Utah Man to Leave Mark on US Capitol Dome - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Utah Man to Leave Mark on US Capitol Dome

Posted:
WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) - More than a century ago, Robert Baird's great-great grandfather befriended Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and led his family across the plains with other Mormon pioneers.

A generation ago, Baird's father was commissioned to restore the 85-foot-tall, 150-foot-wide cast iron sign for Salt Lake City's ZCMI department store, a task Baird described as the first major cast iron restoration in the country.

Today, Baird is shaping molten metal into ornamentation that will adorn the U.S. Capitol dome by early next year.

It is a job, he said, that he's "been training for my whole life."

Baird began working in the foundry at age 16, and he and his brothers inherited Historical Arts and Casting from their father.

The company was founded in 1973 and has worked on pieces for the California statehouse and other clients, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A cast iron fence is leaning against the factory wall, destined for a Mormon temple under construction in Philadelphia.

Most recently, the Architect of the Capitol commissioned Historical Arts and Casting as a subcontractor. The company is now in the process of churning out more than 100 pieces of cast iron for the Capitol dome's restoration.

Atop the nation's Capitol, workers are still assessing the structure's damaged and missing pieces. Pieces that are not salvageable will be hoisted down and shipped to Utah to be replicated.

The company is producing ornamentation like rosettes and scrolls as well as structural pieces like gutters.

Factory workers also receive some intact pieces that match the broken ones. These are used to create molds before being shipped back to Washington.

"It's a great job. It's a prestigious job," said Steve Brown, the project manager for Historical Arts and Casting.

The company is making an effort to save every scrap of historic material during the process, including melting down the unsalvageable pieces and using the iron in their replacements.

Baird said his foundry is unique because it uses a wide range of skills and trades to manage the process of creating these pieces under one roof. He said it's the only foundry of its kind in the country.

The dome's original pieces were made in Baltimore and New York City in the 1850s and 1860s and unloaded in Washington using ox carts and horse carriages, said Joe Abriatis, the construction manager at the Capitol, during a press conference at the foundry Tuesday. By now, some pieces are missing and badly damaged.

As workers began removing layers of paint and inspecting the structure, Abriatis said they noticed intricate details that hadn't been seen since the dome's last restoration in the 1960s. He said they have also found the name of the original project's manager stamped in several places.

When the dome was built, it was popular to use paint impregnated with sand to make the material look like stone, Baird said. That's why the dome appears from a distance to be limestone.

"The dome is incredibly unique," said Baird, who explained that his company is incorporating new technology to waterproof and protect the iron.

"With the proper restoration, the dome will survive another 150, 200 years," he said.

Baird's foundry works with iron, bronze and aluminum to create specialty pieces like those that will be shipped to Washington.

On Tuesday, tradesmen were working at furnaces and benches to create the heavy iron pieces. The gutters the company is producing weigh more than 300 pounds apiece.

The workers will make molds out of hardened sand, pour the fiery liquid metal into casts and later remove a black, smoking product. Afterward, the piece is sprayed with a coating to prevent rusting, which can happen almost immediately in certain conditions.

Devin Rockne has been a part of this process for 21 years. On Tuesday, he manned the furnace and poured molten metal from a crucible while wrapped in aluminum, fire-resistant coat.

"It's kind of like being cooked in a tin foil dinner," said Rockne, who admitted that his job can get "a little warm."

He said it is "cool" to be working on material for the Capitol dome.

But in the end, Rockne said, "casting is casting" to him -- no matter the product's final destination.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Maryland Office Shooting Suspect Linked to Delaware Shooting

    Maryland Office Shooting Suspect Linked to Delaware Shooting

    10/18/2017 14:56:00 -04:002017-10-18 18:56:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 2:56 PM EDT2017-10-18 18:56:41 GMT
    A gunman opened fire at a Maryland office park on Wednesday morning, killing three co-workers and wounding two others, authorities and the business owner said.More
    A gunman opened fire at a Maryland office park on Wednesday morning, killing three co-workers and wounding two others, authorities and the business owner said.More
  • Domestic Situation Leads to Arrest of Greenwood Man

    Domestic Situation Leads to Arrest of Greenwood Man

    10/18/2017 13:45:00 -04:002017-10-18 17:45:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 1:45 PM EDT2017-10-18 17:45:52 GMT
    A Greenwood man was arrested following a domestic situation Friday, according to Milford police.More
    A Greenwood man was arrested following a domestic situation Friday, according to Milford police.More
  • Milford Police Taking Back Unwanted Prescriptions

    Milford Police Taking Back Unwanted Prescriptions

    10/17/2017 23:57:00 -04:002017-10-18 03:57:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 11:57 PM EDT2017-10-18 03:57:37 GMT
    The Milford Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will be giving people the opportunity to turn in dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs on October 28th as a means of preventing pill abuse and theft.More
    The Milford Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will be giving people the opportunity to turn in dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs on October 28th as a means of preventing pill abuse and theft.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    10/17/2017 15:28:00 -04:002017-10-17 19:28:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 3:50 PM EDT2017-10-17 19:50:18 GMT
    A Seaford man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges.More
    A Seaford, Del. man has been arrested on 449 charges, including felony animal cruelty, according to the state's Office of Animal Welfare.More
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    16 Inmates Charged With First-degree Murder in Del. Prison Uprising

    10/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:002017-10-17 14:14:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-10-17 18:25:59 GMT
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.More
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices