The Liberty Bell (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

The Liberty Bell close up

The Liberty Bell has become a symbol of American independence partly because it originally hung in the bell tower of the building we have come to call Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell started its life however known simply as the States House Bell.

Isaac Norris, speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the original bell for the tower in 1751. The bell Norris ordered from the famous Whitechapel Foundry in London cracked on its first ring test and Philadelphia metalworkers John Pass and John Stow melted it down and cast the bell that became the Liberty Bell we know and love today.

The famous cracked profile of the Liberty Bell.
The famous crack in the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell Facts

  • The two lines of text around the top of the bell include the inscription of liberty, and information about who ordered the bell.
  • The Pennsylvania Assembly had the Liberty Bell made in 1751 to mark the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges, which served as Pennsylvania’s original Constitution.
  • The bible verse “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” is written on the bell.
  • The bell’s wooden yoke is American elm, but it is not known if it is the original yoke for the bell.
  • It was not till the 1830’s that the bell started to become a symbol of liberty in any way.  Before that it was pretty much just a cracked bell that almost no people could remember ever ringing.
  • Today the bell resides in the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.