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By Henry Petroski

Petroski finds the technology and engineering--not to say the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's nice bridges, really these developed in the course of the nice bridge-building period beginning within the 1870s and carrying on with during the Thirties. it's the tale of the lads and girls who outfitted the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not just on their mastery of numbers yet on their presents for persuasion and self-promotion. it truly is an account of triumphs and ignominious mess ups (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which accurately twisted itself aside in a excessive wind). And all through this grandly enticing ebook, Petroski shall we us see how bridges grew to become the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, in addition to testaments to their developers' imaginative and prescient, ingenuity, and perseverance.

"Seamlessly linked...With mind-blowing scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski areas the culture of yank bridge-building in perspective."--New York instances e-book evaluate

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Neither is the shortcoming of creative expertise, wherein it truly is usually attainable to enhance at the plans of others, or to plan new ones, in any respect essential to represent an capable engineer, or to insure specialist good fortune. it truly is of a lot higher value that the engineer, on whom rests the accountability of a piece, may be powerfuble to choose the easiest units proposed by way of his assistants, or utilized by others, than for you to invent novel ones himself. the duty to undertake the easiest is, besides the fact that, now not incompatible with a beneficiant regard for the rights or advantages of others, and his specialist popularity won't ever endure by way of giving such credits to them as could be justly due. The alternate among Eads and Roebling could have been specifically emotional as a result undesirable reports either males had had individually, and thanks to their workmen’s struggling with the bends and different problems within the pressurized caissons. overdue in 1870, a hearth had damaged out within the Brooklyn caisson, and Roebling labored himself to near-exhaustion directing operations to extinguish it. Spending rather a lot time within the compressed and smoke-filled air brought on him to endure an assault of the bends and stay paralyzed for a few hours. He recovered, purely to endure a way more critical assault within the big apple caisson in 1872, whilst he with reference to demise. He recovered back, besides the fact that, or looked as if it would, and went again to lively paintings at the bridge. yet by means of the tip of the yr, he used to be in severe ache and regularly ill to his belly, and he and Emily went to Europe for his future health. He by no means did absolutely regain his energy, and was once to spend 3 years in Trenton whereas the bridge towers have been accomplished. finally, he turned bedridden, in a room that ignored the bridge less than development, with Emily successfully serving as assistant engineer and middleman among the incapacitated leader engineer and his lieutenants at the development web site. although an engineer like Eads or Roebling dominates the tale of a given bridge at a given time, that engineer is sometimes not just one amongst many engaged on comparable difficulties contemporaneously, but in addition consistently established upon the assistant engineers chargeable for some of the elements of every better venture. one of the younger males Washington Roebling had employed as assistants presently after his father’s dying was once Francis Collingwood, Jr. , who in 1855 had graduated first in his category from Rensselaer Institute, the place the more youthful Roebling had met him. Collingwood had labored as a urban engineer in his native land of Elmira, long island, and within the kin jewellery company earlier than being requested by means of Roebling to assist the self-taught engineer William Paine at the Brooklyn caisson. although Collingwood agreed merely to a quick engagement, he grew to become so concerned that he was once between these engineers believed to were in a position to taking cost of the paintings within the occasion of Roebling’s dying, and remained linked to the paintings till its finishing touch in 1883. Collingwood’s exclusive profession at the Brooklyn Bridge venture, and later as a consulting engineer, is remembered this day within the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Collingwood Prize, which he instituted and endowed in 1894 to acknowledge younger engineers who post technical papers of outstanding sensible benefit.

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