Vulcan is getting a fresh new coat of paint for his 113th birthday (photos)

Vulcan Birmingham Alabama
Vulcan “primed” to receive his newest coat of paint

Just in time for his 113th birthday bash on June 4th, Vulcan, the iconic symbol of Birmingham is getting a fresh new coat of paint.

If you looked toward Vulcan this week, you probably noticed a big crane, a metal basket and men working on the world’s largest cast iron statue.

Vulcan Birmingham Alabama
Working on Vulcan’s latest coat of paint

Starting on Monday, April 24 , the Vulcan Park and Museum (VPM) has been closed to the general public while painters have been preparing Vulcan for a  fresh new coat of paint for the first time since March 2010. The VPM expects to be closed until Friday, April 28th.

“In an effort not to compromise the Vulcan Park and Museum experience, and for the safety of our daily visitors, we will be closing the park grounds and museum during our day time hours,” said Director of Visitor Experience Joe Saling.

The VPM grounds and Vulcan’s observation tower will open on those days during evening hours from 6:00 until 10:00 p.m.

Earlier this week, Bham Now visited Vulcan and met with Jeff Theo, Vice President of Business development and Susan Boyd, director of communications at Vulcan Painters.

Vulcan Painters, a local business out of Bessemer has been painting Vulcan since the 1950s.

Here are some interesting facts we found out about the new coat of paint.

Vulcan Birmingham Alabama
Vulcan is all primed for his new coat of paint this week
20 gallons

According to Vulcan Painters it only takes 20 gallons to give Vulcan his newest coat of paint.

Vulcan Grey

Vulcan has his own special paint.  According to Theo, back in early 2000s, a paint manufacturer submitted and historic architects approved, a paint formula called Vulcan grey that matches and preserves the historic character of Vulcan.

Hardest Part to Paint

“The hardest part to paint – is probably under his arms. The basket is suspended down so you’ve got to get close enough to get down and over and under without bumping anything,”according to Theo.

Other facts
  • This is the second time Vulcan has been painted since the 2003 installation.
  • In the past, before Vulcan’s restoration starting in 1999, Vulcan was painted red to match his rust.
  • It takes a 3 man crew to paint Vulcan. Two of the three men working on Vulcan this week also painted Vulcan in 2010.

As of Wednesday, the priming was just about finished.

“A large part of our mission at Vulcan Park and Museum is to preserve and promote Vulcan as the iconic symbol of the Birmingham region. We are proud to undergo projects like this in order to ensure that Vulcan is continually preserved for future generations of Birmingham residents and visitors to enjoy,”  concluded Morgan Berney Black, Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

What a great way to celebrate your 113th birthday.


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2256