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The Reading-Halls Station Bridge

Emory L. Kemp and Richard K. Anderson, Jr.
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 13, No. 1 (1987), pp. 17-40
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40968124
Page Count: 24
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The Reading-Halls Station Bridge
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Abstract

The Reading-Halls Bridge is both the oldest-known, active iron truss bridge in the United States and one of the earliest ever to be erected in the country. Designed by Richard B. Osborne, who designed the very first all-iron American railway truss bridge in 1845, the Reading-Halls Bridge appears to be one of a small group of iron trusses erected only months later in 1846. In documenting the bridge for the Historic American Engineering Record, the authors attempt to establish the bridge's somewhat elusive construction date and describe the historical and technological trends which led to the American iron truss bridge's emergence in the 1840s. The authors also compare a modern structural analysis of the Reading-Halls trusses with 1840s' analytical traditions to gain insight into Osborne's design process. Illustrated by photographs and measured drawings done by HAER, the bridge is presented as a technological relic which is nationally significant for its survival and its transitional place in the evolution of American truss bridge engineering.

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