Technology Transfer

The close-up above shows a critical element in the development of skyscrapers and, non-coincidently, one of the reasons I keep talking about late 1800s truss bridges. Tall buildings were largely responsible for the creation of my profession, structural engineering for buildings. Prior to the the construction of large numbers of tall buildings in the 1880s …

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Generational Change

That’s the Rocky River Bridge on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. Lakewood is a western suburb of Cleveland and Detroit Avenue was originally the Detroit Road, running west from Cleveland to Michigan. Actually, that’s two of the Rocky River Bridges: the unreinforced-concrete arch bridge in front is the 1910 bridge, the fourth on or near …

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Fit To The Purpose

Back in the days when trusses were the solution to every long-span and heavy-load structural problem, and built-up members were the only way to create large steel members, engineers developed a lot of subcategories of truss for different uses. The building in the circa-1900 photo above is a New York Central Railroad freight shed in …

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The Next Level

A while ago, I discussed the use of simple trusses for long-span roofs in the late nineteenth century. Engineers being who we are, things didn’t stay simple for long, and I’d like to discuss an example of a more complex design at one of the most remarkable buildings of the beginning of the twentieth century, …

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Entry Level

I mentioned a few days ago that railroad stations were among the first buildings in the US to need the services of structural engineers in design. The other group consisted of gyms and other large indoor spaces. Wood trusses were the traditional method of creating long-span roofs, but not compatible with late-1800s new ideas about …

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