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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Standardization, Part 4

In 1890, there were hundreds of steel sections rolled by dozens of mills. Most of the sections were effectively legacies of wrought iron, rolled to the same geometry as the predecessor metal, which was still in use. There was general agreement on what steel was, but competing ideas about metallurgy. All told, saying that you …

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