Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lady Liberty

On this date 123 years ago, The Statue of Liberty, officially titled
Liberty Enlightening the World, was dedicated on October 28, 1886. Commemorating the centennial of the signing of the
United States Declaration of Independence.

It was given to the United States by the people of France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution. It represents a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata tablet, where the date of the Declaration of Independence JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is inscribed, in her left arm.

Standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue and obtained a U.S. patent for its structure. (Photo Credit: William Warby - November 13, 2007)

Maurice Koechlin, chief engineer of Gustave Eiffel's engineering company and designer of the Eiffel Tower, engineered the internal structure. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction and adoption of the repoussé technique, where a malleable metal is hammered on the reverse side.

The statue is made of a sheathing of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron) with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf (originally made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes). It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft tall.

Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States and was, from 1886 until the Jet Age, often one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants after ocean voyages from Europe. The statue is the central part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, administered by the National Park Service.


Major Pepperidge said...

I've always loved that photo from the 1876 Centennial Exposition with the Statue's head on display, it really helps to give a sense of how huge Liberty is!

Keith said...

I've always loved the Statue of Liberty. It's definitely an iconic figure of the United States. Great to learn more about it.