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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Scale Problems Again

That’s a very big stove. To be more precise, that’s a wood replica of a stove, created by the Michigan Stove Company for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and displayed after the fair ended at the company’s headquarters in Detroit. It supposedly weighed 15 tons and, amazingly, survived until 2011 when a lightning strike …

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The First Generation

The current bridge over the Genesee River near Portageville (originally Portage), New York is less than four years old, despite being on a rail line constructed around 1851 by the Erie Railroad. The river, which runs more or less north to Lake Ontario, is in a deep gorge at this crossing, so a high bridge …

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