The Space Needle's Nuts

I seem to recall from a visit to Seattle’s Space Needle that the building appears to be held to its foundation by some really big nuts. Six if I recall correctly. Are these for real? Could I wreak havoc on the needle if I showed up with a mongo-sized ratchet and went to work loosening the nuts?

From the thread title I thought maybe they installed some testicular symbol around the museum at the base of this phallic monument. Guess I gotta get my mind out of the gutter.
But I doubt if they made the tower vulnerable to any Erector Set-type maniac. You’d probably have as muich luck dismantling the Eiffel Tower with a really big wrench.

I think they use these for assembly purposes to hold massive pre-fab parts together. However, once in place the nuts are welded to the plates/bolts.

Hoover dam being Chopped Liver?

Hoover Dam was not a single pour.

Same with Grand Coulee Dam. I’ve heard that had they poured it all at once the concrete would still be warm from setting. Dunno as I believe that, but it’s still a pretty impressive erection. And with that, back to the nuts!

So are they welded on then? Or can I get busy with a really big box-wrench and steal the thing in the night?

So, the needle would wobble but it wouldn’t fall down? Cool.

The nuts are about 6 feet across, so if you’re Superman you might be able to turn them. But, remember, it rains here a bit, so you might need a few barrels of WD-40.

Wow. We’ve lived in Seattle since the Space Needle opened and I never knew about its’ nuts or all that concrete. Thanks, Dopers, for enlightening me.

  • hurk * Don’t remind me. That thng is one hell ofa ride in a windstorm.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge uses eight (I think) ginormous nuts at its base. I don’t know what would happen if Kong Kong came by with a spanner. Probably not much. The nuts hold enormous hinges in place, which allow for the bridge’s expansion and contraction. It’d probably still work without the nuts, as I think they just hold the horizontal pins in place.

Even if you removed the nuts, the tower would still be sitting on its base, held in place by its weight, some 6000 tons. It’d need to hop verticaly ~18" to jump off the vertical bolts. So it wouldn’t immediately fall over. How it’d fare in a windstorm or earthquake is another matter.

So how did they tighten them originally? Certainly not with the enormous spanner, nor do I imagine they used teams of burly men running around to ‘finger-tighten’ them before torquing them down…

I’ve walked past the tower and seen the bolts. It surprised me to think that the tower is just bolted down, but they are big ol’ nuts that would have required at least a BF wrench to tighten. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone built a machine specifically designed to tighten them. I would also imagine that the tightening process would have taken a while to avoid tilting the tower too much.


Can’t take any chances with nut nuts.

Just a wild guess but would it be such that they really don’t need to be “tightened”? If they are 6 feet across, it might be that their weight alone makes them sufficiently tight. Then, with a few welds there wont be any movement. I don’t know, just speculating.

I just assumed it had gone insane

Believe it or not a giant wrench used to be mounted at the base of Space Needle. Gone after renovations.

Tikki, do you remember the giant wrench that used to be mounted on column at base of Needle.