When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
October 28, 1751 Liberty Bell Commissioned
The Liberty Bell started out simply as the bell commissioned by the colonial legislature of Pennsylvania to hang in the steeple of the State House in 1752 so that the growing city would have a bell with great carrying power to announce meetings of the legislature and toll for notable events. The bell, known as the Liberty Bell, was to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of William Penn ‘s 1701 Charter of Privileges, the state’s original constitution.
It was cast in London by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, purchased for about £100, and delivered in August 1752. It was cracked by a stroke of the clapper while being tested and was twice recast by John Pass and John Stow in Philadelphia before being hung in the State House steeple in June 1753. Around its brim, it carried words from the Old Testament: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus, XXV, 10).
Since the Old Statehouse tower was one of the tallest structures in Philadelphia, many people climbed the steeple for the view. On the way to the top, they would pass the bell (hung in the brick tower 5 floor level NOT in the top). Reading the inscription on the bell prompted may many abolitionists to adopt the bell as a symbol of their cause and State House Bell becomes the symbolic “Liberty Bell” in publications of New York and Boston abolitionists.