2023 Justice Bell Update
In 2020, as the Justice Bell was being transported to Independence Square in Philadelphia for an event to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, it fell off the truck and was damaged. After being missing since then, the Justice Bell was finally returned to the Washington Memorial Chapel in early August 2023.
On August 12, 2023, we spoke with Tim Verdin of Verdin Bell Company, which is in Cincinnati. The Washington Memorial Chapel’s carillonneur, Doug Gefvert, has been a long-time salesperson for Verdin, and they were the company that was tasked with restoring the Justice Bell.
Tim Verdin let us know that the clapper was damaged and the yoke and carriage were destroyed in the fall. One of the A-stands (the black metal to each side of the bell) was destroyed and the other had a significant crack. The platform was also destroyed. He said they had to repair three places on the lip of the bell where chunks of metal had broken off the lip of the bell. He also had to weld the lip of the bell to fix microfractures, and weld the clapper.
When we asked why the bell now has a dull appearance and has streaks along its surface, he said the reason was that he had used three acid solutions to spread on the surface of bell: one turned it black, one brown, one blue. He said they did this so they could X-ray and conduct magnetic particle testing to find the cracks in the metal. He said the reason the bell looked polished previously was due to dirt and oily hands from people touching the bell. He said the Justice Bell had not aged like other bells because of people touching it.