Miniature Bell, 19th century
Over the years filings taken from the bell from Independence Hall were made into a number of novelty relics. It is believed that approximately twenty-five pounds of metal has been removed from a combination of attempts to repair the crack and from metal maliciously chiseled off the lip of the bell by former custodians of the Hall, sold to tourists. On March 9, 1846 William Ecker (dates unknown), Superintendent of the Pennsylvania State House Steeple, wrote to the Commissioner of City Property that “…By direction of his Honor the Mayor, I caused the fracture in the old “Independence Bell,” to be drilled…having succeeded in saving the drillings, I had a small Bell cast from them,….”
The bell underwent further work in preparation of the hope that the bell would ring again during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia. The Bernard Foundry in Kensington, Philadelphia, noted for their knowledge of bells were consulted in 1875. Thomas Durrin (1834-1893), superintendent of the foundry personally conducted the work on the bell and carefully preserved the shavings. Durrin was allowed to keep several ounces of the drillings. He placed the chips in a crucible from which on heating he cast the molten metal into seven small blanks. From these blanks seven small bells were made. These bells were approximately 9/16ths of an inch in height from the plane of the base to the highest point in the form of the bell itself and 9/16ths of an inch in diameter. They weighed a small fraction of an ounce.
This miniature bell was acquired by Andrew E. Warner, Jr. (1813-1896), the son of Andrew E. Warner (1786-1870), both noted Baltimore silversmiths. It is unknown how the bell came into the Warner family, but has retained a tradition of having been made from filings taken from the bell.