Happy Independence Day (U.S.) from your friends at CertMag
Posted on
July 4, 2023
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Today is Independence Day (also know as July 4th, or the 4th of July) here in the United States, where the Certification Magazine home office is located. The CertMag staff will be enjoying a day off from work.

Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. This event energized and crystallized American resistance to British rule — which had already erupted into war on April 18, 1775 — and stands as a famous turning point in the history of the United States.

We'll return to our regular schedule of operations on Wednesday. Until then, why not enjoy this Independence Day-themed quiz about Philadelphia's State House Bell, better known by the nickname bestowed on it by abolitionists in the decades before the American Civil War: Liberty Bell.

A famous symbol of American independence, the bell is now the centerpiece attraction of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia.

The Liberty Bell is a long-established symbol of American democracy.

1) Following its delivery from the London bellfounding firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, how many times was the State House Bell successfully rung before it cracked?

2) What are the names of the founders who cast the State House Bell?

3) How did the first public appearance of the Pass and Stow bell go?

4) Did the city of Philadelphia get its money back from Lester and Pack?

5) Where did Philadelphians hide the Pass and Stow bell during the British occupation of Philadelphia during the American Revolutionary War?

6) Did the Liberty Bell hang in the State House bell tower?

7) When did the Liberty Bell crack for the second time?

8) What Old Testament passage is referenced by the inscription "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof" on the upper portion of the bell?

9) What wood was used to fashion the yoke that holds the Liberty Bell?

10) The Liberty Bell is made of mostly copper. What is the second-most common metal in the bell?

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ANSWERS

1) Zero. Because the State House tower was still under construction at the time, the newly arrived bell was mounted on a stand to test its sound. The first time that the clapper struck the bell, its rim cracked.

2) John Pass and John Stow. The two Johns did not create the original bell, but volunteered to recast it after its failed test run. They broke it into pieces, melted them down, and recast the bell from scratch. The Liberty Bell bears their surnames to this day, but there's a bit more to say about that ...

3) Not well. The recast bell remained intact, but its sound was roundly mocked by observers. Pass and Stow reclaimed the bell, melted it down a second time, and recast it again. The twice-recast bell passed muster and, following its shaky start, began a long march into the annals of history.

4) No. Lester and Pack (better known to later generations as Whitechapel Bell Foundry) surmised that the bell had either been damaged in transit or rung (just the one time) improperly. Ultimately, the city of Philadelphia ordered a replacement bell from Lester and Pack and kept both bells.

5) Zion German Reformed Church in Northampton Town (present-day Allentown). The bell was hidden beneath the floorboards for nine months before being returned to Philadelphia.

6) No. Following the wartime occupation of Philadelphia, the Pass and Stow bell was placed on a stand in the State House while repairs to the bell tower were underway. Ultimately, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry replacement bell was installed in the tower.

7) The current crack has never been connected to a single incident or date. Historians believe that a narrow crack developed in the 1840s as a result of normal wear and tear. The crack was enlarged in 1846 to prevent it from growing worse, using a technique called "stop drilling.‍

8) Leviticus 25:10. The passage refers to the ancient Jewish tradition of Jubilee.

9) American elm (Ulmus americana), also knows as white elm or water elm. The age and origination of the yoke is not known.‍

10) Tin. The approximate composition of the bell is 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin, and 5 percent other metals including lead, gold, silver, and zinc.

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About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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