Approaching Philadelphia from the perspective of a visitor, the Liberty Bell immediately leapt to the forefront as an icon to investigate.

The story of its birth is absurd—from the very start it was rife with woe. After coming from England the bell broke on first peal; it was then melted down and recast by local artisans Pass and Stow but no one liked the sound it made; Pass and Stow re-melted and re-cast, producing another ill-sounding bell. A fourth attempt was commissioned from Whitechapel which sounded equally bad upon arrival. Settling for the third attempt (Pass and Stow’s second version) the bell’s moniker and distinct crack were yet to come. I was also drawn to the politically appropriate alternate meanings of these two surnames, Pass and Stow (or hand-off and hide).

 


Vox Populi

Pass & Stow, Liz Nofziger ©2006