The absolute majority of our contemporaries can easily determine that the Statue of Liberty, installed in New York City, is the primary symbol of the United States. And they are sure to answer the question regarding the color of the statue. Of course, it’s of a strange blue-green tone. But what if it wasn’t always like that?
When installed, it was brown-red but turned to the current green-blue color due to a chemical reaction. Originally, when the statue was assembled, it was dull brown because of the natural color of the copper sheets that cover it. Over the next 30 years, though, it has gradually turned to the green color as you see it today.
On the Internet, you often find information that they used copper mined in Ufa and Nizhny Tagil to build the statue. However, the test performed by enthusiasts has proved that this is not the case. In fact, copper was mined on the island of Karmøy, Norway.
The Statue of Liberty we see today is greenish-blue. This color is typical for old copper pieces that get oxidized during long exposure to the air. Lots of copper monuments and old coins are exactly the same color. Specialists even invented a specific term for it, they call it a patina.
Before the Statue of Liberty became green, it was brown-red! Yes, yes, they sheathed the iron frame with thin copper sheets about 2.5 mm thick. But after the structure was mounted on a pedestal, the reaction activated: wet salty air coming from the sea, together with emissions from New York factories, did their job. As a result, within 30 years period, the chemical composition of the statue’s entire surface changed from copper to copper oxide, having a distinguished blue-green color. In the time following, the composition became stable, and the color did not change anymore. That’s why the Statue of liberty is green now.
By the way, the New York authorities now and then offer to clean the statue to return its original color. Still, the city people do not welcome the idea, preferring the major symbol of the city to look familiar like in their childhood.
Everyone knows James Cameron’s Titanic, released in 1997. In one of the ending scenes, Rose, upon arrival in New York, is staring at the Statue of Liberty, which looks the same as we see it today. In fact, they did it for the spectators to recognize it and not ask too many questions. The events took place in 1912, when the statue hadn’t yet turned entirely green. Moreover, the electric backlight was added as late as the 1950s, and the torch was repainted gold even later, in 1986.
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