Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/568

This page needs to be proofread.


�Liberty's Improved Torch

Three tones of tinted glass were substi- tuted for six hundred square feet of bronze '

��To cut out pieces of the bronze plating in this long protruding flame, one man lay flat on his back upheld by a fellow workman. It was a six days' job

��ONE of the most impressive fea- tures of the Statue of Liberty as it illumines the night is the flaming torch uplifted high above New York harbor. Few who watch the torch's symbolic flickering light know the story of its recent im- provement — know, indeed, how the workmen, oftentimes lying flat on their backs with no scaffolding or underpinning to support them, clung to the framing and drilled thousands of holes for glass plates, which took the place of the old bronze covering. A false movement meant a fall of more than twenty feet and a slip and slide down the interior of Lib- erty's arm. Besides there was the constant swaying of the torch and arm during high winds to be reckoned with.

But these dangers did not dam- pen the ardor of the glazers and they finished their work on time. To-day Liberty's torch is not of dull bronze but of shimmering glass, as Bartholdi, in the judgment of Gutzon Borg- lum, the sculptor, wished it to be. Situated three hundred and fifty feet from the upper terrace, the torch is reached only by a sixty-foot ladder which starts from a small plat- form at the shoulder and runs up the arm to Liberty's hand. At this point a six-foot vertical ladder leads to a two-foot gallery running around the base of the flame.

���The first work was the removing of the crude steelwork and the substitution of sheet bronze, as described in the Popular Science Monthly for February. Follow- ing this, yellow glasses of various tones were selected and graduated from the bottom up in deepening shades. On windy days the torch twists and shakes. Hence the ordinary method of glazing could not be employed. A new method had to be devised — and without delay.

Pieces of the bronze plating were cut out from the inside of the torch, and molds were constructed from them upon which the glass was bent. The greatest difficulty was experienced in reaching the extreme points of the torch. The one long pro- truding flame, which is shown above, had to be cut open by a man lying flat on his back and held by another during the work. It took two men six days to cut this one section.

Holes were punched in the ribs around each opening and brass bolts were threaded through them. Over

���K\/\/\/\/\.//-?

����The glass is embedded in soft putty and kept rigidly taut by spring tension

Miss Liberty's torch is no longer of dull, inert bronze but of shimmering glass

��the bolt ends was placed a small clip spring. The glass was given an edging of non- hardening putty; another clip spring was slipped over the bolt end, and the nut was

�� �