The Memorial Plaques

  • By Anna Rothschild
  • Posted 08.25.11
  • NOVA

The names of the victims of September 11 are inscribed on 152 bronze panels that will line the 9/11 Memorial. In this short video, take a tour of the plant where the panels are fabricated with co-owner Jim Moretti to learn how these beautiful plaques are made.

Running Time: 02:28


The Memorial Plaques

Posted: August 25, 2011

JIM MORETTI: This is a fresh panel straight from the mill. And you can see the stacks of them. There's 152 of them total that'll make up the memorial. And they're approximately five feet in width and approximately 10 feet long. And you can see the quality of the plates is very flat and the thickness is very consistent. And, uh, it's going into the first stage of production, which is water jet cutting.

FRANK ANDOLINO: Water comes though this line under 60,000 lbs pressure. And here's your abrasive. That flows down this tube, meets the water down here in this cutting head, and it's forced through the tip, which then cuts the letters.

It gives you... if you look at the edge quality it's perfect. Like, sandblasted perfect. Plus there's no heat involved, so it doesn't affect the material at all. There's no warping, distortion of the material. It's cold. It just cuts it right through.

JIM MORETTI: The computer control for this machine allows us to generate all of these arcs and radii. It allows for the names to be cut properly, but also allows for this precision level that's needed as far as the lines and the smoothness of the panels from piece to piece coming together.

These are the heating and cooling holes. They are spaced out for bracketry to hold the tubing to do of course heating in the winter, and cooling in the real hot parts of the summer. The memorial is intended to be very interactive, and that people can do name rubbings, or leave flowers, or just be able to just walk up and touch, uh, touch the memorial.

We're trying to achieve probably something that's never been attempted on public art or a memorial or a statue before. I don't think that there's ever been one that's been heated or cooled.

It's still difficult for me everyday as long as I've been working on this thing to see the names, you know, and to see each panel.



Video short produced and edited by
Anna Rothschild
Original Footage
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2011


(main image: memorial plaque)
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2011

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