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Photo of the statue Vulcan
Vulcan, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904

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Vulcan, the World's Largest Cast Iron Statue
A Local Legacy

You might think a superhero is a man of steel but do you know a man of iron? Have you ever heard of Vulcan? Taller than a five-story building, he is a 56-foot cast iron statue of the Roman god of fire.

Vulcan was sculptured in 1904 for an exhibit at the St. Louis World's Fair. The Commercial Club of Birmingham, Alabama, commissioned the statue to symbolize the state's leadership in the production of iron. Not only is Vulcan the largest cast iron statue in the world, but it is also the second largest statue in America -- only the Statue of Liberty, made of copper and steel, is bigger.

Vulcan was exhibited at the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy at the World's Fair. At Vulcan's feet were exhibits of Alabama's raw materials and the products made from them. In his right hand he held a spear point, while his left hand gripped a hammer resting on an anvil. When the fair was over, Vulcan was taken apart and transported back to Birmingham, but when it was put back together the arms were installed incorrectly! And, after years of neglect, one of the thumbs rusted and fell off. Now, thanks to recent repairs, Vulcan once again stands proudly on Red Mountain.

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