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J.E. Caldwell & Co.  Clock Face

A renowned local jeweler and silversmith, J.E. Caldwell & Co., created a mechanical clock with a hand-painted, pink Tennessee marble face and wrought iron hands for the Philadelphia Courtroom. That clock hung behind the bench from 1891 to 2002 when it was replaced by a mural of Independence Hall painted by two local artists.


Wigging Mirror


In its early days, the Supreme Court Justices adopted the English tradition of donning powdered wigs. This late nineteenth-century "wigging mirror" is constructed in the Shaker furniture style. It was initially displayed in the courtroom at Independence Hall before being moved to City Hall

Chief Justice John P. Flaherty (JPF) arranged for the mirror to be removed from City Hall to eventually be put on display.


Governing bodies use their seal to assure the reader of a document of its authenticity. After declaring independence, Pennsylvania wrote a Constitution in 1776 providing that "all commissions shall be sealed with the State Seal." On January 2, 1778, the Legislature passed a statute establishing a new seal for the Supreme Court:

"Whereas, Since the late glorious revolution, it has become expedient and proper to have a new seal for the Supreme Court, and the Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery of this State; and enacting that a new seal shall be procured and made under the direction of the prothonotary and clerk of the said Supreme Court, having the Arms of the State engraved thereon, with such other devices as the justices of the said court shall direct. with an inscription round the edge and near the extremity thereof in these words, to wit: 'Seal of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,' and with the figures 1776 underneath the Arms..."

The prothonotary procured this seal from a Philadelphia engraver, David Tew, for £15.0.0. Fifteen Pounds Sterling is roughly $2,500 today. Tew's design is still used by the prothonotary; however, the year was changed from 1776 to 1722 - the year the court became independent.

(l) David Tew's seal created during the revolution and (r) the court's current seal

Docketing Machine


This purpose-built docketing machine uses a mechanical Underwood typewriter to record the filings and orders in the cases before the Court. Typewritten dockets replaced the early handwritten dockets. Today's dockets are maintained electronically and are available on the court's website.

The oldest available "Supream" Court docket in the State Archives documenting a case that took place in Philadelphia from September 24, 1740 to September 27. Chief Justice Jeremiah Langhorne and Justices Thomas Graeme and Thomas Griffitts presided over the case.

Dictionary Stand


The Court's opinions interpret the law and affect every profession and way of life in the Commonwealth. As a result, the Justices need to have the precise definitions of words and terms as they may be used outside of the common usage. Specialized dictionaries serve a crucial role in court cases by not only offering precise definitions of terms in use but also by tracing the evolution of a term’s meaning, enabling the Justices to discern the intent behind a statute or opinion at the time of its composition.


This purpose-built stand helps with the Court's legal research.

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