On This Day

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell on its ornate stand, 1872
The Liberty Bell on its ornate stand, 1872

Historical Context

Originally the bell for the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall. It was ordered by the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly Isaac Norris in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London.

The bell cracked on its first test ring so it was then melted down and recast by local metalworkers John Pass and John Stow in Philadelphia and inscribed with the message "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof".

The bell's famous crack formed in the 1830s. Efforts were made to repair the bell in 1846 by widening the crack but these failed. As a result the bell hasn't rung in living memory.

In the 18th century the bell became a national symbol of liberty and more commonly known as the Liberty Bell. Abolitionists striving to end slavery were inspired by its inscription, and it was a unifying symbol after the US Civil War when it toured the country. The American Women's Suffrage movement also adopted the bell in their push for voting rights.

Photo Info

Location taken: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Source: Independence National Historic Park Library and Archives, Philadelphia PA

Related Events

  • 1752-09-01 Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia
  • 1776-07-04 According to popular legend the Liberty Bell rings for the Second Continental Congress
  • 1778-06-27 Liberty Bell returns home to Philadelphia after the British departure
  • 1835-07-08 Liberty Bell cracks (again)
  • 1912-01-03 Southern Pacific RR offers to bring Liberty Bell to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco free
  • 1976-01-01 Liberty Bell moves to new home across the street from Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Historical Photos