Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Vulcan: Birmingham's Industrial Colossus

Matthew A. Kierstead
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 28, No. 1, IA IN ART (2002), pp. 59-74
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40947144
Page Count: 16
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($8.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Vulcan: Birmingham's Industrial Colossus
Preview not available

Abstract

This article is a summary of a history of the Vulcan statue the author wrote for the Historic American Engineering Record during the summer of 1993. The 65-foot tall, 60-ton Vulcan is the largest cast-iron statue in the world, conceived by Birmingham, Alabama, businessmen as a dramatic booster for the industry of the city and the South for display at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. This colossal image of the Roman god of the forge was designed by Italian sculptor Giuseppi Moretti (1857-1935), a pioneer of metal art sculpture in the U.S. A product of a 19th-century tradition of allegorical imagery, the statue was created at a time when artistic representation was shifting to literal portrayal of subject matter. Its construction was a technical feat for its scale and speed and combined art and industrial casting methods. The statue was a sensation at the St. Louis Fair but languished as a State Fairgrounds advertising prop for more than 30 years after its return to Birmingham. In 1937 the WPA and local forces erected it on a mountain overlooking the city. Subsequently the statue's visibility and meaning were compromised by installation of a beacon and insensitive park renovations. The statue suffered deterioration and was dismantled in 1999. Vulcan and Vulcan Park are being restored to fulfill the original civic goals of their creators.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
59
    59
  • Thumbnail: Page 
60
    60
  • Thumbnail: Page 
61
    61
  • Thumbnail: Page 
62
    62
  • Thumbnail: Page 
63
    63
  • Thumbnail: Page 
64
    64
  • Thumbnail: Page 
65
    65
  • Thumbnail: Page 
66
    66
  • Thumbnail: Page 
67
    67
  • Thumbnail: Page 
68
    68
  • Thumbnail: Page 
69
    69
  • Thumbnail: Page 
70
    70
  • Thumbnail: Page 
71
    71
  • Thumbnail: Page 
72
    72
  • Thumbnail: Page 
73
    73
  • Thumbnail: Page 
74
    74