10 Fun Facts about the Statue of Liberty: Bartholdi, Frederic (1834-1904)

Lion_de_Belfort
1880 : Bartholdi’s The Lion of Belfort, in Belfort, France, a massive sculpture of a lion carved into the side of a mountain, depicting the huge struggle of the French to hold off the Prussian assault at the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Bartholdi was an officer himself during this period, attached to Garibaldi. 
  1. The Statue of Liberty was actually named by its sculptor Frederic Bartholdi Liberty Enlightening the World (EB, “Statue of Liberty“).
  2. The Statue actually has a design patent: U.S. Patent D11,023 (WP, “Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi”).
  3. It was the largest work of its kind that had ever been completed up to that time, but was the tallest structure in New York City for only four years, until the New York World Building surpassed it at 349 feet in 1890 (WP).
  4. It was rumored in France that the face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after Bartholdi’s mother (WP):

536px-Face_of_Statue_of_Liberty

5. The statue, mounted on its pedestal, was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886 (EB).

6. Parts of the Statue have actually been redesigned.  Over the years the torch underwent several modifications, including its conversion to electric power in 1916 and its redesign (with repoussé copper sheathed in gold leaf) in the mid-1980s (EB). (“Repoussé” is “shaped or ornamented with patterns in relief made by hammering or pressing on the reverse side —used especially of metal,” according to Merriam Webster.)

7. The Statue was first administered as a lighthouse, then as part of an Army base.  It wasn’t until 1933 that it was administered by the National Park Service (EB).

8. From 1886 until 1916, you could use a service ladder inside the arm to go up to the torch (EB).

9. The Statue was an early example of crowd funding:  The design patent covered the sale of small copies of the statue. Proceeds from the sale of the statues helped raise modest but insufficient money to build the full statue (WP).

10. You can buy one of the models used to fund the Statue for $2750 on eBay. (It was only $5.00 originally.)(http://ebay.to/1WJPLyH)

Ebay

Letter

Sources: WP = Wikipedia; EB = Encyclopedia Britannica

Photo sources: Wikimedia and eBay.

 

 

 

 

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