The most notable invention of latter days in bridge construction is that of the cantilever bridge, which is a system devised to dispense with staging, or false works, where from the great depth, or the swift current, of the river, this would be difficult, or, as in the case of the Niagara River, impossible to make.
The first design of which we have any record was that of a bridge planned by Thomas Pope, a ship carpenter of New York, who, in 1810, published a book giving his designs for an arched bridge of timber across the North River at Castle Point, of 2,400 feet span. Mr. Pope called this an arch, but his description clearly shows it to have been what we now call a cantilever. As was the fashion of the day, he indulged in a poetical description:
"Like half a Rainbow rising on yon shore,
While its twin partner spans the semi o'er,
And makes a perfect whole that need not part
Till time has furnish'd us a nobler art."
- The American Railway
Its Construction, Development, Management, and Appliances
Thomas Curtis Clarke
Available from gutenberg.org
- Posted on
- Friday 22 October 2021