Three Famous Structures Made from Iron
Iron is a universal construction material utilized in every corner of the globe. Iron has immense strength and is easy to work with during welding, riveting and cutting. Architects, designers and general contractors covet metal due to its durability, workability and low-maintenance. Metals, such as aluminum, copper, iron, steel and titanium offer a clean look, striking beauty and extreme versatility.
Cast iron and wrought iron are two distinct materials; and each has a specific purpose in the construction industry. Cast iron is most-often used in large architectural projects, with the dome of the US Capital, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty being only a sampling or architectural wonders where cast iron was utilized. Wrought iron is very commonly used to make items such as beams, trusses and girders.
Here are three overly-famous structures that utilized iron during their construction:
The Trump Tower is one of the lavish residences of billionaire, President-Elect Donald Trump; and his own Trump Tower rivals any residential, office or retail building in the world. Located in Midtown Manhattan within the concrete jungle of New York City, the Trump Tower boasts of 58 actual stories, though the top story is numbered ’68’ since it incorporates an expansive public atrium that is 10 stories high. This mammoth structure presented its grand opening on Valentine’s Day in 1983. The Trump Tower remains one of New York’s most-distinctive, most-visited attractions. Standing at 664 feet, the Trump Tower was designed to withstand severe winds and minor earthquakes.
The bottom 26 floors consist of luxury office space; and the commercial tenants receive continual world-class service. Residential condos take up 39 floors where one will find 270 very posh pads. It is, here, where mega-wealthy residents include private citizens as well as a multitude of celebrities who call Trump Tower their home. During the first 4 months after Trump Tower opened, 95% of the condos were sold, despite their costly price tags which ranged from $600,000 a piece to a mere $12 million! Mr. Trump, himself, lives in the primary penthouse condominium.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is an architectural masterpiece, and connects the thriving city of San Francisco to its neighbors on the other side of the mile-wide Golden Gate Strait. It might surprise you to know that early plans to construct a bridge at this location were initiated as early as 1919; but it wasn’t until 1933 that the construction journey began, with the bridge’s unveiling to the public in 1937.
Approval for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was not an easy task, however, since immense opposition emerged from the very beginning. A variety of reasons became entrenched in the battle to thwart the bridge’s construction – ideas such as the bridge impeding the shipping industry, marring the natural beauty of the landscape, and the bridge’s presumed inability to withstand a strong earthquake. Nonetheless, the naysayers were outnumbered; and January 5 of 1933 marked the excavation of 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt to make way for the bridge’s anchorages that would tower 12 stories high!
Once the towers were completed, the construction of the suspension cables began. It was, here, where engineers mastered a technique where individual steel wires could be banded together in spools and transported across the bridge’s length on spinning wheels. Due to this genius idea, the amount of time to construct the suspension cables was cut in half – a mere 6+ months! Interestingly, more than 25,000 individual wires were used for each 7,650-foot cable.
In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers named the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the seven civil engineering wonders in America.
Custom Gates at Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace of London is another architectural feat that represents the epitome of man’s ability to visualize, design and create. This fabulous palace occupies more than 830,000 square feet of living space; and all of the 775 rooms are exquisite in their own right. Outside the palace walls, one will find iconic structures that are exquisite, as well – the custom iron gates that dot the estate’s perimeter. Various fanciful gates embellish the palace’s various entrances; but it is the huge center gate that is especially noteworthy. The massive, 20-foot tall, wrought iron and bronze masterpieces are designed with arched tops, gold finials, heavy iron rods, and extremely-ornate artwork. Each half of the bi-fold gates are adorned with a 3-dimensional British National Seal, also known as the British Royal Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms are embraced by a bronze lion and a bronze unicorn, to the left and to the right of the crest, respectively.
All the iron gates on the royal property were completed by the Bromsgrove Guild in 1911. The guild, which survived until the early 1960’s, worked with metal and other mediums to create breathtaking works of art – the most-famous creation being the main gates of Buckingham Palace.
Before the wheel was ever invented – around 3500 BC – metal fabrication was absolutely thriving! Metal manipulation, for the sake of fabrication, is unarguably historic and very specialized. Metal manipulation utilized to create everything from utensils to gates to towering skyscrapers permeates every corner of the industrialized world; and without it, life as we know it would, most certainly, cease to exist.