The Liberty Bell! Would You Really Lick It?

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

250432I was re-watching the first season of How I Met Your Mother recently, back when they were still hilarious and I wasn’t just watching to finally find out who’s going to marry Ted. Small rant aside, the episode where Ted and Barney go to Philadelphia made me curious about something. What’s the story of the Liberty Bell? I know what it looks like and where it is but I haven’t given it much thought before now. So I guess this post is brought to you in part by How I Met Your Mother.

liberty_bell_1The first thing I learned was that it wasn’t always called The Liberty Bell. When it was first cast in London in 1751 it was simply called the State House Bell. It was recast twice after coming overseas. The names “Pass and Stow” and words “Philada / MDCCLIII” were added during these recastings by local craftsmen John Pass and John Stow. The new name didn’t come with the recasting though. The first instance of referring to it as the “Liberty Bell” was by a group of abolitionists in the 1830’s. The group took the name from the inscription on the bell “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

page02_message01The message was chosen from the bible, Leviticus 25:10, and held particular significance to both the Pennsylvania Assembly, who ordered the bell, and the abolition groups that adopted the bell as their symbol. The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered it in honor of the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges. The time span of 50 years was relevant because of the preceding line “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year.” The cool thing was that the while the message before the inscription line was relevant to one group, the message following was relevant to the other. “It shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family,” easily interpreted to work for the abolitionists.

All of that information was agreed upon by the National Park Service website,, and, but no matter how many sites I looked at I couldn’t seem to find a straight answer of how exactly the bell was cracked. There is a general consensus that the original bell from London was cracked but this isn’t the iconic crack that we know today because as I mentioned the bell was melted down and recast. Also, none of the sites seem to know a specific date when the current bell was cracked. Maybe the exact cause is in a more detailed account in a book somewhere, or maybe there are some things you just need a time machine to figure out.

photo-2Keep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shade

P.S. I saw a lot of pictures of people licking replicas of the Liberty Bell. I wonder if it was a trend before How I Met Your Mother? Either way I hope they had gum to get rid of the taste after.

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