Taken from: Masonic Americana, 1975...

Let Freedom Ring...

The Liberty Bell

by Paul C. Rodenhauser

The Liberty Bell, originally a "Province Bell" to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1752, was recast twice by Pass & Stow, Pennsylvania founders, and was mounted in the wooden steeple upon the State House in the month of June 1753.

The Liberty Bell has become an object of reverence because of its association with the War for Independence. It has had an interesting history.

Thomas Lister, Whitechapel, London, cast the "Province Bell" and shipped it to Philadelphia, where it arrived in August of 1752. In September, during test ing, the bell was cracked by a stroke of the clapper. Pass and Stow recast the bell, adding one and-one-half ounces of copper to each pound of the original metal. This reduced the brittleness of the metal but ruined the tone.

Pass and Stow recast the bell once more, this time successfully, and in June of 1753 it was formally placed in the State House tower. The bell bears the inscription from Leviticus XXV: 10: "Proclaim liber ty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

The bell was rung when Continental Congress was in session; it proclaimed the Boston Tea Party, and it rang for the first public reading of the "Declaration of Independence." In 1777, when the British were about to occupy Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell was removed to Allentown, Pennsyl vania, and was hidden for almost a year in Zion Reformed Church before its return to Philadelphia when the British departed.

It was in July of 1835 that the bell was cracked while tolling for the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall, Virginia, who served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1801 until his death.

Because of its traditional role in the history of our nation and its symbolic relationship, the bell was not recast. Today the 2,080 pound bell remains in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, as an object of patriotic veneration for millions of Americans.

Update: July 15, 2014

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