
1893. The Bell was also known as State House Bell, which was
the first name the Bell received, Old Independence Bell, Old
Bell, Bell of Independence and Old Liberty Bell.
Liberty Bell had been used for many years, in order to call the
Assembly together and as a way of summoning citizenry for special
events, such as the day King George III ascended to the British
throne in 1761, the discussion of the Sugar Act in 1764 and the
Stamp Act in 1765.
1772 the Assembly received a petition stating that the people
living near the Independence Hall were "incommoded and distressed"
by the "ringing of the great Bell in the steeple."
it continued tolling for many other events along the years that
followed, such as the First Continental Congress in 1774, the
Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and the reading of the
Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon on July 8,
1776, which became the most important date in the history of
crack on the bell is said to have been caused either to flaws
in its casting or for being too brittle. The Philadelphia foundry
workers named John Pass and John Stow were given the cracked
bell, which was melted down in an effort to make it less brittle,
recast and raised in the belfry on March 29, 1753, but the new
Bell was also defective and nobody was pleased with its sound.
The Bell was broken and recast in June, 1753, once again by Pass
and Stow and on June 7, 1753, it was hung in the tower of the
November of the same year, the Bell was recast once again, this
time by Whitechapel Foundry, but when it arrived from England,
it was agreed that it did not sound better than the Pass and
Stow bell. For this reason, it was decided that the Liberty Bell
should be kept in the steeple and the new Whitechapel bell was
then placed in the cupola on the Independence Hall roof and attached
to the clock to sound the hours.
1777, when the British troops occupied Philadelphia during the
American Revolution, the Liberty Bell, was removed from the tower
and taken to floorboards of the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown,
Pennsylvania, in order to keep it safe from being melted and
used for cannon. The Liberty Bell was finally returned to Philadelphia
and replaced in the Independence Hall in 1778. Thereafter, the
bell was rung on every July 4 and on every state occasion, such
as the commemoration of George Washington's birthday, until it
could no longer be rung due to its crack.
is said that it was during the commemorations of George Washington's
Birthday in 1846, that the final expansion of the crack occurred.
As it made the Bell unringable, it was established that from
that date on, the Bell would not toll again as it used to do.
Now, on every Fourth of July, the Bell is symbolically tapped,
in unison with thousands of other bells across the entire nation,
in commemoration of the Independence of the United States.
the 1880s, the Bell started its various travels throughout the
country as a way of "proclaiming liberty".
Bell was moved to its present location in a glass pavilion near
Independence Hall in 1976.
you are in Philadelphia, visit the Liberty Bell at:
Market Street between 5th & 6th, Philadelphia, PA
Liberty Bell Memorial Museum
below if you have clicked on the Fourth of July tour on the main
the Fourth of July Tour |
are listening to "The Liberty Bell March", written
by John Philip Sousa in 1893 for the Liberty Bell's visit to
the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.
got the animated bell on the top of this page while making a
research for a paper I had to do at college some years ago. I
do not remember the url anymore. If anyone knows it, please let
me know so I can give credit. Thank you !