History of the Statue Of Liberty Torch

Statue Of Liberty Torch: Overview & Best Way To See

The Statue of Liberty’s torch is among its most significant and symbolic elements of Statue Of Liberty. In 1985, a gleaming, gold-plated replica of the torch was installed in its place, and it now resides permanently at the new Statue of Liberty Museum. This post will explain why the torch is so important, as well as how to see both the original as well as current torch up close!

Statue Of Liberty Torch
Statue Of Liberty Torch


For the past 35 years, the Statue of Liberty has been without its original torch. A gold-plated replica that weighs 400 pounds more and is lit up at night by floodlights stands in its place.

An explosion in 1916 damaged the previous model, a 3,600-pound copper flame constructed in the late 19th century. The dented object remained in place for a while as various repairs were made. However, it was removed in 1984, traveled the world, and then was placed in a small museum inside the pedestal of the statue.

The Statue of Liberty Museum, which cost $100 million and opened to the public in May, is now showing the torch in its entirety. We were given a sneak preview of the enormous item, which needed to be disassembled and put back together before being moved to the new structure.

History of the Statue Of Liberty Torch

History of the Statue Of Liberty Torch

Challenge bring to Torch to life

In general, obtaining sufficient funding was the biggest obstacle in the construction of the Statue of Liberty. The right hand and torch were completed early to get Americans excited about their upcoming monument. It was transported to the US in 1876 so that it could be exhibited in Philadelphia and New York City.

The Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia featured this statue’s shard on display. It was in Madison Square Park in New York from 1876 to 1882. Visitors could ascend to the torch’s balcony.

While many people enjoyed the experience, many others in the city objected to its presence. Many residents were reminded of the city’s economic problems, which were taxing it heavily at the time. Others claimed that the creepy appearance was giving their children nightmares.

Undoubtedly not the ideal way to greet New Yorkers upon their arrival at the Statue of Liberty!

World War I damaged the torch

World War I damaged the torch

A series of events in 1916 resulted in the closure of the torch’s observation platform. On July 30, New York Harbor saw the “Black Tom” explosion. A group of German spies set out to destroy a variety of American military supplies intended for the Allies in World War I. The blast reached Liberty Island and caused minor damage to the statue’s exterior.

The statue stood tall for thirty years before an explosion during World War I damaged its torch.

The replacement of the torch’s flame

The replacement of the torch's flame

Lady Liberty held the original torch in her hand until 1984. It was replaced to make room for something newer and more efficient, as well as to better reflect the wishes of the statue’s designer. The torch’s flame was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to be a mass of solid copper covered in a thin layer of gold leaf. The balcony of the torch was supposed to be illuminated by a series of floodlights. This request, however, was denied due to the risk of blinding passing pilots.

Bartholdi made the decision to cut portholes in the flame and insert lights inside. Unfortunately, these light bulbs were not powerful enough, and the statue was not visible after dark.

A year after it opened, the Lighthouse Board took over operation of the statue. They claimed that sailors could see the statue from miles away and decided to use her as a lighthouse, promising to upgrade the equipment. This proved to be ineffective and costly. Finally, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to delegate authority to the War Department.

It was determined that the flame would be constructed of multiple panes of glass and housed inside a number of bright light bulbs that would shine out from within rather than using copper and gold leaf. The new design was created by the same sculptor who created Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum.

In the 1980s, it was decided to swap out the old torch for a genuine reproduction of Bartholdi’s original creation. The current torch, with a 24-karat gold-covered flame, was installed in 1986. The Statue of Liberty Museum has the original torch on display.

View the torch

View the torch 

Unbelievable as it may seem, visitors used to be able to climb all the way up to the statue’s torch. Only 12 people could climb at a time, exiting to the balcony through a small door beneath the flame. There was only enough room for a single ladder that was 40 feet long due to the arm’s extreme narrowness. Imagine attempting to visit the torch and being unable to use the stairs!

The right arm’s structure was deteriorating due to years of people climbing up and down in addition to the explosion’s damage. It was not designed to support that much weight, and many guests reported feeling it shake from within. It was decided that no more guests would be allowed to the top for safety reasons.

Only National Park Service employees are now permitted to enter. They are known as the “Keepers of the Flame.” They are in charge of keeping the floodlights on the balcony operational. Torch Cam allows you to see the view from the torch every day. Check it out to see what it’s like to go to the torch today.

The Torch’s Symbolism

Lady Liberty’s torch represents enlightenment. It illuminates the path to liberty and freedom. The official title of the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” which corresponds to the light from her torch.

One of the world’s ancient wonders influenced the image of a woman holding a torch. The Colossus of Rhodes, a large statue honoring the sun god Helios that was erected in the city of Rhodes, served as inspiration for Bartholdi’s work. Bartholdi wished for his statue to have the same peaceful appearance as this ancient work of art. The torch represented advancement to him as well.

Best way to take photo of the Torch

Best way to take photo of the Torch

If you want a close-up shot of the torch, you should take it from the ferry boat on your way to or from Liberty Island. It may appear more difficult because the boat is moving, but it is the most direct way to see the torch.

Because it is the statue’s tallest point, photographing it from below on Liberty Island is more difficult. You won’t get as many details because your angle will be much lower. If the boat is too difficult or crowded, stand as far back as possible from the statue.

For example, near the museum. This will provide you with the best possible angle and vantage point.

Also, make sure to use a zooming phone or camera lens. To see all of the detail from this distance, you’ll need to zoom in pretty close.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the torch symbolize?

The torch represents enlightenment. The torch of the Statue of Liberty illuminates the path to liberty, pointing us in the right direction.

Can you get in the torch of the Statue of Liberty?

Visitors can no longer enter the torch balcony but you can go all the way into Lady Liberty’s crown and look down on Upper New York Bay.

What happened to the Statue of Liberty torch?

The original torch was taken down in 1984 and is now housed in the Statue of Liberty Museum.


There is nothing more magical than first spotting the Statue of Liberty. That surge of emotion and pride is amplified when you see her original torch. It serves as a reminder of the statue’s development and the significance of the figure to New Yorkers. The torch’s brilliant flame will awe and inspire you whether you’re up close with the original or gazing up at the more recent replica. 

Have you ever visited the Statue Of Liberty Torch? What do you think of it? Please comment below to share with Artseensoho.

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