Liberty Copper

Did You Know? Surprising Facts About America's Beloved Statue

Published 08/25/2023.

The Statue of Liberty, one of the most iconic symbols of freedom and democracy, has a fascinating origin story. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, it was a gift from France to the United States in 1886. The idea behind this monument was to celebrate the alliance between the two nations and signify mutual values such as liberty and independence.
Bartholdi began working on the statue in the early 1870s with assistance from French engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later went on to design the famous Eiffel Tower. The statue depicts a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Her crown is adorned with seven spikes symbolizing rays of light representing freedom's universal reach across seven continents and oceans.

The interior structure was designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, following engineering principles that made it both sturdy and lightweight. Interestingly, Lady Liberty's copper exterior was carefully handcrafted using repoussé techniques - hammering sheets of copper into shape over wooden molds. She originally displayed her natural copper hue but gradually oxidized over time to develop her now iconic green patina.

Once completed in France, the statue had to be disassembled into 350 individual pieces for its journey across the Atlantic Ocean. It arrived in New York Harbor aboard the French frigate Isère in June 1885. Reassembly occurred on Bedloe's Island (now known as Liberty Island) where a pedestal funded through American donations awaited its arrival.

Finally, after months of assembly work overseen by civil engineer Charles P. Stone, Lady Liberty was unveiled on October 28th, 1886 amidst great public fanfare. Since then, she has welcomed millions of immigrants to America's shores as a powerful symbol of hope and opportunity.

This magnificent sculpture stands tall at approximately 305 feet (93 meters), including its pedestal, making it an awe-inspiring sight for visitors from around the world.


Now, why was Copper chosen to be used on the iconic statue?

The Statue of Liberty was made with copper primarily because of its durability and aesthetic properties. Copper is known for its resistance to corrosion, making it an excellent choice for outdoor structures exposed to the elements, like the statue situated on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. At the time of its construction in the late 19th century, copper was widely available and relatively affordable compared to other materials.

Additionally, copper possesses a distinct visual appeal. It develops a unique patina over time due to oxidation, which gives it a greenish hue that further adds to its beauty. This characteristic makes the Statue of Liberty easily recognizable and enhances its iconic status.

Furthermore, selecting copper as the primary material reflected the statue's intended symbolism. Copper has been associated with freedom throughout history, as it represents strength and resilience. By using this metal for Lady Liberty's construction, her noble purpose of welcoming immigrants and advocating liberty for all was reinforced.

Maintaining the statue's appearance requires ongoing care and restoration efforts due to exposure to weather conditions. Over the years, various preservation projects have ensured that the Statue of Liberty remains a symbol of enduring freedom for future generations by continuously treating and cleaning her copper surface.


How much did it cost to build?

The construction cost of the Statue of Liberty, which was completed in 1884, amounted to $250,000 at that time. Considering inflation and changes in the value of money over the years, this sum is equivalent to approximately $10 million today. However, it is important to note that this figure does not include other expenses associated with transportation, assembly, and installation.

The statue was a gift from France to the United States and its construction was a collaborative effort between both countries. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the artwork represents liberty and freedom and has become an iconic symbol of America. The statue itself stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor.

To fundraise for its creation, both private citizens and governments contributed funds towards building the statue's framework and coating it with copper sheets. The American government provided the site for its location while some American individuals helped finance the pedestal needed to support it.

Due to its immense size – standing over 305 feet tall including its pedestal – constructing such a colossal sculpture required precision engineering and extensive craftsmanship. It took several years for artisans to complete all parts of the statue before they were transported across the Atlantic Ocean from France to New York.

In addition to currency value differences between then and now, advances in technology have also influenced construction costs over time. Modern techniques would likely make reproducing such a structure more efficient in terms of expense.

Even with changes in economic conditions and advancements since its creation over a century ago, one cannot underestimate the historical significance and enduring impact that the Statue of Liberty has had on American culture as a timeless symbol representing liberty and hope for millions worldwide.

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