Birth of the Atomic Age [Plaster]

Dublin Core


Birth of the Atomic Age [Plaster]


Figure sculpture, American--20th century


Birth of the Atomic Age, 1959
Plaster original

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall M. Fredericks

The atom is the symbol of one of mankind's most dramatic achievements. It symbolizes the awesome challenge of the Atomic Age. In this sculpture the heroic male figure holds the model atom above his head as if in veneration. His body is smooth and idealized. The strong upward movement gives it an optimistic air. It suggests faith that the atom will be used properly in the hands of man. The sculpture was originally designed to rise out of the center of a fountain. There is a miniature version of this sculpture which was used as an award by the National Exchange Club of Toledo, Ohio.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum




University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

126" x 24"


Plaster full-scale
Stainless Steel

Catalog Number


Object Location

Main Exhibit Gallery


1987 July, 1 Gift to Museum and SVSU Board of Control


It was cast in aluminum with a marble fountain and granite for the National Exchange Club, Toledo, OH.
Inscription on base: Marshall Fredericks Sculptor
1958 By the National Exchange Club

The theme of the work is attributed to the time period in which it was created-the Atomic Age.

Man reaching and stretching upward: a constant image used by Fredericks in various works; man in search of perfection, aspiring soaring in spirit
Atomic symbol: mankind dramatic achievement and challenge; modern ideogram for atom; the ellipses signify the orbits of the electrons around the nucleus, the point in the center.

Molly Barth copy:
This figure holding the atom is The Birth of the Atomic Age. This is the plaster model for a unique aluminum cast at the National Exchange Club in Toledo. It stands in the center of an interior courtyard. Originally, it operated as a fountain, but the pool has been drained and filled with shrubbery in recent years. After it was cast, Fredericks strapped it on top of his station wagon and took it from the foundry to Toledo. Since it was cast in aluminum, and therefore .much lighter than bronze he could do that. It was dedicated in 1959. In the gift display case,is an award that uses a miniature version of this figure.




Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998, “Birth of the Atomic Age [Plaster],” Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, accessed May 24, 2024,