Liberty Bell gets a polishing shine
PHILADELPHIA - June 7, 2012 (WPVI) -- They were doing a little sprucing up and cleaning up along Independence Mall Thursday.
One of Philadelphia's most prized possessions got a special waxing.
If only they took this good care of the Liberty Bell in the years after it was first cast back in 1753.
A parks service technician trained a blow torch on the underside of the iconic piece of history, warming up the tin and copper for a nice, fresh coat of wax.
"What I'm doing is applying a coating of hot wax to protect the bell from corrosion or anything of that sort," explained Jonathan Miller.
Jonathan Miller applied the wax Thursday morning before the Pavilion opened to tourists, and only to the underside, which will protect its soft metal from particulates in the air that can lead to corrosion, extra wear, rust, or, dare we say, another crack.
"Maintenance is preservation," said museum curator Robert Giannini. "that's our story, and that's what we're all about."
The park service started regularly waxing the Liberty Bell back in 1985 when they noticed ammonium sulfates had crystallized on the underside. How they got there is a mystery.
The service even commissioned a group of experts to try and figure it out.
Their best guess, the buildup came from either Windex used to clean the old pavilion's windows, or fertilizer used on the grass outside.
Whatever the case may be, preservation means more people can see the bell, and more importantly, read its message.
"It's a cracked bell, it doesn't work anymore," said Giannini. "But what really does work is the inscription on it; proclaiming liberty throughout the land and to all inhabitants thereof."
The waxing was done within an hour. The next coating will take place in the fall.
independence mall, philadelphia, local/state, matt o'donnell
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