Autotype by E Bierstadt from 'Egyptian Obelisks' by Henry H Gorringe, (New York, 1882). The obelisk was erected by Thutmose III at Heliopolis in about 1,460 BC, later moved to Alexandria, and then to the USA. Gorringe (1841-1885), a lieutenant-commander in the US Navy, was given the task of sailing the 21-metre 220-ton obelisk from Egypt to New York. The move, costing over $103,000, was financed by William H Vanderbilt. In order to load the obelisk, a large hole was cut in the hull of the ship. The obelisk was erected in Central Park on 22 January 1881, where it still stands. There is a similar obelisk on the Thames Embankment in London.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library