The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell was ordered from England in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Legislature. It cracked shortly after arriving and was melted down and recast by two local artisans, John Pass and John Stow. Pass and Stow recast it a second time in 1753 to try to improve the bell's sound.
On June 11, 1753 the Liberty Bell was hoisted into the belfry of Independence Hall (known then as the State House), where it rang to mark special occasions until 1828. On July 8, 1776 the Liberty Bell rang to call Philadelphia's citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
During the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, the bell was hidden under the floorboards of a church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, so as not to be melted down and used for British ammunition. During the reconstruction of the steeple of Independence Hall in 1828, a new bell was ordered to replace the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell was moved to another part of the steeple.
In 1839, a poem entitled "The Liberty Bell" is the first documented usage of the term, "Liberty Bell." The Bell first achieved its iconic status during the 1840s when abolitionists adopted it as a symbol of their movement. In 1846, when being rung to commemorate George Washington's birthday, the bell obtained its infamous crack that rendered it unringable thenceforth.
In 1852, the bell was brought down from the steeple and placed in the "Declaration Chamber" of Independence Hall. Beginning in the 1880s and continuing through to 1915, the bell travelled to cities and exhibitions across the country. On January 1, 1976, the Liberty Bell was moved from inside Independence Hall to the Liberty Bell Pavilion on Market Street enabling visitors to see the bell at any time of day. On October 9, 2003, the Liberty Bell was moved from the Liberty Bell Pavilion to the new Liberty Bell Center.
The Liberty Bell weighs 18cwts. 4qtrs. 7lbs. (776 kilo's) and attracts 1.6 million visitors per year making it Philadelphia's most popular tourist attraction.
The Lutine Bell
The Lutine Bell hangs in the atrium, or lobby of Lloyds Insurance Office in the City of London. It was recovered from the HMS Lutine, a cargo ship that was insured by Lloyds in the 19th Century.
The ship sank off the Dutch coast supposedly with millions of pounds worth of treasure on board. The treasure has never been recovered, but the ship's bell was found in 1860.
Since the recovery, the bell has been sounded when bad news was received, and today is still rung for both good and bad news.
Tsar Kolokol - the biggest bell in the world
The Tsar Kolokol weighs over 200 tonnes. In 1599 Andrej Chokhov, the father of the Moscow school of founding, cast the Kremlin Godunov Bell, estimated at some 38 tons. The bell has been twice recast, the first time in 1654 by Emelian Danilov, who increased its weight to 144.5 tonnes.
The second recasting took place in 1735 under Mikhail Motorin, and brought the weight of this bell to an estimated 218 tonnes. This is the famous Tzar Kolokol which stands in the Kremlin, the high-water mark of Russian founding.
Sadly, it has never been rung. It was stored for several years while engineers pondered how to hang such a monstrous weight. Whilst in storage, the building caught fire and in dousing the flames, the water sprayed on the hot bell and cracked it. The piece that fell out of its rim weighs an estimated 11 tonnes and serves as a doorstep to enable visitors to look inside bell.
'Vox Patris' Voice of the Father - the largest swinging bell in the world
'Vox Patris' or Voice of the Father - Voice of God - was cast in Poland by Jan Felczyński Church Bell Manufactory from Przemyśl, Rduch Bells & Clocks from Czernica and Metalodlew from Kracow. It was commissioned for the Sanctuary in Trinidade, Brazil.
Cast in 2018, the 55 tonne monster stands a little over 4m high and 4.5m in diameter. It sounds F (92Hz). The 2-tonne clapper is 6 metres long. The bell's headstock weighs 10 tonnes. (Note the size of the people beside the bell - bottom left corner.)
The ornamentation of the bell illustrates the history and present day of the Sanctuary in Trinidade and shows characteristic motifs of Brazilian flora and fauna. The adornments were made using the lost wax method.
The bell is installed at the Basilica of the Eternal Father in Trinidade, Brazil. It uses four linear motors to swing it and its sound can be heard for miles around. The deep 'hum' note (40Hz) is so powerful that it vibrates the chests of passers-by.
Siege of Malta Memorial Bell
During the Second World War, Malta, a critical base for the British and Allied Forces was besieged by the German navy from 1940 to 1943. The siege was broken when four warships and supply vessels out of a convoy of fourteen successfully broke through to reach the island.
The monument was designed by Michael Sandle on the initiative of the George Cross Island Association to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of George Cross to Malta. The elliptical neo--classical temple supported by 10, square-faced columns contains a huge bourdon bell which is tolled automatically every day at mid-day. The columns rise from a high base designed in the form of the George Cross. Nearby a bronze catafalque overhanging the parapet symbolises the burial at sea of the corpse of the unknown soldier and remembers the 7000 who died during the Siege of Malta.
The bell, weighing a little over 10 tonnes, was cast on February 10, 1992 by the world’s largest bellfounders John Taylor & Co Founders of Loughborough England. A Latin inscription adorns the shoulder of the bell quoting a verse in Latin from Psalm 140 Obumbrasti Super Caput Meum In Die Belli MCMXL – MCMXLIII which translates as “You cast thy shadow upon my head during the time of war 1940-1943”.