Fountain of the Seahorses – 3D Laser Scanning Guides Restoration

Philadelphia, PA
Materials Conservation Collaborative

“The Italian Fountain, a gift from Mussolini’s Italy in 1926 to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of America, is made of more than 40 tons of travertine (a kind of limestone) in about 65 pieces. The four horses weigh about 5,000 lbs each, and the four sections of the shallow bowl clock in at about 4,000 lbs each. There are 36 coping stones that form the fountain’s basin – each with slightly different dimensions, with dedications carved in Italian and English. Despite its beauty and craftsmanship, the fountain had seen better days.”1

When the City of Philadelphia decided to restore its beloved fountain, the conservators turned to Karins to perform a 3D high-definition laser scan of the fountain and its surrounding coping to show existing conditions, placement, markings and reference post.  This enabled the conservation team to know precisely the relationship between many different points to facilitate the restoration process. 

Today, the Fountain of the Seahorses stands as another symbol of Philadelphia’s celebrated position in America’s history. 

This project won a Grand Jury Award from Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

1.        PLANPHILLY