Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Calder Mercury Fountain: Barcelona

Atlas Obscura:  Calder Mercury Fountain

I did not know Calder made a fountain flowing with mercury. I would like to go see this. 

Alexander's Calder's grandfather was the sculpture of Ben Franklin William Penn on the Philadelphia City Hall


  1. Beautiful.

    Nowadays in the US, public health officials would go batsh*t crazy over a mercury fountain. They close down buildings and evacuation if someone drops a mercury thermometer. The hysteria is really remarkable.

    There is, of course, an issue with mercury vapors. Liquid mercury does have a measurable vapor pressure (very, very tiny) at room temperature, and the vapor is absorbed by the lungs. Fortunately, the liquid does not penetrate the skin.

    Methylated mercury, something bacteria make, is one of the most toxic materials known.

    1. They did put the sculpture in Barcelona behind glass for safety reasons. The actual risk would be minimal in a well ventilated room, but okay.

  2. No, not Ben Franklin.

    William Penn. There used to be a newspaper column in one of the Philly papers, "Under Billy Penn's Hat" because no building was taller than Billy Penn's hat (at least until Willard Rouse conned that blithering idiot, Willie Wilson Goode, into letting him build the first of his white elephants in town).

    Quakers wore those cowboy hats.

    1. My bad. David Brenner used to do a bit about looking at that sculpture in profile when it is raining.


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