Geek Trivia

During A 1980s-Era Remodeling, The Statue Of Liberty Got A New?

The Term "Cliffhanger", To Refer To A Suspenseful But Unresolved Ending Originated With?

Answer: Torch

If you’ve gazed upon Lady Liberty lately, she looks the same as she’s always looked: statuesque, tablet held to her side, and torch raised aloft to serve as a beacon to the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, immortalized by the poem inscribed on a tablet within the pedestal at her feet.

Although it has looked more or less unchanged over time, there has been one significant change to the Statue of Liberty. Back in the 1980s, the statue underwent heavy renovations, most of which were intended to simply preserve the statue. The inner and outer surfaces of the statue were cleaned and repaired, leaks were patched, the internal iron armature structure was replaced, the access pathway and doors into the statue’s pedestal were upgraded and beautified along with other repairs and upgrades.

The most visible upgrade by far though, was the upgrade to the torch. The old torch, now located inside the lobby of the monument, was a copper patchwork-quilt-like frame inset with stained glass windows. The whole thing leaked, wasn’t particularly bright at night, and even with maintenance and cleaning, always seemed dingy. Rather than try to mold what they had into something better, the National Park Service opted to replace the entire torch assembly with a metal flame covered in 24-carat gold. While we’re typically purists when it comes to preservation, the new torch is a beautiful upgrade—whether reflecting the brilliant sun or bathed in the light of high-powered floodlights at night, the torch shines brighter now than it ever did before.

Image courtesy of the National Park Service.