witness the laying of the first STONE into the would-be platform of the Statue
of Liberty, more than a hundred people came to Bedlow’s
Ehlers announced the list of all items that were placed in a SMALL copper box
and lowered it into a HOLLOW space under the first stone.
to the declared list, under the Statue
of Liberty lay buried a copy of the American Constitution, the text of George
Washington's Farewell Address, bronze medals with names of all US Presidents up
to Chester Arthur, a portrait of sculptor Bartholdi,
and … Russian and Jewish immigrant newspapers of New York City.
latter circumstances give rise to a new look at the single remaining mystery of
humanity's great memorial, the Statue of Liberty.
Norwegians - candidates No. 1
would seem that everything is known about the Statue of Liberty: its height,
weight, length of its nose, width of its mouth, thickness of its book, as well
as numerous other little details. The Statue's total weight, for instance, is
450 000 pounds; the weight of its copper plates alone is 200 000 pounds. Lady
Liberty is only a little more than a hundred years old - a tiny period in
historical sense. As commonly known, the Statue, created by a French sculptor Bartholdi, was presented as a gift to American people for
the 100-year anniversary of independence. Even at that time, all information
about the Statue appeared open; there were no secrets.
issue concerning the Statue, however, remains enigmatic even today. What copper
was used to create one of the most well-known monuments of the world? To be
more specific, where did the copper come from? To-day, no historic
documentation exists to respond to the question fully.
leading candidacy for the source of copper can be claimed by several countries
copper mines in Cornwall
and Devon were
renowned throughout the world, particularly in the later half of XIX century.
Apart from that, judging from geographic convenience, a possible supply of Lady
Liberty's copper skin, as some experts think, may be an English excavation site
are the two most likely nominees from Germany.
there was a famous copper mine at Huelva
that, for several centuries, remained am-ong the
largest of its kind in Europe.
most probable true source of the Statue's copper, though, is Norway.
Certain Norwegian specialists even maintain that the last Liberty
mystery is already solved. In 1870, Norway
had a great copper source at Visnes on Karmoi
in the North Sea. The
headquarters of the Norwegian mining company were located in Paris;
the proprietor was a Frenchman. Additionally, all raw materials from the mine
were delivered to Antwerp
principal argument for Norway
arises from a spectrographic analysis. In exploring the theory, a New
Jersey company Bell Laboratories analyzed
a copper sample from the Statue and compared it to the metal from the Norwegian
mine. The conclusion lead researchers to assert that there
was a high likelihood for the North
The copper samples appeared similar.
Similar… Were they
identical? Not quite. There was no unequivocal answer.
A Norwegian origin of the Statue can be spoken
of as only a possibility, just like its potential English, German, or Spanish
(the Spainish mine was also owned by a Frenchman)
The Russian legend
For the first time, I heard the story of the copper's Russian origin from a
Russian journalist, who attended an exhibition in Paris.
She described her museum guide, a Russian woman, about 45-years-old, who lived
for two decades. When the journalist's group passed a smaller model of the
American Statue of Liberty in Paris,
the guide told the story of the real Liberty's
Russian copper source.
little story would have been forever forgotten, if I had not once again
encountered it in the form of a direct affirmation. Visok-ogorskiy
Factory of Nizhniy Tagil,
in Sverdlovsk Region, Russia,
on its official Internet-site, declared that the copper used in the
construction of the Statue of Liberty came from Russia.
me just briefly remind you the Statue's story. A French sculptor
Frederic-August Bartholdi was commissioned to create
a statue dedicated to the American independence centenary in 1876. (There are
other theories of the statue's purpose, but we shall not pursue them here.) Due
to funding shortages, the work was not completed on time. The French conducted
various charity benefits and lotteries. Americans, in their turn, were occupied
with gathering money for building the Statue's platform. Bartholdi
worked on the project with fascination; he produced several preliminary models,
smaller than the actual Statue. His assistant, a future celebrity, Gustav
Eiffel, designed the internal constructs of the monument. The outer covering
was made of copper plates that were manually reshaped as necessary. In the United
famous Joseph Pulitzer criticized wealthy classes of America
for the failure to sponsor the Statue. At last, the money was gathered, and, on
1884, the Statue was given to the US
ambassador in France.
Subsequently, the monument got transported to America,
installed on the island, and opened with a ceremony on October 28, 1886.
initial glance, there is no Russian connection in the many-year construction
history of the architectural masterpiece. So what is it that gives the Nizhniy
plant the basis to have contrary claims?
contacted the director of Nizhniy Tagil's
historic museum and inquired whether there was any direct proof of Russian
copper's use. To my surprise, the museum had no evidence. The theory has been
passed on through generations as a legend and ensconced itself deep in the
people's beliefs. The director, as usual, complained about the lack of funds to
investigate the issue.
I could gather certain facts, whose great number is simply too big for the
Russian theory to be a legend.
Copper takes the gold in Paris
starters, let's look at widely-known facts. Many cities in the Urals originated
around copper mines and iron ore processing plants. By the end of the XVIII
century, 80 percent of all Russian copper coinage was produced in
Yekaterinburg. During the XVIII century, Urals region's steel and copper
manufacture plants were among the finest in the world. Nizhniy
Tagil's plants shared the glory.
Their mark of excellence was, primarily, iron processing. However, in 1814,
experts found a large copper quarry on Mount
By 1850, copper excavation there totaled 10 thousand tons a year (to compare,
the Norwegian mine - candidate No. 1 - produced only 3 thousand tons).
may object: Urals are far from Western
Europe - the edge of the world. People in France
would not even know about mines in Russia.
Such judgment, though, would be invalid: Russian copper was well known in Europe.
The excellent quality of copper and iron from the Urals was highly valued in Europe,
particularly in England.
Nizhniy Tagil's copper repeatedly won
numerous exhibition contests. In 1851, at London's
World-wide Exhibition, copper and iron from Nizhniy
garnered three bronze medals. Eleven years later, during the Second World-wide
Exhibition, Russian copper received gold for "widely-recognized
superlative quality." In 1867, copper form the Russian Demidovskiy
Plant won first place at the Paris World's Fair.
from all else, extensive historic ties existed between Ural copper plants and
the French. In his stories, famous Russian writer from the Urals, P. Bozhov, always mentioned French craftsmen who came to
exchange techniques with their Russian counterparts. In 1821, Fyodor Zvezdin, as the most gifted Russian pupil of the French,
was sent to France
to pursue studies of sculpture and iron processing. After 10 years, when he
returned, Zvezdin started the first bronze-production
factory in the Urals. He was involved in artistic craft as well. His Boy,
Taking Out a Splinter, Girl Praying, The Little Bull,
and The Antique Vase are now in museums of Nizhniy
and St. Petersburg.
a bronze monument to N. N. Demidov was constructed on
the main city square in 1837. The sculptor of the monument was a French master F. G. Bozier.
1833, P. N. Demidov devised a plan to create two
mineralogical collections: one for Nizhniy
and one for Paris.
French engineer Bergié assisted in the
collection's compilation. Later, in 1852, Bergié
and another French engineer, Allorie, were awarded by
the Russian government for completing the collection.
connections, as seen, had deep historic roots. For many decades, French masters
worked in the Urals. Local annals chronicle the facts. The "Stariy Sobol" ("Old
Sable") copper brand from Russia
was popular throughout all
Tagil's records of XIX the century
show that 42 foreigners held management positions at Demidov's
ore factories. There were English, Swiss, German, Belgian and Italian
engineers. The largest cohort of foreigners, however, - 14 specialists - were
Mining engineer P. Leplé was a direct
consultant to the Demidovs. Another mining engineer
E. Bokar worked as an administrator at Nizhniy
specialists, together with a multitude of others, strengthened industrial ties
such a context, the world-wide distribution of Russian copper appears rather
real. In addition to Europe
items of Russian copper were exported to India, Asia, and the Middle
The Emperor visited the World's Fair in Paris in person
is yet one more curious historic fact. Prince Alexander (future Alexander II),
during his trip to Siberia,
came to Nizhniy Tagil
and got personally acquainted with the industry there. Alexander paid his
respects to the Demidov's monument. Thirty years
later, the Emperor attended the Paris World's Fair, where Russian copper took
the gold. In honor of Alexander II, Napoleon III organized a military parade
and ordered the officers to salute not only the Russian Czar, but also, the
quality of Russian copper.
conclude, let's present information that was always concealed in Russian
history and always openly accessible in American and French records, the story
of Masonic Lodges. It is known that sculptor Bartholdi
and engineer Eiffel were members of a French Masonic Lodge that helped to
gather funds for the Statue project. Alone, the organizers would never be able
to collect 3.5 million Francs for the Statue's construction. Tremendous work
had to be carried out. In its own turn, New
York's Masonic Lodge was the sponsor of
the Statue's platform. The relationship between the French and the American Lodges
was warm - both had the same goal. Considerable help in money accumulation from
the American side, as we know, was offered by a famous publisher Joseph
Pulitzer, who gave around 100 000 dollars. The knot of Masonic organizations
engaged in Liberty's
creation may well have included Russian Masonic Lodges.
we know, Nicolas I, after the Decembrist Uprising, prohibited Masonic Lodges in
It, however, did not mean that they ceased to exist. They continued
to operate secretly. As it was historically, the Lodges were closely tied to
the French. In Russia,
Masonic societies included high aristocracy and prosperous industrialists. They
had the means and motives to participate in one of the greatest projects of the
epoch. The ideas of the Masonic movement were liberty, equality, fraternity.
Russian masons could not publicly declare their involvement with the Statue, as
their organization was persecuted. This is a justifiable explanation for the
mystery of the copper's origin. Documents confirming the copper's delivery to France
would have had to be concealed.
any case, there are no precise documents about the origin of Lady Liberty's
copper. I made an inquiry to the headquarters of the European Copper Institute,
located in Brussels.
The specialists replied that no theories regarding the Statue's copper have
been confirmed yet. There is no documentary evidence.
one day, historians will be able to obtain the little copper box located in the
Statue's foundation. Among other objects, in it is a list of a hundred people.
Although the names on the list are known, it is unclear how those people
connected to the Statue project. By looking at the names, though, one can see
that some of them are Russian.
more detail for the end. Later, during the erection of the Washington Memorial,
the famous J. Pulitzer laid one of the memorial stones and wrote on it -
"Joseph Pulitzer - Russian immigrant and Jew." Why would he write
something like that? Everyone knows well that Pulitzer was born in Hungary
and immigrated to the US.
What was his connection with Russia?
Perhaps, it was the copper of the Statue of Liberty.
After this article had been finally compiled, the official web-site of the US
embassy in Yekaterinburg (former Sverdlovsk)
published some interesting information: "The roof of the British
is made from iron produced in the Urals." Another article on the site was
titled "The Statue of Liberty was constructed of copper, mined in Nizhniy
a city to the North of Yeka-terinburg.”