A true piece of American History - A VERY Large Bronze Bell - cast in Philadelphia by Joseph Bernhard.
It weighs about 500 pounds and is 25" wide at the mouth and 25+" tall - Solid bronze.
This would be a great piece for a fine restaurant or hotel lobby in or around Philadelphia.
Joseph Bernhard is a very important player in the story of the Liberty Bell. Here's what I can tell you.
No one recorded when or why the Liberty Bell first cracked, but the most likely explanation is that a narrow split developed
in the early 1840's - In 1846, when the city decided to repair the bell prior to George Washington's birthday holiday (February 23)
Joseph Bernhard and his men were hired for the repair and widened the thin crack to prevent it from spreading and
to restore the tone of the bell using a technique called "stop drilling"
The famous "crack" in the Liberty Bell is actually the repair job done by Joseph Bernhard!
Joseph Bernhard also took over the Wilbank Foundry - who was John Wilbank??
Philadelphia decided to reconstruct the State House steeple. Council also decided to replace the State House clock with a new one in the steeple.
It was decided the new clock should have a new bell. A foundry owner named John Wilbank cast a 4,000 pound bell. In December,
Wilbank's bell took the place of the old State House Bell, and the Liberty Bell was moved to a different part of the new tower.
Wilbank was also supposed to haul away the Liberty Bell for scrap.
The city sued Wilbank for breach of contract because he failed to take the Liberty Bell with him.
Wilbank argued that the hauling costs exceeded the $400 scrap value!!
They haggled in court and the judge ordered a compromise: Wilbank would pay court costs and
the City would keep the Bell, which was technically considered "on loan" from Wilbank.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sold Independence Hall and contents to the city of Philadelphia, and in 1830,
the sister bell and Stretch Clock were sold to the Reverend Michael Hurley, Pastor of St. Augustine’s Church.
In 1844, members of the Native American Party burned the church to the ground; the bell cracked to pieces and fragments were gathered
and given to a Joseph Bernard, who recast them. In 1847, the sister bell – greatly diminished in size – was sent to Villanova College,
which had been founded in 1842 by the same Augustinian Fathers as those serving at St. Augustine’s Church. The LAST image is an image of the Villanova Bell
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