Permalac Seals the Deal, and That’s No Bull (or Bear)







Markets up, markets down; bear to bull, bull to bear.  Bronze effigies of these two majestic creatures have been used to represent the ever-changing balancing act of the stock market for hundreds of years.

Mention the stock market soaring, and an image of the bull comes to mind.  Markets down conjure up the bear in your mind’s eye.  Bronze likenesses of the bear and the bull are ubiquitous for anyone the least interested in the daily financial markets in New York, Chicago and St. Louis.

St. Louis you say?  While there is no stock exchange, the folks at Stifel Financial Corp. felt it necessary to commission one of America’s greatest giant sculpture masters, Mr. Harry Weber.

According to a blog article in the Wall Street Journal:

While St. Louis might not have famous pizza or an actual stock exchange, it does have barbecue and soon will have its own Wall Street bull. It’s even one-upping Wall Street by adding a measured force: a bear……..

The St. Louis based investment bank is in the process of closing a deal to acquire KBW Inc., a Manhattan-based investment bank to the banks and one of the firms most associated with the World Trade Center.

Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski says the growth in his city and his bank echo each other, but both stories remain underplayed because of New York’s dominance in banking. Stifel’s gone from 1,200 employees to 5,500.

“We have been growing like a weed,” Kruszewski says.

“I think if you would say the city is the second to New York, the idea to put some art on the ground … is appropriate,” Kruszewski said. “It isn’t like putting a bull and bear in an oil town.”

Why Permalac

I had a chance to speak with Harry Weber by telephone in preparation for the writing of this article, and quickly understood why he receives the huge amount of respect and recognition he deserves.  When I asked him about some of his projects, we spoke at some length of the Louis and Clark monument in the Mississippi River (yes, sometimes completely underwater), known as The Captain’s Return.  The placement of the monument commemorates the 200th anniversary of the return from Louis and Clark’s 2-year exploration of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.

“We use Permalac as a finish coat to protect our monuments from the ravages of weather and conditions particular to the site,” said Mr. Weber.  “In the case of The Captain’s Return, because the site is nearly exactly the spot where they landed, occasionally the sculpture gets completely submerged underwater.  Most of the time a portion of the piece is submerged constantly, so it is imperative it be protected from the harsh realities of nature. Permalac not only protects it better than other lacquers, it won’t discolor the patina of the piece,” he added.

“As for the commissioning of the Stifel piece, it took numerous sketches and drawings to come up with the right image. On Wall Street, the Bull signifies the upward mobility of the market. There is no bear.   In this case, the balance of the markets is in constant contest, with upswings and downturns.  Rather than a decisive winner of battle to decide a victor, the bear and the bull needed to reflect that constant struggle of the winners and losers in the marketplace.”

I also learned that over the course of his career, Mr. Weber has crafted more than 100 large sculptures, and an innumerable amount of smaller works. Although not all of his works possess the signature lacquer’s protection,  Perlamac is a big part of his finishing touch.

In this 20-minute video, Harry Weber chronicles the entire project. As you might imagine, the design and construction process of a 9000-pound sculpture is amazing to watch. The video is quite illustrative and informative (The Bull & Bear:

The originally published WSJ article:

Image Credit: Stifel Financial Corp.

Captain’s Return by Harry Weber and the use of Permalac

Permalac Has Gone Bananas-Sort Of…

We’re not one to criticize art in any of its mediums.  There is always someone trying to express themselves to stand out from the crowd, communicate the “Hey, It’s Me” attitude in their work.  It seems that Permalac has gone bananas, well, sort of.  The image below are photographs of the art of David Kennedy Cutler, from an exhibit at the Derek Eller Gallery in New York.

We’re not saying we’re not proud of his choice of Permalac, we’re flattered.  People across the globe use our products for a variety of applications; historical landmarks, ceremonial pieces, signage, even indoor and outdoor plaques, signage, sculptures and who knows what else.  It’s just not our primary focus, but we’re happy to provide the best protection money can buy.

Oh, the bananas-sort of? Yep, that’s Mr. Kennedy Cutler’s interpretation called Yellow Plaid Bananas.

Staying with the art theme for this month, we did some digging and discovered another artist that has chosen a different medium; jewelry.  Pictured below is a beautiful pair of earrings protected by Permalac.

There’s no end to what our fans come up with to protect.  We’re appreciative.

Going Commercial

As an extension of their theme, Tweetie Industries, famous for bird houses and such, are offering a rather well-made, handsome looking Kinetic Dual Spinner.  Made of thick copper for a stem, and balanced Willow Leaves, it’s a sure pleaser.  As it will be used outdoors as a lawn ornament, Permalac protection is used to ensure the patina remains, the damp soil doesn’t inhibit the finish of the pole, keeping its look for years to come.  Thank you Tweetie!

Although our primary focus is on larger, restoration projects such as the Mohammed Ali mosque staircase we featured a while back, Permalac has many, many uses, and our loyal customers continue to amaze us with their creativity.

To find out more about Permalac and other products, feel free to visit our website at

Keywords:  Permalac, restoration, sealers,

What Do Joseph Pulitzer, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, Ronald Reagan, and Lee Iacocca have in Common?

October 2016 – These distinguished gentlemen, and an army of others, each had a hand at one time or another with either the construction or renovation of Lady Liberty.  Different times, different circumstances, but the same outcomes.  Building or maintaining our National Symbol of Freedom.

In just about the entirety of planning, timing is everything.  Did you know that the beacon of hope that greeted immigrants to our great country was once painted? Had Permalac been around back then, maybe we’d have a shining copper Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Timing.

In fact, the timing of the original plans wasn’t so good either for Lady Liberty, the Government of France or the United States Government.  The idea of “The Great Colossus”1 began in 1865, and it took ten years for sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi to be commissioned to lead the

project, with the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence as the planned ceremony, 1876.

Excuses, Reasons, Excuses

France and the USA were both under enormous financial strain at the time, and therefore creative means of fund raising became routine on both sides of the Atlantic.  It was agreed the US would be responsible for the location and the construction of the footing, and the French would cover the costs involved in shipping, handling and installation of the finished statue beyond its cost of creation.

In France, lotteries, public fees, entertainment events and other forms of public funding were utilized, while in

the US, theatrical events, art auctions, even prize fights were used, but in both countries, raising money at that time was not easy.

While all this money trouble occupied many citizen’s time, Bartholdi, the sculptor, sought out the assistance of the man that build the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel2, for his insight into strustatue-of-libertyctural integrity.  The estimated delivery of Lady Liberty was slipping due to lack of funding, design concerns, and public opinion.

Joseph Pulitzer,3 through the editorial pages of his newspaper, “The World’, was direct and to the point regarding the lack of keen interest in the project by the American people.  He harshly criticized the wealthy for their withholding of some of their wealth toward this great national project, but he also admonished the middle class for their expectation of the wealthy and well-off handling the entire donation.  Both economic groups begrudgingly contributed towards that effort.Although long past the original plan, the project was finally completed. An excerpt describing the final steps of the installation of Lady Liberty:

“Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the Statue of Liberty’s granite pedestal in 1884, donating his fee to help fund the Statue.  Financing for the pedestal was completed in August 1885, and pedestal construction was finished in April 1886. The Statue was completed in France in July 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor in June 1885 on board the French frigate “Isere.”

 In transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The Statue was reassembled on her new pedestal in four months’ time. On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland oversaw the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in front of thousands of spectators. She was a centennial gift ten years late.

What! No Permalac?

Had Permalac been around near the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, Congress would not have appropriated $62,000 to paint her.  The public outcry was rabid.  Newspapers referred to the idea as sacrilegious, while others felt the fact the statue was turning green. Influential politicians pushed for painting the sculpture as a means of protecting the metal’s integrity, but the citizenry would hear none of it.

Had Permalac been around a hundred or so years ago, things would be different. Because the outer shell of the statue is thin, it still would have taken more than 30 million copper pennies to form the complete covering.  The weight of the metal, 3/32 of an inch4 is remarkably thin, but the green patina is actually nature’s protective coating.  Permalac EF could have been used on the exterior, and Permalac Black internally.

Move Time Forward

Bedloe’s Island, where Lady Liberty stands, didn’t have a name change until 1956, when it was changed to Liberty Island.  Both Bedloe’s and Ellis Island’s maintenance had changed hands over the years, from the Lighthouse Board to the D
epartment of War. Lady Liberty is positioned on a pedestal within Fort Wood, which was constructed for the War of 1812.  It later had a transfer of maintenance and management when both Ellis and Bedloe’s Islands were combined under the National Park Service in 1965. It maintains and oversees all aspects of the Islands to this day.
detail-headBy 1982, Lady Liberty was in much need of repairs.  President Ronald Reagan5  appointed the Chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, Lee Iacocca6,  to spearhead the $87 million public/private restoration funding for her upkeep.  The project swelled to more than $233 million, and, although controversy arose, Iacocca did the near impossible at the time.

Image Credit: Copper Development Association

Beacon of Hope

As we are a nation of immigrants, it is surprising how much consternation swirls about immigration today. Liberty Island, along with Ellis Island has welcomed immigrants with a symbol of freedom and hope.

While most immigrants entered the United States through New York Harbor (the most popular destination of steamship companies), others sailed into many ports such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Savannah, Miami, and New Orleans. The great steamship companies like White Star, Red Star, Cunard and Hamburg-America played a significant role in the history of Ellis Island and immigration in general.

In conclusion

Ask metal artists what they find helps them the most to preserve their art and they’ll probably respond with something like “a metal sculpture’s best friends are Permalac Black and Permalac Clear.  Two great defenders of either patina or decorative preservative. I’m confident that IF Permalac was available when the statue was first constructed, reconstructed upon arrival to the US, and the subsequent renovations that have occurred since.

Keywords: Statue of Liberty, Permalac, Lady Liberty, Permalac EF, patina, metal preservation,

  1. The Great Colossus – Poet Emma Lazarus 1883 –
  3. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel –
  5. Ronald Reagan –
  6. Lee Iacocca –