The Watts Towers
The Watts Towers, located in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, was created by an Italian immigrant by the name of Simon Rodia. Construction began in the 1920s and was completed in the year 1954. He created the towers as a labor of love… “I had in mind to do something big – and I did it”.
The materials he used to erect the sculpture consisted of steel rod and pipes, wrapped with a wire mesh coated with mortar. This is a form of ferro-cement. FE or ferrum has it’s roots in the Latin word for iron. Steel is a metal alloy whose major component is iron. Most of the metal in the Towers were from near by railroad waste. The mortar was typically made from cement and sand. Rodia covered the structure with mosaics consisting of shells, glass bottles, pottery and tile.
It is said that he worked on the project for decades and then, in 1955 left – never to return.