Not All In Sync

That pleasant ivy-covered campus above is the machine shop of the  Merchants Despatch Transportation Company circa 1906, in East Rochester, New York. Merchants Despatch was founded as a rail freight service and later moved into providing refrigerated rail delivery of perishables. In the 1880s when it began the new service, “refrigerated” meant an insulated boxcar …

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Classification Is For Us Only

Or, more directly: physical objects don’t care how we classify them. When I talk about structures here (or elsewhere) I try to classify them in a way that would be useful to a reader: a building has a frame or it has bearing walls, a bridge has a Pratt truss or it has a Howe …

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Kings and Queens

The short version: a king-post truss is basically a gable with a post in the center; a queen-post truss has two posts and with a rectangular panel between them. There are all sorts of variations on both themes, but here’s a pair of bridges to provide a nice visual comparison. First, the 1918 Marlow Road …

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A Chicken and Broken-Egg Problem

The list of natural enemies includes not just Montagues and Capulets, and roadrunners and coyotes, but plumbers and wood framing. This is a bearing wall in a building in Greenwich Village and a plumber with a saw did a number on those studs. In case it’s not obvious from the wood lath, this is a …

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