Close photograph of the Liberty Bell shows the date, part of a Bible quote from Leviticus, the words “Pass and Stow,” and of course, the famous crack
The Liberty Bell is an enduring symbol of American Independence, having rung in the steeple at Independence Hall in the decades after US independence from Britain. Although legend claims the bell rang on July 4, 1776, that’s not possible because the vote for independence wasn’t immediately made public. ¹
“Pass and Stow” refers to John Pass and John Stow, two Philadelphia men who twice made recasts of the original Liberty Bell, which was commissioned from London bell foundry Lester and Pack in 1752, and cracked not long after arriving in Philadelphia. ²
This incarnation of the bell was probably cracked in the 1830s. Interestingly, Lester and Pack, later renamed Whitechapel Bell Foundry, still manufactures bells in the same building in London at White Chapel Road and Fieldgate Street, where the original Liberty Bell and London’s famous Big Ben bell was cast. They have been in continuous operation since 1570! ³
UPDATE: As of 2017, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry had in fact sold its historic building and moved to another location more suitable for industrial activity.
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