Sunday, December 05, 2021

Liberty Bell, a short history

Douglas V. Gibbs

On July 8, 1776 the Liberty Bell allegedly rang out from the tower of Independence Hall (known prior as the Pennsylvania State House) in Philadelphia to summon the residents to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.  The bell had been ordered back in 1751 to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges.  The Liberty Bell later also gained iconic importance when abolitionists in their efforts to end slavery adopted it as their symbol.  In fact, it was the abolitionists who gave the "Liberty Bell" its name.

The quotation on the bell is from Leviticus 25:10, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

The bell began to crack as the years passed, expanding to the point that the bell was unringable on Washington's Birthday in 1846.

Ironically, the original bell was manufactured in London by the Whitechapel Foundry.  That bell cracked on the first test ring, so local metalworkers John Pass and John Stow (hence, the reason "Pass & Stow" is on the bell) melted down that bell and cast a new one in Philadelphia.  

At the weight of 2,080 pounds when ordered, the bronze bell is 70% copper, 25% tin and various other small amounts of lead, gold, arsenic, silver, and zinc.  The bell's wooden yoke was made from American elm, but no evidence confirms that the current yoke is the original yoke for the bell.

In her long history, the Liberty Bell also rang to mark the Stamp Act tax and its repeal.

I had the opportunity to view the bell in Philadelphia in 2002 during a trip I made to the region.  One of her replicas sits proudly at Independence Hall West, a brick by brick duplicate of the historic Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  The West Coast version of the iconic building, and bell, resides at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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