Jefferson Co. residents are hearing bells

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Bicentennial Commission’s foundry on wheels will return to the Ohio Valley to cast and ring Ohio’s 57th bicentennial bell during the Bicentennial Festival in Steubenville, June 21-22.

Bell casting by traveling tradesmen ceased to take place after the early 1700s and today, bells cast in a foundry require 60-90 days for completion.

Modern mobile foundry. However, the Verdin Company of Cincinnati and the Ohio Bicentennial Commission combined old-world processes and modern technology to create a bell in two days on a mobile foundry.

Gifts from Ohio. Since 2001, personalized Bicentennial Bells measuring 2 feet high and weighing 250 pounds have been cast on-site in 54 of Ohio’s 88 counties. They have been presented to the county by the state and the Bicentennial Commission as a commemoration of the state’s 200th birthday.

The process. The first day at each event will see the bronze material added to the mobile furnace. Over a period of several hours, the furnace is heated to more than 2,000 degrees, at which time the molten bronze is poured into the mold.

After cooling overnight, the mold is broken, and then cleaned and polished on stage. At the end of the two-day event the bell is dedicated, presented to the county and rung for the first time.

The public is then invited to ring the bell.

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