Cast at London’s Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the bell arrived in Philadelphia in August 1752. Because the metal was too brittle, it cracked during a test strike and had to be recast twice. The final version—made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver—weighed around 2,080 pounds and measured 12 feet in circumference around the lip and 3 feet from lip to crown.
On July 8, 1776, the bell was rung to celebrate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Interestingly, it wasn’t called the “Liberty Bell” until the 1830s, when an abolitionist group adopted it as a symbol of their own cause.
Words of Wisdom
Let the Bell be cast by the best Workmen & examined carefully before it is Shipped with the following words well shaped in large letters round in vizt. By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State house in the City of Philada 1752 and Underneath Proclaim Liberty and ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.