Rescued From The Abyss (1 in a semi-continuing series): Art Supplies and CDs!

Rescued From The Abyss (1 in a semi-continuing series): Art Supplies and CDs!
heavy metal movie
Image by raider3_anime
These were stashed in a few boxes up on a shelf in a closet in the house, and some were in a box by my bed. I’ve got here, resting on a Size XL FanimeCon 2008 T-shirt (I’ll fit into it by the end of this year, or beginning it next!)….

* ADV’s domestic relaease of the Spriggan movie soundtrack. (Yu Ominiae — Because we can’t all be like Arnold Schwarzenegger….)

* Konami’s import release of Dance Dance Revolution 2nd Mix soundtrack
Favorite tracks off of that disc set:
** Have You Never Been Mellow [The Olivia Project]
** Kung Fu Fighting [Bus Stop featuring Carl Douglas]
** That’s The Way I Like It [KC and the Sunshine Band]
** Butterfly []
** My Fire [X-Treme] (Seems to be an interesting remix of Dan Hartman’s "Relight My Fire")
** Little Bitch [The Specials] (I have the full length track in my music collection, and, ironically, I’ve performed it at karaoke)
** Boom Boom Dollar (Red Monster Mix) [King Kong & D. Jungle Girls]
** Smoke [Mr. Ed Jumps The Gun]
** Boys [] (Don’t give me grief about liking this song – Don’t judge me. ^_^;)
** Stomp To My Beat [JS-16] (Got the full track of this as well. ^_^;)
** Dub-I-Dub [Me & My] (Believe it or not, I sang this song at karaoke…. Yeah, I should be ashamed, but I can hit that vocal range.)
(For the record, I’m a disaster on two feet when it comes to DDR – I can only do a handful of songs from 2nd mix, and even then on 2-feet difficulty. I’m still a bit too heavy for DDRing… I need to get a decent metal pad like my friend Dominic/DJ Sandman, and every release of DDR for the PlayStation 2)

JVC’s domestic release of the You’re Under Arrest (Taiho Shichau Zo!) OAV soundtrack.

And my initial collection of art supplies, including an assortment of Copic markers, a few other random markers, metallic pencils, a Tachikawa brush pen with a couple refills, and one Tone Hera (spatula for transferring comic tones to comic paper), a pen holder and assorted nibs (including maru nibs, spoon pen nibs and G pen nibs), a few erasers, including a kneadable eraser and a refill for a Pentel Clic eraser, and a full set of Copic MultiLiner markers. ^_^;

I also found a mostly blank sketchbook, but I’m looking for the one that’s got my writings and the semi-decent sketches in it.

I’m getting closer to returning to my roots, I guess. ^_^;

I’ve freed up three cardboard storage boxes!

I also know where most of my "How To Draw Manga" books are, as well as my Hogarth’s "Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery" book. Still need to find Hogarth’s "Dynamic Anatomy" and Jack Hamm’s "Drawing The Head and Figure" reference books.

(Update 2009.11.1: Found my Jack Hamm and Hogarth books. Life is fine. ^_^; )

I also found 6 volumes of Kimagure Orange Road manga, and… J. O’Barr’s ‘The Crow" collected volumes (4th printing, but hey… I found it!!)

More buried treasure excavations Wednesday night and most of Thursday.
Off I go, however, to brush, floss, and sleep. (And possibly shave with Occam’s Razor , saw the legs off the Periodic Table, and other quixotic endeavors…)

Westminster and Big Ben in Gold

Westminster and Big Ben in Gold
heavy metal movie
Image by k.kazantzoglou Greek and Proud of it!

Μπιγκ Μπεν είναι το ψευδώνυμο για τη μεγάλη καμπάνα και το ρολόι στο βόρειο άκρο του ανακτόρων του Ουεστμίνστερ στο Λονδίνο, και έχει χρησιμοποιηθεί ευρύτερα ώστε να παραπέμπει γενικά στο ρολόι ή τον πύργο του ρολογιού. Είναι το μεγαλύτερο τεσσάρων όψεων chiming ρολόι και ο πύργος του ρολογιού είναι ο τρίτος ψηλότερος στον κόσμο. Γιόρτασε τα 150 χρόνια του στις 31 Μαΐου 2009, κατά την οποία εορταστικές εκδηλώσεις έλαβαν χώρα. Η ανέγερση του πύργου ολοκληρώθηκε τις 10 Απριλίου 1858. Ο πύργος του ρολογιού έχει γίνει ένα από τα πιο γνωστά σύμβολα τόσο του Λονδίνου όσο και της Αγγλίας, συχνά στην "establishing shot" των ταινιών που γυρίζονται στην πόλη.
Ο Πύργος του Ρολογιού [Επεξεργασία]

Ο Πύργος του Ρολογιού

O τωρινός Πύργος του Ρολογιού αναγέρθηκε ως μέρος του σχεδιασμού του Charles Barry για ένα νέο ανάκτορο, μετά από την καταστροφή του παλιού παλατιού του Westminster από πυρκαγιά το βράδυ της 16ης Οκτωβρίου 1834. Το νέο Κοινοβούλιο χτίστηκε σε νεογοτθικό στιλ. Αν και ο Barry ήταν ο κύριος αρχιτέκτονας του ανακτόρου, στράφηκε στον Αύγουστο Pugin για το σχεδιασμό του Πύργου του Ρολογιού, το οποίο μοιάζει σε νωρίτερα σχέδια του Pugin , συμπεριλαμβανομένου ενός για το Scarisbrick Hall. Ο σχεδιασμός για τον Πύργο του Ρολογιού ήταν το τελευταίο σχέδιο του Pugin πριν από την τελική κάθοδό του στην τρέλα και τον θάνατο, και ο ίδιος ο Pugin έγραψε, κατά το χρόνο της τελευταίας επίσκεψης του Barry για να εισπράξει τα σχέδια: «Εγώ ποτέ δεν δούλεψα τόσο σκληρά στη ζωή μου για τον κ. Barry για αύριο πρόσφερα όλα τα σχέδια για το τελείωμα του καμπαναριού του και αυτό είναι όμορφο ». Ο πύργος είναι σχεδιασμένος στο αγαπημένο γοτθικό σχέδιο του Pugin, και είναι 96,3 μέτρα (316 πόδια) υψηλό (περίπου 16 όροφοι).

Το κάτω μέρος 61 μέτρα (200 πόδια) της δομής του Πύργος του Ρολογιού αποτελείται από πλινθοδομή με άμμο χρωματισμένα με Anston επένδυση ασβεστόλιθο. Το υπόλοιπο του ύψους του πύργου είναι πλαισιωμένο κωδωνοστάσιο από χυτοσίδηρο. Ο πύργος είναι θεμελιωμένος σε πέδιλο μήκους 15 μέτρων (49 ​​πόδια), από 3 μ. (9,8 ft) πάχους μπετόν, σε βάθος 4 μέτρα (13 πόδια) κάτω από το επίπεδο του εδάφους. Οι τέσσερις πίνακες του ρολογιού βρίσκεται 55 μέτρα (180 πόδια) πάνω από το έδαφος. Ο εσωτερικός όγκος του πύργου είναι 4.650 κυβικά μέτρα (164.200 κυβικά πόδια).

Παρά το γεγονός ότι ένα από τα πιο διάσημα τουριστικά αξιοθέατα του κόσμου, το εσωτερικό του πύργου δεν είναι ανοιχτό σε επισκέπτες από το εξωτερικό, αν και εδρεύει στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο είναι σε θέση να οργανώσει εκδρομές (και εκ των προτέρων) μέσω των μελών τους από το Κοινοβούλιο. Ωστόσο, ο πύργος δεν διαθέτει ανελκυστήρα, έτσι ώστε αυτές με συνοδεία πρέπει να ανεβείτε τα 334 σκαλοπάτια από ασβεστόλιθο στην κορυφή.

Λόγω των αλλαγών στις συνθήκες του εδάφους από την κατασκευή (κυρίως σήραγγας για την επέκταση γραμμής Jubilee), ο πύργος κλίνει ελαφρώς προς τα βορειοδυτικά, κατά περίπου 220 χιλιοστά (8,66 in) στο καντράν ρολογιού, δίνοντας μια κλίση περίπου 1 / 250.


Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London,[1] and is generally extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well.[2] The clock tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower.[3] It celebrated its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009,[4] during which celebratory events took place.[5][6] The tower was completed on 10 April 1858 and has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

The Palace of Westminster, the Clock Tower and Westminster Bridge

The present Clock Tower — metonymously referred to as Big Ben, and historically confused with St Stephen’s Tower — was raised as a part of Charles Barry’s design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was largely destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October 1834.[7][8] The new Parliament was built in a Neo-gothic style. Although Barry was the chief architect of the Palace, he turned to Augustus Pugin for the design of the Clock Tower, which resembles earlier Pugin designs, including one for Scarisbrick Hall. The design for the Clock Tower was Pugin’s last design before his final descent into madness and death, and Pugin himself wrote, at the time of Barry’s last visit to him to collect the drawings: "I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower & it is beautiful."[9] The tower is designed in Pugin’s celebrated Gothic Revival style, and is 96.3 metres (316 ft) high (roughly 16 stories).[10]

The bottom 61 metres (200 ft) of the Clock Tower’s structure consists of brickwork with sand coloured Anston limestone cladding. The remainder of the tower’s height is a framed spire of cast iron. The tower is founded on a 15-metre (49 ft) square raft, made of 3-metre (9.8 ft) thick concrete, at a depth of 4 metres (13 ft) below ground level. The four clock dials are 55 metres (180 ft) above ground. The interior volume of the tower is 4,650 cubic metres (164,200 cubic feet).

Despite being one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, the interior of the tower is not open to overseas visitors, though United Kingdom residents are able to arrange tours (well in advance) through their Member of Parliament.[11] However, the tower has no lift, so those escorted must climb the 334 limestone stairs to the top.[10]

Because of changes in ground conditions since construction (notably tunnelling for the Jubilee Line extension), the tower leans slightly to the north-west, by roughly 220 millimetres (8.66 in) at the clock dials, giving an inclination of approximately 1/250.[12][13] Due to thermal effects it oscillates annually by a few millimetres east and west.

The Clock Tower was once the largest four-faced clock in the world.

The dial of the Great Clock of Westminster. The hour hand is 2.7 metres (9 ft) long and the minute hand is 4.3 metres (14 ft) long

The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. The clock dials are set in an iron frame 7 metres (23 ft) in diameter, supporting 312 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained-glass window. Some of the glass pieces may be removed for inspection of the hands. The surround of the dials is gilded. At the base of each clock dial in gilt letters is the Latin inscription:“DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM”

Which means O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.


The Clock Tower at dusk, with The London Eye in the background

The clock’s movement is famous for its reliability. The designers were the lawyer and amateur horologist Edmund Beckett Denison, and George Airy, the Astronomer Royal. Construction was entrusted to clockmaker Edward John Dent; after his death in 1853 his stepson Frederick Dent completed the work, in 1854.[14] As the Tower was not complete until 1859, Denison had time to experiment: Instead of using the deadbeat escapement and remontoire as originally designed, Denison invented the double three-legged gravity escapement. This escapement provides the best separation between pendulum and clock mechanism. The pendulum is installed within an enclosed windproof box sunk beneath the clockroom. It is 3.9m long, weighs 300 kg and beats every 2 seconds. The clockwork mechanism in a room below weighs 5 tons. On top of the pendulum is a small stack of old penny coins; these are to adjust the time of the clock. Adding a coin has the effect of minutely lifting the position of the pendulum’s centre of mass, reducing the effective length of the pendulum rod and hence increasing the rate at which the pendulum swings. Adding or removing a penny will change the clock’s speed by 0.4 seconds per day.[6]

On 10 May 1941, a German bombing raid damaged two of the clock’s dials and sections of the tower’s stepped roof and destroyed the House of Commons chamber. Architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed a new five-floor block. Two floors are occupied by the current chamber which was used for the first time on 26 October 1950. Despite the heavy bombing the clock ran accurately and chimed throughout the Blitz.

The Big Ben clock tower has been tilting as a result of the excavation of tunnels near Westminster.[15] The tower has tilted an additional 0.9 mm each year since 2003,[16] and the tilt can now be seen by the naked eye.[17]
Malfunctions, breakdowns, and other outages

The south clock face being cleaned on 11 August 2007
1916: for two years during World War I, the bells were silenced and the clock face darkened at night to prevent attack by German Zeppelins.[10]
1 Sept. 1939: although the bells continued to ring, the clock faces were darkened at night through World War II to prevent guiding Blitz pilots.[10]
New Year’s Eve 1962: The clock slowed due to heavy snow and ice on the long hands, causing the pendulum to detach from the clockwork, as it is designed to do in such circumstances, to avoid serious damage elsewhere in the mechanism—the pendulum continuing to swing freely. Thus it chimed in the new year 10 minutes late.[18]
5 August 1976: First and only major breakdown. The air brake speed regulator of the chiming mechanism broke after more than 100 years of torsional fatigue causing the fully wound 4 ton weight to spin the winding drum out of the movement, causing a large amount of damage. The Great Clock was shut down for a total of 26 days over nine months – it was reactivated on 9 May 1977; this was its longest break in operation since it was built. During this time BBC Radio 4 had to make do with the pips.[19] Although there were minor stoppages from 1977 to 2002 when the maintenance of the clock was carried out by the old firm of clockmakers Thwaites & Reed, these were often repaired within the permitted two hour downtime and not recorded as stoppages. Prior to 1970 the maintenance was carried out by the original firm of Dents and since 2002 by Parliamentary staff.
27 May 2005: the clock stopped at 10:07 pm local time, possibly due to hot weather; temperatures in London had reached an unseasonable 31.8 °C (90 °F). It restarted, but stopped again at 10:20 pm local time and remained still for about 90 minutes before restarting.[20]
29 October 2005: the mechanism was stopped for about 33 hours so the clock and its chimes could be worked on. It was the lengthiest maintenance shutdown in 22 years.[21]
7:00 am 5 June 2006: The clock tower’s "Quarter Bells" were taken out of commission for four weeks[22] as a bearing holding one of the quarter bells was damaged from years of wear and needed to be removed for repairs. During this period, BBC Radio 4 broadcast recordings of British bird song followed by the pips in place of the usual chimes.[23]
11 August 2007: Start of 6-week stoppage for maintenance. Bearings in the clock’s going train and the "great bell" striker were replaced, for the first time since installation.[24] During the maintenance works, the clock was not driven by the original mechanism, but by an electric motor.[25] Once again, BBC Radio 4 had to make do with the pips during this time.
Great Bell

The second ‘Big Ben’ (centre) and the Quarter Bells from The Illustrated News of the World 4 December 1858

A modern picture of ‘Big Ben’

The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. The bell is better known by the nickname Big Ben.[26]

The original bell was a 16.3-tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by John Warner & Sons.[1] The bell was named in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall, and his name is inscribed on it.[27] However, another theory for the origin of the name is that the bell may have been named after a contemporary heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt.[28] It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Victoria or Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria,[29] but that an MP suggested the nickname during a Parliamentary debate; the comment is not recorded in Hansard.

Since the tower was not yet finished, the bell was mounted in New Palace Yard. Cast in 1856, the first bell was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested and a replacement had to be made. The bell was recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.76-tonne (13½ ton) bell.[30][1] This was pulled 200 ft (61 m) up to the Clock Tower’s belfry, a feat that took 18 hours. It is 2.2 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide. This new bell first chimed in July 1859. In September it too cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service. According to the foundry’s manager, George Mears, Denison had used a hammer more than twice the maximum weight specified.[1] For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was reinstalled. To make the repair, a square piece of metal was chipped out from the rim around the crack, and the bell given an eighth of a turn so the new hammer struck in a different place.[1] Big Ben has chimed with an odd twang ever since and is still in use today complete with the crack. At the time of its casting, Big Ben was the largest bell in the British Isles until "Great Paul", a 17 tonne (16¾ ton) bell currently hung in St Paul’s Cathedral, was cast in 1881.[31]

A recording from the BBC World Service radio station of the Westminster Chimes and the twelve strikes of Big Ben, as broadcast at midnight.

Along with the Great Bell, the belfry houses four quarter bells which play the Westminster Quarters on the quarter hours. The four quarter bells are G♯, F♯, E, and B. They were cast by John Warner & Sons at their Crescent Foundry in 1857 (G♯, F♯ and B) and 1858 (E). The Foundry was in Jewin Crescent, in what is now known as The Barbican, in the City of London.

The Quarter Bells play a 20-chime sequence, 1–4 at quarter past, 5–12 at half past, 13–20 and 1–4 at quarter to, and 5–20 on the hour (which sounds 25 seconds before the main bell tolls the hour). Because the low bell (B) is struck twice in quick succession, there is not enough time to pull a hammer back, and it is supplied with two wrench hammers on opposite sides of the bell. The tune is that of the Cambridge Chimes, first used for the chimes of Great St Mary’s church, Cambridge, and supposedly a variation, attributed to William Crotch, on a phrase from Handel’s Messiah. The notional words of the chime, again derived from Great St Mary’s and in turn an allusion to Psalm 37:23–24, are: "All through this hour/Lord be my guide/And by Thy power/No foot shall slide". They are written on a plaque on the wall of the clock room.[32][33]

One of the requirements for the clock was that the first stroke of the hour bell should register the time, correct to within one second per day.[34] So, at twelve o’clock, for example, it is the first of the twelve chimes that signifies the hour.

Double-decker buses frame a busy Whitehall with Big Ben in the background.

The origin of the nickname Big Ben is the subject of some debate. The nickname was applied first to the Great Bell; it may have been named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the installation of the Great Bell, or after boxing’s English Heavyweight Champion Benjamin Caunt.[1][26][35][36] Now Big Ben is often used, by extension, to refer to the clock, the tower and the bell collectively, although the nickname is not universally accepted as referring to the clock and tower.[2][37][38][39] Some authors of works about the tower, clock and bell sidestep the issue by using the words Big Ben first in the title, then going on to clarify that the subject of the book is the clock and tower as well as the bell.[40][41]
Significance in popular culture

The clock has become a symbol of the United Kingdom and London, particularly in the visual media. When a television or film-maker wishes to indicate a generic location in Britain, a popular way to do so is to show an image of the Clock Tower, often with a red double-decker bus or black cab in the foreground.[42] The sound of the clock chiming has also been used this way in audio media, but as the Westminster Quarters are heard from other clocks and other devices, the unique nature of this sound has been considerably diluted.

The Clock Tower is a focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and TV stations tuning to its chimes to welcome the start of the year. As well, to welcome in 2012, the clock tower itself was lit with fireworks that exploded at every toll of Big Ben. Similarly, on Remembrance Day, the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and the start of two minutes’ silence.

Superior part of the clock tower.

ITN’s News at Ten opening sequence features an image of the Clock Tower with the sound of Big Ben’s chimes punctuating the announcement of the news headlines, and has done so on and off for the last 41 years. The Big Ben chimes (known within ITN as "The Bongs") continue to be used during the headlines and all ITV News bulletins use a graphic based on the Westminster clock dial. Big Ben can also be heard striking the hour before some news bulletins on BBC Radio 4 (6 pm and midnight, plus 10 pm on Sundays) and the BBC World Service, a practice that began on 31 December 1923. The sound of the chimes are sent in real time from a microphone permanently installed in the tower and connected by line to Broadcasting House.

Londoners who live an appropriate distance from the Clock Tower and Big Ben can, by means of listening to the chimes both live and on the radio or television, hear the bell strike thirteen times on New Year’s Eve. This is possible due to what amounts to an offset between live and electronically transmitted chimes since the speed of sound is a lot slower than the speed of radio waves. Guests are invited to count the chimes aloud as the radio is gradually turned down.

The Clock Tower has appeared in many films, most notably in the 1978 version of The Thirty Nine Steps, in which the hero Richard Hannay attempted to halt the clock’s progress (to prevent a linked bomb detonating) by hanging from the minute hand of its western dial. In the fourth James Bond film Thunderball a mistaken extra strike of Big Ben on the hour is designated by criminal organisation SPECTRE to be the signal that the British Government has acceded to its nuclear extortion demands. The gag phrase "Big Ben! Parliament!" is repeated for comic effect by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s European Vacation as the depicted family remains stuck on the Lambeth Bridge Roundabout. It was also used in the filming of Shanghai Knights starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson, and was depicted as being partially destroyed in the Doctor Who episode "Aliens of London". An animated version of the clock and its inner workings were also used as the setting for the climactic final battle between Basil of Baker Street and his nemesis Ratigan in the Walt Disney animated film The Great Mouse Detective as well as Peter Pan where Peter lands on the clock before they head to Neverland. It is shown being destroyed by a UFO in the film Mars Attacks!, by a prehistoric creature in Gorgo, and by a lightning bolt in the film The Avengers. It is destroyed on purpose and quite graphically in the movie V for Vendetta and is flooded in the film Flood. In Reign of Fire, it is destroyed by dragons. The apparent "thirteen chimes" detailed above was also a major plot device in the Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode, "Big Ben Strikes Again".

During the 2010 General Election the results of the national exit poll were projected onto the south side of the Clock Tower.

A survey of 2,000 people found that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom.

Big Ben was polled as the Most Iconic London Film Location.

Source: Wikipedia EL: & EN:


heavy metal movie
Image by k.kazantzoglou Greek and Proud of it!
Tower Bridge (built 1886-1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London.

The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge’s present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for the Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee. Originally it was painted a chocolate brown colour.[2]

Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge,[3] which is the next bridge upstream.

The nearest London Underground station is Tower Hill on the Circle and District lines, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway.[4]

[edit] Background
Elevation, with dimensions

In the second half of the 19th century, increased commercial development in the East End of London led to a requirement for a new river crossing downstream of London Bridge. A traditional fixed bridge could not be built because it would cut off access by tall-masted ships to the port facilities in the Pool of London, between London Bridge and the Tower of London.

A Special Bridge or Subway Committee was formed in 1876, chaired by Sir Albert Joseph Altman, to find a solution to the river crossing problem. It opened the design of the crossing to public competition. Over 50 designs were submitted, including one from civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. The evaluation of the designs was surrounded by controversy, and it was not until 1884 that a design submitted by Sir Horace Jones, the City Architect (who was also one of the judges),[5] was approved.

Jones’ engineer, Sir John Wolfe Barry, devised the idea of a bascule bridge with two towers built on piers. The central span was split into two equal bascules or leaves, which could be raised to allow river traffic to pass. The two side-spans were suspension bridges, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge’s upper walkways.
[edit] Construction
Tower Bridge under construction, 1892

Construction started in 1886 and took eight years with five major contractors – Sir John Jackson (foundations), Baron Armstrong (hydraulics), William Webster, Sir H.H. Bartlett, and Sir William Arrol & Co.[6] – and employed 432 construction workers. E W Crutwell was the resident engineer for the construction.[7]

Two massive piers, containing over 70,000 tons of concrete,[5] were sunk into the riverbed to support the construction. Over 11,000 tons of steel provided the framework for the towers and walkways.[5] This was then clad in Cornish granite and Portland stone, both to protect the underlying steelwork and to give the bridge a pleasing appearance.

Jones died in 1887 and George D. Stevenson took over the project.[5] Stevenson replaced Jones’s original brick façade with the more ornate Victorian Gothic style, which makes the bridge a distinctive landmark, and was intended to harmonise the bridge with the nearby Tower of London.[7] The total cost of construction was £1,184,000[7] (£100 million as of 2012).[8]
[edit] Opening

The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), and his wife, The Princess of Wales (Alexandra of Denmark).[9]

The bridge connected Iron Gate, on the north bank of the river, with Horselydown Lane, on the south – now known as Tower Bridge Approach and Tower Bridge Road, respectively.[7] Until the bridge was opened, the Tower Subway – 400 m to the west – was the shortest way to cross the river from Tower Hill to Tooley Street in Southwark. Opened in 1870, Tower Subway was the world’s first underground (‘tube’) railway, but closed after just three months and was re-opened as a pedestrian foot tunnel. Once Tower Bridge was open, the majority of foot traffic transferred to using the bridge, there being no toll to pay to use it. Having lost most of its income, the tunnel was closed in 1898.[10]

Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges now owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the Trust’s bridges not to connect the City of London to the Southwark bank, the northern landfall being in Tower Hamlets.
[edit] Design
Tower Bridge viewed from the top of London City Hall.
Oblique view of north tower from Tower Bridge Road.

The bridge is 800 feet (244 m) in length with two towers each 213 feet (65 m) high, built on piers. The central span of 200 feet (61 m) between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 83 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimise the force required and allow raising in five minutes.

The two side-spans are suspension bridges, each 270 feet (82 m) long, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge’s upper walkways. The pedestrian walkways are 143 feet (44 m) above the river at high tide.[7]
[edit] Hydraulic system
One of the original steam engines: a 360 hp horizontal twin-tandem compound engine, fitted with Meyer expansion slide valves

The original raising mechanism was powered by pressurised water stored in several hydraulic accumulators.[11] The system was designed and installed by the self-effacing Hamilton Owen Rendel (born 1843)[12] while working for Sir W. G. Armstrong Mitchell & Company of Newcastle upon Tyne. Water, at a pressure of 750 psi, was pumped into the accumulators by two 360 hp stationary steam engines, each driving a force pump from its piston tail rod. The accumulators each comprise a 20-inch ram on which sits a very heavy weight to maintain the desired pressure.

In 1974, the original operating mechanism was largely replaced by a new electro-hydraulic drive system, designed by BHA Cromwell House. The only components of the original system still in use are the final pinions, which engage with the racks fitted to the bascules. These are driven by modern hydraulic motors and gearing, using oil rather than water as the hydraulic fluid.[13] Some of the original hydraulic machinery has been retained, although it is no longer in use. It is open to the public and forms the basis for the bridge’s museum, which resides in the old engine rooms on the south side of the bridge. The museum includes the steam engines, two of the accumulators and one of the hydraulic engines that moved the bascules, along with other related artefacts.
[edit] Third steam engine
The third engine in working order,
at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum

During World War II, as a precaution against the existing engines being damaged by enemy action, a third engine was installed in 1942:[14] a 150 hp horizontal cross-compound engine, built by Vickers Armstrong Ltd. at their Elswick works in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was fitted with a flywheel having a 9-foot (2.7 m) diameter and weighing 9 tons, and was governed to a speed of 30 rpm.[14] The engine became redundant when the rest of the system was modernised in 1974, and was donated to the Forncett Industrial Steam Museum by the Corporation of the City of London.[14]
[edit] Navigation control

To control the passage of river traffic through the bridge, a number of different rules and signals were employed. Daytime control was provided by red semaphore signals, mounted on small control cabins on either end of both bridge piers. At night, coloured lights were used, in either direction, on both piers: two red lights to show that the bridge was closed, and two green to show that it was open. In foggy weather, a gong was sounded as well.[7]

Vessels passing through the bridge had to display signals too: by day, a black ball at least 2 feet (0.61 m) in diameter was to be mounted high up where it could be seen; by night, two red lights in the same position. Foggy weather required repeated blasts from the ship’s steam whistle.[7]

If a black ball was suspended from the middle of each walkway (or a red light at night) this indicated that the bridge could not be opened. These signals were repeated about 1,000 yards (910 m) downstream, at Cherry Garden Pier, where boats needing to pass through the bridge had to hoist their signals/lights and sound their horn, as appropriate, to alert the Bridge Master.[7]

Some of the control mechanism for the signalling equipment has been preserved and may be seen working in the bridge’s museum.
[edit] Reaction

Although the bridge is an undoubted landmark, professional commentators in the early 20th century were critical of its aesthetics. "It represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure", wrote H. H. Statham,[15] while Frank Brangwyn stated that "A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river".[16]

Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank selected the bridge as one of his four choices for the 2002 BBC television documentary series Britain’s Best Buildings.[17]
[edit] Mistaken identity

Tower Bridge is sometimes mistaken for London Bridge,[3] the next bridge upstream. A popular urban legend is that in 1968, Robert McCulloch, the purchaser of the old London Bridge that was later shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, believed that he was in fact buying Tower Bridge. This was denied by McCulloch himself and has been debunked by Ivan Luckin, the vendor of the bridge.[18]
[edit] Traffic
Bridge open to admit a boat with a tall mast
Interior of high-level walkway (used as an exhibition space)


Tower Bridge is still a busy and vital crossing of the Thames: it is crossed by over 40,000 people (motorists, cyclists and pedestrians) every day.[19] The bridge is on the London Inner Ring Road, and is on the eastern boundary of the London congestion charge zone. (Drivers do not incur a charge by crossing the bridge.)

In order to maintain the integrity of the historic structure, the City of London Corporation have imposed a 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) speed restriction, and an 18 tonne weight limit on vehicles using the bridge. A sophisticated camera system measures the speed of traffic crossing the bridge, utilising a number plate recognition system to send fixed penalty charges to speeding drivers.[20]

A second system monitors other vehicle parameters. Induction e.loops and piezoelectric detectors are used to measure the weight, the height of the chassis above ground level, and the number of axles for each vehicle.[20]


The bascules are raised around 1000 times a year.[21] River traffic is now much reduced, but it still takes priority over road traffic. Today, 24 hours’ notice is required before opening the bridge. There is no charge for vessels.

A computer system was installed in 2000 to control the raising and lowering of the bascules remotely. It proved unreliable, resulting in the bridge being stuck in the open or closed positions on several occasions during 2005 until its sensors were replaced.[19]
[edit] Tower Bridge Exhibition and the tower walkways

The high-level open air walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets; they were seldom used by regular pedestrians, as they were only accessible by flights of stairs and were closed in 1910. In 1982 they were reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, an exhibition now housed in the bridge’s twin towers, the high-level walkways and the Victorian engine rooms. The exhibition charges an admissions fee. The walkways, which are now enclosed, boast stunning views of the River Thames and many famous London sites, serving as viewing galleries for over 380,000 tourists[citation needed] who visit each year. The exhibition also uses films, photos and interactive displays to explain why and how Tower Bridge was built. Visitors can access the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.
[edit] 2008–2012 facelift

In April 2008 it was announced that the bridge would undergo a ‘facelift’ costing £4 million, and taking four years to complete. The work entailed stripping off the existing paint down to bare metal and repainting in blue and white. Each section was enshrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting to prevent the old paint from falling into the Thames and causing pollution. Starting in mid-2008, contractors worked on a quarter of the bridge at a time to minimise disruption, but some road closures were inevitable. It is intended that the completed work will stand for 25 years.[22]

The renovation of the walkway interior was completed in mid 2009. Within the walkways a versatile new lighting system has been installed, designed by Eleni Shiarlis, for when the walkways are in use for exhibitions or functions. The new system provides for both feature and atmospheric lighting, the latter using bespoke RGB LED luminares, designed to be concealed within the bridge superstructure and fixed without the need for drilling (these requirements as a result of the bridge’s Grade I status).[23]

The renovation of the four suspension chains was completed in March 2010 using a state-of-the-art coating system requiring up to six different layers of ‘paint’.[24]
[edit] Incidents
A Short Sunderland of No. 201 Squadron RAF moored at Tower Bridge during the 1956 commemoration of the Battle of Britain

In December 1952, the bridge opened while a number 78 double-decker bus (stock number RT 793, registration plate JXC 156) was crossing from the south bank. At that time, the gateman would ring a warning bell and close the gates when the bridge was clear before the watchman ordered the lift. The process failed while a relief watchman was on duty. The bus was near the edge of the south bascule when it started to rise; driver Albert Gunter (possibly Gunton) made a split-second decision to accelerate, clearing a 3 ft gap to drop 6 ft onto the north bascule, which had not yet started to rise. There were no serious injuries.[25][26]

The Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident occurred on 5 April 1968 when a Royal Air Force Hawker Hunter FGA.9 jet fighter from No. 1 Squadron, flown by Flt Lt Alan Pollock, flew through Tower Bridge. Unimpressed that senior staff were not going to celebrate the RAF’s 50th birthday with a fly-past, Pollock decided to do something himself. Without authorisation, Pollock flew the Hunter at low altitude down the Thames, past the Houses of Parliament, and continued on toward Tower Bridge. He flew the Hunter beneath the bridge’s walkway, remarking afterwards that it was an afterthought when he saw the bridge looming ahead of him. Pollock was placed under arrest upon landing, and discharged from the RAF on medical grounds without the chance to defend himself at a court martial.[27][28]

In summer 1973 a single-engined Beagle Pup was twice flown under the pedestrian walkway of Tower Bridge by 29-year-old stockbroker’s clerk Paul Martin. Martin was on bail following accusations of stockmarket fraud. He then ‘buzzed’ buildings in The City, before flying north towards the Lake District where he died when his aircraft crashed some two hours later.[29]

In May 1997,[30] the motorcade of United States President Bill Clinton was divided by the opening of the bridge. The Thames sailing barge Gladys, on her way to a gathering at St Katharine Docks, arrived on schedule and the bridge was duly opened for her. Returning from a Thames-side lunch at Le Pont de la Tour restaurant, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Clinton was less punctual, and arrived just as the bridge was rising. The bridge opening split the motorcade in two, much to the consternation of security staff. A spokesman for Tower Bridge is quoted as saying, "We tried to contact the American Embassy, but they wouldn’t answer the phone."[31]

On 19 August 1999, Jef Smith, a Freeman of the City of London, drove a "herd" of two sheep across the bridge. He was exercising a claimed ancient permission, granted as a right to Freemen, to make a point about the powers of older citizens and the way in which their rights were being eroded.[32]

Before dawn on 31 October 2003, David Crick, a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner, climbed a 100 ft (30 m) tower crane near Tower Bridge at the start of a six-day protest dressed as Spider-Man.[33] Fearing for his safety, and that of motorists should he fall, police cordoned off the area, closing the bridge and surrounding roads and causing widespread traffic congestion across the City and east London. At the time, the building contractor Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd. was in the midst of constructing a new office tower known as ‘K2’. The Metropolitan Police were later criticised for maintaining the closure for five days when this was not strictly necessary in the eyes of some citizens.[34][35]

On 11 May 2009, six people were trapped and injured after a lift fell 10 ft (3 m) inside the north tower.[36][37]
[edit] Popular culture
Tower Bridge model, Legoland Windsor
External videos
Lego retail model kit of Tower Bridge: the designer describes the near-scale model (over 1m long with 4287 pieces).[38]

Tower Bridge is featured – still under construction, using CGI – in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes. One of the final scenes is played out on the bridge in the movie’s climax. The bridge is also the centre of a large action sequence in the film The Mummy Returns. Despite the bridge having been opened in 1894, it also appears in the 2010 film The Wolfman (which was set in 1891).[citation needed] Also, the bridge under construction appears in many episodes of anime Black Butler and it is featured as a place for final battle between angel Ash and a demon Sebastian.

The bridge is also featured as the home of Air Commodore Colonel William Raymond, played by Peter Cushing, in the film Biggles Adventures in Time (1986).

In the 1975 film Brannigan, John Wayne drives a car over the partially opened bridge during a car chase scene. The Spice Girls perform a similar stunt, with a bus, in the 1997 film Spiceworld. The video game, Midtown Madness 2 allows the player to perform the stunt themselves. In the 2004 film Thunderbirds, when The Hood flies the captured Thunderbird 2 to London, he navigates the craft between the bridge’s towers, the bridge operators having lifted the bascules just in time.


Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Air France Concorde

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Air France Concorde
heavy metal movie
Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Concorde, Fox Alpha, Air France:

The first supersonic airliner to enter service, the Concorde flew thousands of passengers across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound for over 25 years. Designed and built by Aérospatiale of France and the British Aviation Corporation, the graceful Concorde was a stunning technological achievement that could not overcome serious economic problems.

In 1976 Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Carrying up to 100 passengers in great comfort, the Concorde catered to first class passengers for whom speed was critical. It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than four hours – half the time of a conventional jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in very high fares that limited the number of passengers who could afford to fly it. These problems and a shrinking market eventually forced the reduction of service until all Concordes were retired in 2003.

In 1989, Air France signed a letter of agreement to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum upon the aircraft’s retirement. On June 12, 2003, Air France honored that agreement, donating Concorde F-BVFA to the Museum upon the completion of its last flight. This aircraft was the first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.

Gift of Air France.

Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale
British Aircraft Corporation

Wingspan: 25.56 m (83 ft 10 in)
Length: 61.66 m (202 ft 3 in)
Height: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Weight, empty: 79,265 kg (174,750 lb)
Weight, gross: 181,435 kg (400,000 lb)
Top speed: 2,179 km/h (1350 mph)
Engine: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 602, 17,259 kg (38,050 lb) thrust each
Manufacturer: Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale, Paris, France, and British Aircraft Corporation, London, United Kingdom

Physical Description:
Aircaft Serial Number: 205. Including four (4) engines, bearing respectively the serial number: CBE066, CBE062, CBE086 and CBE085.
Also included, aircraft plaque: "AIR FRANCE Lorsque viendra le jour d’exposer Concorde dans un musee, la Smithsonian Institution a dores et deja choisi, pour le Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace de Washington, un appariel portant le couleurs d’Air France."

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Air France Concorde, with Bell XV-15 TRRA Tilt Rotor test plane in foreground

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Air France Concorde, with Bell XV-15 TRRA Tilt Rotor test plane in foreground
heavy metal movie
Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Bell XV-15 TRRA (Tilt Rotor Research Aircraft), Ship 2:

The XV-15 Tilt Rotor technology demonstrator was the culmination of efforts begun in the early 1950s to produce an aircraft that could takeoff, land, and hover like a helicopter, but with the speed of an airplane. The rotor pylons tilt from vertical to horizontal to eliminate the speed barriers imposed on conventional helicopters by retreating-blade stall and allowed the XV-15 to operate at speeds of 550 kph (345 mph TAS).

This is the second of the two XV-15s built by Bell under a joint NASA/US Army program. It served from 1979 through 2003, demonstrating operations under a wide range of conditions and logged 700 hours in testing. Its success encouraged Bell and the US Marine Corps to develop a scaled-up Tilt Rotor, the MV-22, as a replacement for Marine transport helicopters. In association with Agusta Aerospace, Bell also developed the Model 609 civil Tilt Rotor with experience gained from the XV-15 program.

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.

Wingspan:9.80 m (32 ft 2 in)
Proprotor Diameter:7.62 m (25 ft)
Length:12.83 m (42 ft 1 in)
Height:3.86 m (12 ft 8 in)
Weight, empty: 4,574 kg (10,083 lb)
Weight, gross: 6,804 kg (15,000 lb)

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Concorde, Fox Alpha, Air France:

The first supersonic airliner to enter service, the Concorde flew thousands of passengers across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound for over 25 years. Designed and built by Aérospatiale of France and the British Aviation Corporation, the graceful Concorde was a stunning technological achievement that could not overcome serious economic problems.

In 1976 Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Carrying up to 100 passengers in great comfort, the Concorde catered to first class passengers for whom speed was critical. It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than four hours – half the time of a conventional jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in very high fares that limited the number of passengers who could afford to fly it. These problems and a shrinking market eventually forced the reduction of service until all Concordes were retired in 2003.

In 1989, Air France signed a letter of agreement to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum upon the aircraft’s retirement. On June 12, 2003, Air France honored that agreement, donating Concorde F-BVFA to the Museum upon the completion of its last flight. This aircraft was the first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.

Gift of Air France.

Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale
British Aircraft Corporation

Wingspan: 25.56 m (83 ft 10 in)
Length: 61.66 m (202 ft 3 in)
Height: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Weight, empty: 79,265 kg (174,750 lb)
Weight, gross: 181,435 kg (400,000 lb)
Top speed: 2,179 km/h (1350 mph)
Engine: Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 602, 17,259 kg (38,050 lb) thrust each
Manufacturer: Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale, Paris, France, and British Aircraft Corporation, London, United Kingdom

Physical Description:
Aircaft Serial Number: 205. Including four (4) engines, bearing respectively the serial number: CBE066, CBE062, CBE086 and CBE085.
Also included, aircraft plaque: "AIR FRANCE Lorsque viendra le jour d’exposer Concorde dans un musee, la Smithsonian Institution a dores et deja choisi, pour le Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace de Washington, un appariel portant le couleurs d’Air France."

Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nevada (19)

Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nevada (19)
heavy metal movie
Image by Ken Lund
Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County, in the U.S. state of Nevada. It is located in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas, near the eastern edge of Death Valley. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. During an ensuing gold rush, thousands of gold-seekers, developers, miners, and service providers flocked to the Bullfrog Mining District. Many settled in Rhyolite, which lay in a sheltered desert basin near the region’s biggest producer, the Montgomery Shoshone Mine.

Industrialist Charles M. Schwab bought the Montgomery Shoshone Mine in 1906 and invested heavily in infrastructure including piped water, electric lines, and railroad transportation that served the town as well as the mine. By 1907, Rhyolite had electric lights, water mains, telephones, newspapers, a hospital, a school, an opera house, and a stock exchange. Published estimates of the town’s peak population vary widely, but scholarly sources generally place it in a range between 3,500 and 5,000 in 1907–08.

Rhyolite declined almost as rapidly as it rose. After the richest ore was exhausted, production fell. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the financial panic of 1907 made it more difficult to raise development capital. In 1908, investors in the Montgomery Shoshone Mine, concerned that it was overvalued, ordered an independent study. When the study’s findings proved unfavorable, the company’s stock value crashed, further restricting funding. By the end of 1910, the mine was operating at a loss, and it closed in 1911. By this time, many out-of-work miners had moved elsewhere, and Rhyolite’s population dropped well below 1,000. By 1920, it was close to zero.

After 1920, Rhyolite and its ruins became a tourist attraction and a setting for motion pictures. Most of its buildings crumbled, were scavenged for building materials, or were moved to nearby Beatty or other towns, although the railway depot and a house made chiefly of empty bottles were repaired and preserved. From 1988 to 1998, three companies operated a profitable open-pit mine at the base of Ladd Mountain, about 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Rhyolite. The Goldwell Open Air Museum lies on private property just south of the ghost town, which is on public property overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

The town is named for rhyolite, an igneous rock composed of light-colored silicates, usually buff to pink and occasionally light gray. It belongs to the same rock class, felsic, as granite but is much less common.[2] The Amargosa River, which flows through Beatty, gets its name from the Spanish word for "bitter", amargo. In its course, the river takes up large amounts of salts, which give it a bitter taste.[3]

"Bullfrog" was the name Frank "Shorty" Harris and Ernest "Ed" Cross, the prospectors who started the Bullfrog gold rush, gave to their mine. As quoted by Robert D. McCracken in A History of Beatty, Nevada, Harris said during a 1930 interview for Westways magazine, "The rock was green, almost like turquoise, spotted with big chunks of yellow metal, and looked a lot like the back of a frog."[4] The Bullfrog Mining District, the Bullfrog Hills, the town of Bullfrog, and other geographical entities in the region took their name from the Bullfrog Mine.[5] "Bullfrog" became so popular that Giant Bullfrog, Bullfrog Merger, Bullfrog Apex, Bullfrog Annex, Bullfrog Gold Dollar, Bullfrog Mogul, and most of the district’s other 200 or so mining companies included "Bullfrog" in their names.[6]

"Beatty" is named after "Old Man" Montillus (Montillion) Murray Beatty, a Civil War veteran and miner who bought a ranch along the Amargosa River just north of what became the town of Beatty. In 1906, he sold the ranch to the Bullfrog Water, Power, and Light Company.[7] "Shoshone" in "Montgomery Shoshone Mine" refers to the Western Shoshone people indigenous to the region. In about 1875, the Shoshone had six camps along the Amargosa River near Beatty. The total population of these camps was 29, and because game was scarce, they subsisted largely on seeds, bulbs, and plants gathered throughout the region, including the Bullfrog Hills.[8]

The Bullfrog Hills are at the western edge of the southwestern Nevada volcanic field. Extensionally-faulted volcanic rocks, ranging in age from about 13.3 million years to about 7.6 million years, overlie the region’s Paleozoic sedimentary rocks.[9] The prevailing rocks, which contain the ore deposits, are a series of rhyolitic lava flows[10] that built to a combined thickness of about 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above the more ancient rock.[11] After the flows ceased, tectonic stresses fractured the area into many separate fault blocks.[9] Most of these blocks tilt to the east, and the horizontal banding of individual flows shows clearly on their western scarps.[12] Within the blocks, the ore deposits tend to occur in nearly vertical mineralized faults or fault zones in the rhyolite. Most of the lodes in the Bullfrog Hills are not simple veins but rather fissure zones with many stringers of vein material.[13]

Rhyolite is at the northern end of the Amargosa Desert in Nye County in the U.S. state of Nevada. Nestled in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas, it is about 60 miles (97 km) south of Goldfield, and 90 miles (140 km) south of Tonopah. Roughly 4 miles (6.4 km) to the east lie Beatty and the Amargosa River. To the west, roughly 5 miles (8.0 km) from Rhyolite, the Funeral and Grapevine Mountains of the Amargosa Range rise between the Amargosa Desert in Nevada and Death Valley in California. State Route 374, passing about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) south of Rhyolite, links Beatty to Death Valley via Daylight Pass. Rhyolite is about 25 miles (40 km) west of Yucca Mountain and the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which is adjacent to the Nevada Test Site.[14][15][16]

Surrounded on three sides by ridges but open to the south, the ghost town is at 3,800 feet (1,200 m) above sea level.[1] The high points of the ridges are Ladd Mountain to the east, Sutherland Mountain to the west, and Busch Peak to the north.[17] Sawtooth Mountain, the highest point in the Bullfrog Hills, rises to 6,002 feet (1,829 m) above sea level about 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of Rhyolite.[18] The hills form a barrier between the Amargosa Desert and Sarcobatus Flat to the north. Most of the primary mining communities in the Beatty–Rhyolite area during the gold-rush boom of 1904–08 were either in or on the edge of the Bullfrog Hills.[19] Of these and many smaller towns and camps in the Bullfrog district, only Beatty survived as a populated place.[20] Prior to its demise, the rival town of Bullfrog lay about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) southwest of Rhyolite, and the Montgomery Shoshone Mine was on the north side of Montgomery Mountain, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of Rhyolite.[14]

Nevada’s main climatic features are bright sunshine, low annual precipitation, heavy snowfall in the higher mountains, clean, dry air, and large daily temperature ranges. Strong surface heating occurs by day and rapid cooling by night, and usually even the hottest days have cool nights. The average percentage of possible sunshine in southern Nevada is more than 80 percent. Sunshine and low humidity in this region account for an average evaporation, as measured in evaporation pans, of more than 100 inches (2,500 mm) of water a year.[21]

Beatty, about 500 feet (150 m) lower in elevation than Rhyolite, receives only about 6 inches (152 mm) of precipitation a year. July is the hottest month in Beatty, when the average high temperature is 97 °F (36 °C) and the average low is 61 °F (16 °C). December and January are the coolest months with an average high of 54 °F (12 °C) and an average low of 27 °F (−3 °C) in December and 28 °F (−2 °C) in January.[22] Rhyolite is high enough in the hills to have relatively cool summers, and it has relatively mild winters. However, it is far from sources of water.[17]

On August 9, 1904, Cross and Harris found gold on the south side of a southwestern Nevada hill later called Bullfrog Mountain.[23] Assays of ore samples from the site suggested values up to ,000 a ton,[24] or about ,000 a ton in 2009 dollars when adjusted for inflation.[25] Word of the discovery spread to Tonopah and beyond, and soon thousands of hopeful prospectors and speculators rushed to what became known as the Bullfrog Mining District.[26]

Within the district, gold rush settlements quickly arose near the mines, and Rhyolite became the largest.[27] It sprang up near the most promising discovery, the Montgomery Shoshone Mine, which in February 1905 produced ores assayed as high as ,000 a ton,[28] equivalent to 2,000 a ton in 2009.[25] Starting as a two-man camp in January 1905, Rhyolite became a town of 1,200 people in two weeks and reached a population of 2,500 by June 1905. By then it had 50 saloons, 35 gambling tables, cribs for prostitution, 19 lodging houses, 16 restaurants, half a dozen barbers, a public bath house, and a weekly newspaper, the Rhyolite Herald. Four daily stage coaches connected Goldfield, 60 miles (97 km) to the north, and Rhyolite. Rival auto lines ferried people between Rhyolite and Goldfield and the rail station in Las Vegas in Pope-Toledos, White Steamers, and other touring cars.[27]

Ernest Alexander "Bob" Montgomery, the original owner, and his partners sold the mine to industrialist Charles M. Schwab in February 1906.[29] Schwab expanded the operation on a grand scale, hiring workers, opening new tunnels and drifts, and building a huge mill to process the ore. He had water piped in, paid to have an electric line run 100 miles (160 km) from a hydroelectric plant at the foot of the Sierras to Rhyolite, and contracted with the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad to run a spur line to the mine.[30] Three railroads eventually served Rhyolite. The first was the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad (LVTR), which began running regular trains to the city on December 14, 1906.[31] Its depot, built in California-mission style, cost about 0,000,[32] equivalent to about ,110,000 in 2009.[25] About a half-year later, the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad (BGR) began regular service from the north. By December 1907, the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad (TTR) began service to Rhyolite on tracks leased from the BGR. The TTR was built to reach the borax-bearing colemanite beds in Death Valley as well as the gold fields.[31]

By 1907, about 4,000 people lived in Rhyolite, according to Richard E. Lingenfelter in Death Valley & the Amargosa: A Land of Illusion.[32] Russell R. Elliott cites an estimated population of 5,000 in 1907–08 in Nevada’s Twentieth-Century Mining Boom, noting that "accurate population figures during the boom are impossible to obtain".[33] Alan H. Patera in Rhyolite: The Boom Years states published estimates of the peak population have been "as high as 6,000 or 8,000, but the town itself never claimed more than 3,500 through its newspapers".[34] The newspapers estimated that 6,000 people lived in the Bullfrog mining district, which included the towns of Rhyolite, Bullfrog, Gold Center, and Beatty as well as camps at the major mines.[34]

Rhyolite in 1907 had concrete sidewalks, electric lights, water mains, telephone and telegraph lines, daily and weekly newspapers, a monthly magazine, police and fire departments, a hospital, school, opera house, and stock exchange, and two churches. Most prominent was the three-story John S. Cook and Co. Bank on Golden Street. Finished in 1908, it cost more than ,000,[32] equivalent to ,150,000 in 2009.[25] Much of the cost went for Italian marble stairs, imported stained-glass windows, and other luxuries. The building housed brokerage offices and the post office as well as the bank. Other large buildings included the train depot, the three-story Overbury Block, the two-story eight-room school, and the Bottle House. A miner named Tom T. Kelly built the Bottle House in February 1906 from 50,000 discarded beer and liquor bottles.[32] Another building housed the Rhyolite Mining Stock Exchange, which opened on March 25, 1907, with 125 members, including brokers from New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and other large cities. The small, modestly-equipped storefront listed shares of 74 Bullfrog companies and a similar number of companies in nearby mining districts. Sixty thousand shares changed hands on the first day, and by the end of the second week the number had topped 750,000.[35]

Although the mine produced more than million (equivalent to ,900,000 in 2009)[25] in bullion in its first three years, its shares declined from a share (in historical dollars) to less than .[37] In February 1908, a committee of minority stockholders, suspecting that the mine was overvalued, hired a British mining engineer to conduct an inspection. The engineer’s report was unfavorable, and news of this caused a sudden further decline in share value from to 75 cents.[38] Schwab expressed disappointment when he learned that "the wonderful high-grade [ore] that had brought [the mine] fame was confined to only a few stringers and that what he had actually bought was a large low-grade mine."[37] Although the mine was still profitable, by 1909 no new ore was being discovered, and the value of the remaining ore steadily decreased. In 1910, the mine operated at a loss for most of the year, and on March 14, 1911, it was closed. By then, the stock, which had fallen to 10 cents a share, slid to 4 cents and was dropped from the exchanges.[39]

Rhyolite began to decline before the final closing of the mine. At roughly the same time that the Bullfrog mines were running out of high-grade ore, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake diverted capital to California, and the financial panic of 1907 restricted funding for mine development. As mines in the district reduced production or closed, unemployed miners left Rhyolite to seek work elsewhere, businesses failed, and by 1910, the census reported only 675 residents.[40] All three banks in the town closed by March 1910. The newspapers, including the Rhyolite Herald, the last to go, all shut down by June 1912. The post office closed in November 1913; the last train left Rhyolite Station in July 1914, and the Nevada-California Power Company turned off the electricity and removed its lines in 1916.[41] Within a year the town was "all but abandoned",[41] and the 1920 census reported a population of only 14.[34] A 1922 motor tour by the Los Angeles Times found only one remaining resident, a 92-year-old man who died in 1924.[42]

Much of Rhyolite’s remaining infrastructure became a source of building materials for other towns and mining camps. Whole buildings were moved to Beatty. The Miners’ Union Hall in Rhyolite became the Old Town Hall in Beatty, and two-room cabins were moved and reassembled as multi-room homes. Parts of many buildings were used to build a Beatty school.[43]

Rhyolite, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management,[44] is "one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West".[45] Ruins include the railroad depot and other buildings, and the Bottle House, which the Famous Players Lasky Corporation, the parent of Paramount Pictures, restored in 1925 for the filming of a silent movie, The Air Mail.[46] The ruins of the Cook Bank Building were used in the 1964 film The Reward and again in 2004 for the filming of The Island.[47] Orion Pictures used Rhyolite for its 1987 science-fiction movie Cherry 2000 depicting the collapse of American society.[48] Other movies that used Rhyolite as a setting include Ride ’em Cowboy (1931), Rough Riders Round-Up (1939), The Arrogant (1987), Delusion (1991), Ramona! (1992), Ultraviolet (1992), Six-String Samurai (1998), and Twice as Dead (2001).[46] Goldwell Open Air Museum, an outdoor sculpture park managed by a nonprofit corporation, is located at the southern entrance to the ghost town.[49] The Rhyolite-Bullfrog cemetery, with many wooden headboards, is also near the southern entrance.[50]

Tourism flourished in and near Death Valley in the 1920s, and souvenir sellers set up tables in Rhyolite to sell rocks and bottles on weekends.[51] In the 1930s, Revert Mercantile of Beatty acquired a Union Oil distributorship, built a gas station in Beatty, and supplied pumps in other locations, including Rhyolite. The Rhyolite service station consisted of an old caboose and a pump managed by a local owner.[52] In 1937, the train depot became a casino and bar called the Rhyolite Ghost Casino, which was later turned into a small museum and curio shop that remained open into the 1970s.[50

Mining in and near Rhyolite after 1920 consisted mainly of working old tailings[50] until a new mine opened in 1988 on the south side of Ladd Mountain. A company known as Bond Gold built an open-pit mine and mill at the site, about 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Rhyolite along State Route 374. LAC Minerals acquired the mine from Bond in 1989 and established an underground mine there in 1991 after a new body of ore called the North Extension was discovered. Barrick Gold acquired LAC Minerals in 1994 and continued to extract and process ore at what became known as the Barrick Bullfrog Mine until the end of 1998.[53] The mine used a chemical extraction process known as vat leaching[54] involving the use of a weak cyanide solution. The process, like heap leaching, makes it possible to process ore profitably that otherwise would not qualify as mill-grade. Over its entire life, the mine processed about 2,800,000 short tons (2,540,000 t) of ore and produced about 690,000 ounces (19,600 kg) of gold.[53] At 1998 prices, the gold was worth about 0 million.[55],_Nevada