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The Colossus of 1812

Colossus of 1812

The Colossus of 1812

An American Engineering Superlative

Lee H. Nelson

ASCE Press

1990 / 68 pp.

Soft Cover - Out of Print
$30.00 List / $22.50ASCE Member
Stock No. 737 / ISBN: 9780872627376
E-book (PDF) - Available for Download in ASCE Library
$30.00 List / $22.50ASCE Member
Stock No. 47361 / ISBN: 9780784473610

This book presents the developments in U.S. bridge building that occurred in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Encouraged by the growing need for bridges and a willingness to invest in such enterprises, American bridge builders became daring and inventive in their designs. The inventiveness led to the development of long-span wooden bridges with laminated members that were used not only for major chords but also for arched ribs in compression.

This structural evolution in bridge design culminated with the building of the "Colossus" of Philadelphia, a 340 ft, clear span wooden bridge designed and built by Lewis Wernwag in 1812. This book explains the historical context of this superstructure and discusses the Colossus in terms of its wind bracing, abutments, and structural "defects." In addition, a summary of a computer analysis of the bridge is presented. Wernwag"s innovative and superlative design for the Colossus captured the imaginations of both romantic and technological minds of the day and influenced American bridge building for some time to come.

About the Author
Lee H. Nelson, an architect, spent his professional career in the field of historic preservation, including work on Independence Hall and other structures in Philadelphia.

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