The Statue of Liberty measures 93 meters and was designed in Paris by the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi. How was this heavy sculpture carried to New York in 1886?
When Auguste Bartholdi learned of the end of slavery in America, he was so moved that he thought he should do something. It kept spinning in his head until he got the big idea. He would make a copper statue that would symbolize the union of the French and American people to defend freedom, equality and brotherhood.
But once the piece was made, it had to be moved and at that time there were no cargo ships like now. For this reason, when finishing the first sketch of the statue, Bartholdi was concerned to find the place where he should put it.
In 1871, the sculptor went to the United States and once on the spot decided that Bedloe Island, today known as Liberty Island, was the ideal site.
On his return to Paris, Bartholdi called the engineer Gustave Eiffel. He wanted me to help him create the interior structure that was to support the huge copper plates that formed the sculpture.
They needed 210 wooden boxes to store the material.
When they finished it, they had to take it apart. They fragmented the work into pieces as if they were playing Lego. They needed 210 wooden boxes to store the material. The pieces weighed between seven kilos and four tons. When they finished, they took the boxes by train to Rouen, a port town on the banks of the River Seine.
What was the closest thing to a freight ship that they had at that time? Well, a warship and they chose one called Isère.
Bartholdi was very concerned about the weight of the load. If the ship encountered a storm and large waves, it ran the risk of splitting in half and sinking in the Atlantic. Danger had to be avoided at all costs and that is why it was essential to carefully study the distribution of the merchandise within the warehouse.
On May 20, 1885, the loading was completed and the ship left for its destination: New York. The chronicles say that the Isère spent two days refueling coal on the island of Faial in the Azores.
Just as Bartholdi foresaw, the ship faced rough seas and numerous storms during the first half of the voyage.
After 27 days in the ocean, the horizon of America could be seen in the distance. When the Isère arrived in New York Harbor, thousands of people welcomed it.
On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated on its granite pedestal. The act served to commemorate the first centenary of the independence of the United States.
At the time, the statue had a reddish-brown color typical of copper, but twenty years later something unexpected happened. It had changed color. It had the blue-green patina we all know today. How was such a transformation possible? Did some Tom Bob-style street artist paint it? No, none of that. It is a chemical reaction that copper has when it comes into contact with oxygen in the air and water.
The ship Isére after making the famous delivery returned to the port of Brest in France and there began its misfortune. After a few years, the iron in the hull suffered irreparable damage and they decided to use the ship to store coal.
During World War II, the German army brought him to the Loreint submarine base.
Almost at the end of the war, the Nazis sank it and today it rests at the bottom of the sea.