Structural Iron 1750–1850: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Structural Iron 1750–1850

1st Edition

Edited by R.J.M. Sutherland


424 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787587
pub: 1998-01-28
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This book deals with the period when iron became the dominant ’high-technology’ material, increasingly taking over from timber and masonry. It was necessary for the engines and machines of the new industries, but equally vital for the vast civil engineering works which supported this industrialisation. It was these works - mills, warehouses, dockyards, and above all bridges - which so impressed the public in the early 19th century. The papers selected here trace the evolving structural uses of cast and wrought iron in frames and roofs for buildings, and look in particular at the development of bridge design and construction, in America, France, and Russia, as well as in Britain. They cover the processes of design and testing, and at the same time throw much light on the attitudes and careers of the engineers themselves.


'[Sutherland’s]…pedigree as editor of such a volume is therefore beyond dispute…he brings magisterial authority to the volume’s Introduction….this volume [is]…to be very much welcomed by industrial archaeologists for focusing attention on the wealth of published material on subjects crucial to our understanding of the engineering infrastructure of modern society and for making the material so easily accessible….' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1 'The aim of Ashgate's twelve volume series is to bring together collections of important papers on particular topics from scholarly journals, conference proceedings and other hard-to-access sources. This is a wholly laudable objective. Some of the papers in the volume under review [The Civil Engineering of Canals and Railways before 1850] cannot be found even in abundantly-resourced academic libraries. The series opens up, directly or indirectly, debates over the nature of historical evidence which arise from the profoundly different approaches to the past of historians of technology, whose works are principally represented in these volumes, industrial archaeologists and social and economic historians.' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1

Table of Contents

Contents: The use of cast iron in building, S.B. Hamilton; The first iron frames, A. W. Skempton and H.R. Johnson; The development of the cast iron frame in textile mills to 1850, R.S. Fitzgerald; The age of cast iron 1780-1850: who sized the beams?, R.J.M. Sutherland; Richard Turner and the Palm House at Kew Gardens, E.J. Diestelkamp; Matthew Clark and the origins of Russian structural engineering 1810-40s: an introductory biography, S.J Fedorov; Shipbuilding and the long span roof, R.J. M. Sutherland; James Finley and the modern suspension bridge, E.L. Kemp; Samuel Brown: his influence on the design of suspension bridges, T. Day; Navier and the introduction of suspension bridges in France, A. Picon; Ellet’s contribution to the development of suspension bridges, E.L. Kemp; The first iron bridges, B. Trinder; Early 19th-century developments in truss design in Britain, France and the United States, D.A. Gasparini and C. Provost; The introduction of structural wrought iron, R.J.M. Sutherland; Structural model testing and the design of British railway bridges in the 19th century, D. Smith; The evolution of iron bridge trusses to 1850; J.G. James; Russian iron bridges to 1850, J.G. James; Index.

About the Series

Studies in the History of Civil Engineering

From dams to cathedrals, from water supply to transport systems, and from land drainage to the design and construction of ever larger and more monumental buildings, the impact of civil engineering on human history has been immense. This series sets out to examine key aspects of its history, from antiquity to the early 20th century.

Studies in the History of Civil Engineering focuses on the following areas: the analysis of early structures to discover how ancient or medieval builders used the materials available to them, and the principles upon which they worked; the ideas and practices of design as employed by both engineers and architects; the development of new materials and techniques, from wooden trusses to cast iron and concrete; the investigation of the great engineering projects that began to burgeon with the 18th century, first in Britain, then elsewhere, underpinned by advances in science which provided a new theoretical framework upon which to base the engineering.

These volumes reveal the implications for the history of architecture of choices of material, technique and structure. They aim also to reflect the political and economic constraints which so often shaped what could be achieved, and the inter-relationship between the history of civil engineering and economic history: the engineering was both stimulated by, and made possible the spread of industrialization.

Not least, the series is concerned to examine the lives, attitudes and careers of the men who emerged to form the new profession of the engineer. Studies in the History of Civil Engineering comprises 12 volumes. Each focuses on a particular topic, edited by an expert in that field. They reprint a selection of papers which have proved of particular importance, and which exemplify the current state of knowledge and the historiography. Originally published in wide range of scholarly journals, conference proceedings and the like, many hard to consult, these papers are now reprinted together under hard covers, making them readily accessible, even for non-specialists. Each volume opens with a substantial new introduction by the editor, to assess the field and place the papers in their context, and is fully indexed. The series constitutes an authoritative reference library, not just for those interested in the history of civil engineering, but also those studying economic history and the history of science and, above all, of architecture.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General