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The time Bell Labs introduced the Statue of Liberty beneath its roof (Actually) – Nick vs Networking

The time Bell Labs introduced the Statue of Liberty beneath its roof (Actually) – Nick vs Networking

2023-04-04 12:59:47

It’s 1986 and also you’ve bought a 31 tons of copper, within the type of a large 46 meter tall statue, that’s trying a bit worse for put on.

The Statue of Liberty has had water pooling in some areas, inflicting areas of her copper pores and skin to corrode, and in some instances sporting right through.

On the opposite facet of the iron curtain (it’s nonetheless up in spite of everything) there are in all probability fairly quite a few of us skilled in taking care of large statues, however alas, you’re the US Nationwide Parks Service and in search of assist from the Soviets might be a nasty look.

The statue is fabricated from Copper, and who is aware of extra about copper than the cellphone firm, with an unlimited, huge community of copper traces spanning the nation?

So the Nationwide Parks Service referred to as upon Bell Labs to assist.

The Bell Labs’ chemists assigned to the challenge shortly identified that simply changing the corroded copper with new copper would hardly mix in – You’d have the shiny brown copper color within the new sections, which wouldn’t match the verdigris that happens by means of the oxidation of the copper, which might take years to type. (When she was delivered, the statue had a copper color such as you’d see in Copper piping, not the inexperienced patina we see right now.)

Bell Labs workers checked out artificially creating the patina with acid options, to hurry up the method to match the brand new copper with the outdated, however it was discovered it might trigger structural weak factors.

John Franey who was a technical assistant working at Bell Labs’ Murray Hill laboratories will need to have seemed up on the roof of their buildings, constructed in 1941, and thought “Nicely that appears fairly shut…”, so the naturally patinaed roof of Bell Lab’s New Jersey campus was peeled up and despatched off for patching the statue.

Modern-day roof at Murray Hill now with the verdigris that’s had 40 years to type

Murray Hill bought a shiny new copper roof to switch the outdated inexperienced one they’d simply given up, and the particles of copper corrosion scraped off the dismantled roof of a Bell Labs have been combined with acetone right into a particular spray used as concealer on the statue’s pores and skin.

In change, Bell Labs workers got a number of the copper plates faraway from the statue, so they may examine the pure corrosion course of in copper, in numerous climate circumstances, which in flip would result in a greater understanding of the way to construct and preserve their copper plant.

See Also


The Concept Manufacturing facility – E-book by Jon Gertner

New York Times: TECHNOLOGY; STATUE’S REPAIR AIDS RESEARCH – Stuart Diamond – Feb. 14, 1985


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