A Fourth Of July Thought

by Don Friedman on July 2, 2016

A lot of our most famous national monuments are structurally weird.

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That is, of course, the Statue of Liberty’s right shoulder. If it seems odd, you’re just not used to looking at people from inside their skin. The interior structure was designed by Gustave Eiffel, a man who knew his way around wrought-iron and steel skeletons, but unfortunately his design was butchered a bit during construction. The 1980s restoration of the statue finally fixed her shoulder, getting it closer to Eiffel’s design.

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I’m sorry, but obelisks are supposed to be solid. Obviously the Washington Monument is too big to be a single piece of stone, but why is it hollow? Structurally speaking, it’s a chimney.

While I’m talking about Washington, everyone knows that undercut, unreinforced stone isn’t really stable in the long run.

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Finally, the history of the Liberty Bell is great, but I’m not so sure about the symbolism, and the conservation engineer in me goes crazy looking at that crack.

Have a happy Independence Day weekend.

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