The Statue of Liberty (formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World) is a colossal statue located in New York City in the United States of America. It has been designed Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, to be later given is a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. The dedication of the statue took place on October 28, 1886.
The statue is a figure of Libertas – is the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. In her right hand she holds a torch and in the left hand – a stone tablet with Roman numerals „JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). The text represents the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and so does the broken chain at her feet.
The layer of copper covering the Statue of Liberty is around 0.09 inch thick (around 2.4 millimeters). That’s roughly the thickness of two pennies put together! Because of a copper layer, the statue was initially reddish brown. However in 1900 patina started to develop, turning it green – by end of 1906, the Statue was entirely covered in it. This was caused by the oxidation – a chemical reaction which occurred due to metal getting covered in evaporating seawater.
Statue of Liberty in numbers
Height of copper statue: 151 feet 1 inch (46 meters)
Weight: 450,000 pounds (204, 100 kilograms)
Number of steps to the crown: 354
Number of windows in the crown: 25
Visitors per year: ~3.5 million
- A familiar face
Many believe that the face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after Bartholdi’s mother, Augusta Charlotte Bartholdi. However there are some like author Elizabeth Mitchell, who claim that it was not Bartholdi’s mother, but his brother, Jean-Charles. Supposedly Bartholdi had a lot of occasions to study his brother’s face, as Jean-Charles had gone mad in his later life and Bartholdi often was often helping him. It’s also worth to mention that Bartholdi’s wife, Jeanne-Emilie, was modeling for statue’s arms and torso.
- Freedom isn’t free
The cost of building the Statue of Liberty was more than $500,000 – around $10 million in today’s money! The money for the statue itself was raised by French people through donations, while pedestal was paid for by Americans.
- A long way home
Transporting such gigantic statue as the Statue of Liberty was not a small task. The statue was disassembled into 350 separate pieces and put into 214 wooden crates. Those were later loaded on a French ocean liner called Isere and shipped to the United States where it landed on June 17, 1885.
- Big Foot
Sandals of the Statue of Liberty are size 879 and each is 25 feet (7.6m) long!
- An icon of feminism
Shortly after its arrival to the United States, the Statue of Liberty became an icon of feminists movements. Only two females were granted access to the ceremony of dedication (Bartholdi’s wife and granddaughter of chairman of the French committee by Ferdinand de Lesseps). Officials stated that it was due to a fear that women might be crushed among the crowd. Offended suffragists got a boat and held their own ceremony, calling out the hypocrisy of “erecting a Statue of Liberty embodied as a woman in a land where no woman has political liberty.”