Famous February Design Patent:
The Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Yes, this is correct. The inventor of the Statue of Liberty, most certainly, designed the sculpture out of need – democracy and freedom. 

People frequent Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty for the magnificence it exudes. Apparently, the Statue of Liberty is among the most recognizable symbols worldwide. Officially known as Liberty Enlightening the World, this colossal sculpture symbolizes the friendship between the US and France. 

The statue is a figure of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty holding a flaming touch above her head on her right hand. In the left hand, the statue has a tabula ansata – a tablet with handles containing an inscription of the 4th of July. The sculpture also has a broken shackle and chain at its feet, which seem to be moving forward. Everything in the statue represents liberty and freedom.  

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi is the brain behind this neoclassical sculpture. The inventor of land sculptors and monuments made the statue in honor of the centennial of American independence. He worked together with Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel tower, to actualize this design and then gifted it to Americans. 

Bartholdi’s work got a design patent for the statue. The image of this monument is everywhere – in movies, cups, shirts, mugs, small figurines, and everything in between. However, nobody has ever recreated a similar gigantic sculpture because of the patent.  

Who is Frederic Auguste Bartholdi

 Bartholdi was born in 1834. Unfortunately, his father died soon after he was born. His mother moved to Paris from Alsace. His mother enrolled him in Lycée Louis-le-Grand school, where he learned under accomplished French artists. He studied architecture, painting and became fascinated with sculptures.

As an emerging artist, Bartholdi visited Egypt with French cultural ambassadors. They had gone to photograph cultural antiques. At the time, the French were constructing the Suez Canal. While there, he saw the Egyptian landscape littered with massive sculptures – this mesmerized the young lad, stirring up his inventor aspirations. 

While in Egypt, Bartholdi had a meeting with Khedive Isma’il Pasha, the authority in charge of the Suez Canal funding. He presented an immense statuette of a lighthouse portraying the Egyptian fellah, a female serf titled Egypt or progress illuminating Asia. However, Pasha turned him down. The lost opportunity did not deter Bartholdi. 

The Road to Making The Statue of Liberty

By 1870, the Franco-German War, which ended with Germany capturing Alsace, ignited Bartholdi’s interest in the French’s founding principle, liberty. Consequently, he joined Union Franco-Americaine. The group promoted and monumentalized freedom and sovereignty endeavors in America and France. 

It was in this group that Bartholdi met scholar Édouard de Laboulaye. The two developed a budding relationship. Laboulaye was an abolitionist and an American democracy professor. 

At the time, the American Civil War was coming to an end. Additionally, America’s 100th year of independence was also approaching. Laboulaye proposed the idea of France gifting the Americans a statue to commemorate the American milestone and celebrate the two countries’ shared democratic outlook and friendship. 

Approval to Design the Statue of Liberty

Bartholdi signed on to the opportunity and presented his proposal. His proposal must have been impressive because it earned the commission to make the statue. Bartholdi set up meetings with prominent Americans to discuss the sculpture and the place it would be mounted. They settled on Bedloe Island in New York Harbor. However, America’s approval was not firm or assuring. 

Laboulaye and Bartholdi also held committees in America and France to plan the project. The stakeholders decided that France would raise money for the statue. On the other hand, America would finance the pedestal. The two French men then returned to France to start the fundraising process. 

Bartholdi’s fundraising strategy included raising the torch and arm in Philadelphia, New York. He also exhibited the head and shoulders in Paris. Furthermore, he sold figurines of the statue and placed admission charges for the exhibitions. 

The process of finding funds was laborious. The art shows, auctions, and sales could not raise the required finances on time. A lot of work went into raising awareness to get the french plugged into the project. Insufficient funds stalled the start of the project until 1875. 

The American group also struggled to raise funds for the pedestal. For both groups, the issue was exacerbated by a lack of sensitization on the importance of the sculpture. Once the relevant channels enlightened the masses, funds began to fill up rather quickly. 

Cumulatively, Bartholdi’s efforts and those of the Franco-Americaine Union helped raise over a million francs. Despite the hardships along the way, the union raised the required amount. The money garnered was enough for the project. 

The Making of the Statue

The making of the statue was a joint effort between America and France. France handled the sculpture, while America constructed its pedestal. Bartholdi and his team began working at Gaget, Gauthier & Co warehouse. 

Bartholdi molded the sculpture’s face to resemble his mother’s facial features. He then used copper sheets to curve on the skin. The copper sheets make the statue appear green because of the metal’s reaction with oxygen. 

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel and Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc developed the statue’s skeleton using iron pylon and steel. The skeleton’s composition enables the copper metal to move independently. The freedom to move is crucial because the figure would be positioned on a windy harbor. 

While the sculpture was under construction, the endeavors to raise funds for the pedestal were underway in New York. The sculpture’s inventor oversaw the statue’s development to its completion in 1885. The workers then dismantled the colossal figure in preparation for shipping. 

Transportation of the Statue to New York

In total, the sculpture had 350 pieces that were packaged into 214 crates and shipped to New York Harbor. The Freight reached its destination on June 19, 1885. It was then reassembled and erected at Bedloe’s Island, where it stands 300 feet tall. The Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. 

The Snow baller Effect of the Statue

The symbolism of the statue of liberty goes beyond the 4th of July. It also shows depicts the liberation of slaves into freed humans. It is especially significant to migrants because that was the route used to gain entry into the US. As soon as migrants saw the sculpture, they knew they had arrived in the land of the free.

The Monument’s Design Patent

In 1879, Bartholdi got the design patent for the statue of liberty design. The patent number for the sculpture is USD11023. However, the patent expired 14 years after issuance. People could not use, make, or sell Bartholdi’s design during the patent period. 

The design patent gave Bartholdi exclusive rights to sell, remake and use the design to raise funds for developing the sculpture. There are no more monumental patents in the US. Aside from Abraham Lincoln, who patented himself. 

Patents for sculptures like the Statue of Liberty only protect the design work. For the most part, such copyrights illegalize the recreation of the original invention. Selling images or other forms of the sculpture may not necessarily represent infringe on the inventor’s idea. The word design represents the visual characteristics displayed on the sculpture. Thus, the appearance as depicted by the inventor should not be replicated when a patent is issued. 

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