Liberty Bell, the historic bell rung in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, on July 8, 1776. The occasion was to celebrate the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, which had been adopted on July 4. The Liberty Bell was rung on every important festival and anniversary thereafter until it was cracked in 1835. According to tradition, the cracking occurred on July 8, 1835, while the bell was being tolled during the funeral for Chief Justice John Marshall. However, there is evidence that it may have cracked on Washington's Birthday that year.

The Liberty Bell is on display in Liberty Bell Center, near Independence Hall. It is owned by the city of Philadelphia and is maintained by the National Park Service.

The Liberty BellThe Liberty Bell first cracked in 1835.

The original bell was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly for the new State House then nearing completion in 1751. It was cast in London by Thomas Lester's Whitechapel Foundry and arrived in Philadelphia in late August, 1752. Near the crown was a Biblical quotation that proved to be prophetic: Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.Lev. xxv, 10. It also bore the inscription By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania for the State House in Philadelphia. (Punctuation and spelling have been modernized.)

The bell was cracked by a stroke of the clapper in testing the tone and was recast by Pass and Stow of Philadelphia. This bell proved defective also and it was again recast. The bell was hung in the tower of the State House on June 7, 1753.

In 1777, to prevent its capture by the British, the bell was taken to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and hidden beneath the floor of a church. It remained there until June 27, 1778, when it was returned to Philadelphia. It generally was known as the Old State House Bell until 1839, when abolitionists called it the Liberty Bell. It was last rung on Washington's Birthday, 1846, when it cracked even further than it had in 1835. It was afterward lightly sounded (by being tapped with a rubber mallet) on several occasions, including the day the United States entered World War I and D-Day, during World War II.

The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds (943 kg). It is 12 feet (3.7 m) in circumference at the lip and 7 feet, 6 inches (2.3 m) around the crown. The distance from lip to crown is 3 feet (90 cm) and the overall height is 5 feet, 3 inches (1.6 m). The bell is 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick at the lip and 1 1/4 inches (3.2 cm) thick at the crown.