Another Kind of Moon Shot

This is the view of Vulcan the fine folks of Homewood get to see every day. It “cracks” me up. Somehow, I just don’t think blacksmiths went without pants, but I suppose the gods might have had different rules. Still, this just makes the third-grade girl inside me giggle a bit.

The clouds parted just enough on Monday for me to get a nice blue-sky shot. About 10 minutes later, it was back to gray and overcast, and it stayed that way for the rest of the day.

When I was very young, we visited Vulcan before it had the elevator to ride up to the observation deck. It’s 159 steps, which doesn’t seem like much, but considering that it was inside an un-air-conditioned brick enclosure in the middle of July, it was a strenuous walk.

A bit of history from Wikipedia:

The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The 56-foot tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham’s entry for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 World’s Fair) in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the seventh-tallest free-standing statue in the United States.

Commissioned by the Commercial Club of Birmingham, Italian-born sculptor Giuseppe Moretti began designing the monumental figure in 1903, using a 6-foot tall model to study the form. He next sculpted a clay master model in an unfinished church in Passaic, New Jersey, and this was then divided into sections and transported by railroad to the Birmingham Steel and Iron Company for the preparation of casting molds for the iron.

The Vulcan statue consists of 29 cast-iron components with connecting flanges that are bolted together internally. The heaviest section is his whole head, which weighs 11,000 pounds. Iron forgemen designed and executed the connection details for the statue, which originally had no internal framework and was self-supporting. The grey iron castings were made in Birmingham entirely from locally-produced iron.

The completed weight of the god Vulcan’s figure alone is 100,000 pounds. When Vulcan’s anvil, block, hammer, and spearpoint are added, the statue weighs a total of 120,000 pounds, and it now stands on a pedestal that is 123 feet tall. The statue has a chest circumference of 22 feet 6 inches  and a waist circumference of 18 feet 3 inches.

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