Friday, April 22, 2011

Alexander Holley

Meet me in Washington Square, right by the Holley bust. How many times have you said that? What, no times, never? How many times have you passed this and not noticed the bust? What, countless times? The writing on this memorial indicates he was a great engineer, but a quick google reveals he was an engineer smart enough to buy the rights to somebody else’s invention, the “Bessemer” process, which turns pig iron into steel. Imagine having the U.S. patent on steel since the American Civil War, you too could afford a memorial no one notices. A dude in dread locks selling some kind of art, the young women drinking water and enjoying the spring sun near the statue of the head and shoulders of some man dead for a century who got wealthy for being smart enough to patent somebody’s else’s great idea. The bust, its pedestal, the people here, all of it, all of them, would not be here if not for the benefits of molten ore. I guess a Bessemer bust would be out of place in NYC.

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