Monday, December 27, 2010

Tower of Barrels in 1924

This is an AM blast from the past from November 15, 2008.

OK, THIS is totally bizarre... and wonderful. Long before Burning Man was this... a tower of barrels that must be more than 10 stories tall. It's dated 1924, but its the only clue I have. The group of people must be mighty proud of this, how they actually constructed it, is beyond me. This is an art environment or heroic past-time that I can find nothing on, so if anyone has any clues, please let me know.

UPDATE: Thanks to my readers there are several possible reasons for this amazing tower. While I would like to think this nothing more than the whimsical efforts of the gentlemen seated below the picture, this appears to be the case of a “bonfire-to-be.” Perhaps because of alcohol prohibition (1920-1933) these beer barrels were slated to be set ablaze. Read on in the “reader comments” for more information, although, most have to do with the impending torching of the barrels.


lage said...

was curious and decided to investigate and find references to bonfires, in New England.
You can see by Photographs of Verner Reed 1950-1972:
Or here:

laikas said...

That's wonderful, unbelievable thing, thank you, this tower of barrels is crazy photo :-)

Bird in the House said...

Gloriously ambitious...the power of human's on a mission!

Minnesotastan said...

I found what is almost certainly a related image from 1929 at GettyImages -

The information there seems to indicate that the barrels were for alcohol, and the tower was a prelude to their incineration.

Putinha Psicótica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Putinha Psicótica said...

Sir. I stared for about 15 minutes to the photograph, and came up with a very reliable theory on how it was built.

Let's name a fair square of XxX barrels, disposed one next to another, FLOOR, or GROUND.

First, the valiant men lay down the first ground. It's climbable. So they climb it with the next barrels to be disposed. This time, instead of laying down all the barrels needed to fill the ground, they leave one missing, A. (In fact, further thinking led me to assume they oughta have left 2 missing, one next to the other. I don't know how heavy and difficult to carry are these barrels, but I assume they are kind heavy and there are not many ways to lift them; thus, there must be a properly-sized space to hold the barrel on the next floor as a man maneuvers it to the next higher ground.) For the third floor, they use the space created by the missing barrels as a stairway. They proceed filling the floors and leaving always floor# -1 barrels missing. This way, once they finish buildng the first BLOCK – it's noticeable because suddenly the barrels turn much shorter, which is explainable by the crescent height and peril of carrying heavy barrels through this weird staircase – they'll have a functional stairway, and are ready to start the continuation of it, another stairway going through another side of the pyramid. When barrels become shorter, the men probably make the new steps of the stairway out of four missing barrels, rather than just one. (So they can fit. If too dangerous, they can start using planks of wood to top the barrels, joining them together, and remove them afterwards, in the last phase.) The stairway keeps twirling around the pyramid till it reaches the summit. The flag is tucked, and then, all the steps are filled with the right-sized barrels, starting from the top one. (And occasional planks removed.)

With all this workforce at the root of the pyramid, and supposing they're all brave enough to climb the stairway up and down many, many times, this whimsical work could be done in about 5 hours, I guess.

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