The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds and is twelve feet across at the base. It is comprised of seventy percent copper and twenty-five percent tin. The other five percent is a mixture of small amounts of zinc, lead, arsenic, gold and silver. It hangs from the original yoke made from American elm.
The Liberty Bell Yesterday
The bell was cast in London, England in 1752. It was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly to commemorate the fifty year anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges in 1701.
The bell cracked shortly upon arrival. Some say it cracked the first time that the bell was rang. John Pass and John Stowe recast the new bell in 1753, adding their names and the date to the inscription. They used the metal from the old cracked bell to recast the new one.
In 1777, the British captured Philadelphia during the American Revolution. To ensure that nothing would happen to the bell, it was moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania. It stayed at Zion’s Reformed Church until 1778, when it was moved back to Philadelphia.
The bell was rang on the Fourth of July and state occasions until 1846. It was then that a thin crack was noticed to be affecting the sound of the ringing. It was repaired long enough to be rung for George Washington’s birthday on February 23, 1846.
It was first dubbed the “Liberty Bell” in 1835. The American Anti-Slavery Society adopted the bell as their symbol because of the inscription “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” They believed that liberty not only applied to just the white man.
From the late 1800s until 1915, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country. The purpose of its travels was to reunite the country after the Civil War. It was displayed at fairs and expositions throughout the country to remind people to work together again – not against each other. In 1915, it traveled one last time before coming home to Philadelphia to stay.
The Liberty Bell Today
Today, the Liberty Bell stands in Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is located on Market Street between 5th Street and 6th Street. Although the hours vary by what season it is, it is open to the public all year long.
Exhibits and video presentations are available to give visitors insight on it’s impressive history. Since it is an internationally recognized symbol, the video presentations are available in a number of different languages.
The Liberty Bell is displayed in a glass chamber, and a picture of Independence Hall is visible in the background. Although it is not used regularly anymore, it is still gently rung every Fourth of July, for tradition’s sake.