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Steel Structure Trivia: Lunchtime on a Skyscraper
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 1, 2012 at 10:03 AM.


Here’s MSC’s September Steel Structure Trivia question! (Postponed from SteelDay last Friday.) This life-size sculpture, created by sculptor Sergio Furnari, titled “Lunchtime on a Skyscraper — A Tribute to American Heroes,” is mounted on a truck and frequently displayed in New York City’s SOHO area. The sculpture was inspired by a famous photo of ironworkers in 1932 taking a lunchtime break on a steel crossbeam about 850 ft above the streets of NYC. What NYC building were they working on? Photo: Scott O’Berski


The famous black-and-white photo, titled “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” was taken in 1932 at the construction site of the RCA Building (renamed the GE Building in 1986) at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Congratulations to Matthew Lombardo, a structural engineer with McPherson Design Group in Norfolk, Va., and Matthew Danza, P.E., a structural engineer with John Maltese Iron Works, Inc., (an AISC member) in North Brunswick, N.J., for supplying the correct answer! And thank you to all who participated.



If you visit AISC’s headquarters in Chicago, you’ll find that many of its offices have this photo hanging on the wall, including the one pictured right.


According to Wikipedia, the photo depicts 11 ironworkers eating lunch, seated on a steel crossbeam with their feet dangling about 850 ft above the streets of NYC. It was taken on September 20, 1932, on the 69th floor of the RCA Building toward the end of construction. Formerly attributed to “anonymous,” the photo has been credited to Charles C. Ebbets since 2003 and erroneously to Lewis Hine. The Corbis corporation is officially returning its status to anonymous although most sources continue to credit Ebbets.


You can see additional photos of Sergio Furnari’s sculpture at


You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at 10 a.m. (Central Time) on Friday, October 26.



The first three people who supply the correct answer will receive an MSC-branded stainless steel back scratcher! You’ll need it to successfully tackle those pesky itches after the trivia pressure subsides. (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 7 in. to 20 3/4 in. in length.  





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