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Bridge Failures

Collection Creator:
Roebling, Charles Gustavus, 1849-1918  Search this
Roebling, Ferdinand W. (Ferdinand William), 1842-1917  Search this
John A. Roebling's Sons Company  Search this
Roebling, John Augustus, 1806-1869  Search this
Roebling, Washington Augustus, 1837-1926.  Search this
Collection Collector:
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI.  Search this
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Container:
Box 12, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1916-1952
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
John A. Roebling Collection, dates, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John A. Roebling Collection
John A. Roebling Collection / Series 6: Reference materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0981-ref206

"The Charleston Bridge Failure"

Collection Creator:
Tyrrell, Henry Grattan, 1867-1948  Search this
Collection Collector:
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI.  Search this
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Collection Author:
Tyrrell, Mary Maude Knox  Search this
Container:
Box 7, Folder 21
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Henry Grattan Tyrrell and Mary Maude Knox Tyrrell Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Henry Grattan Tyrrell and Mary Maude Knox Tyrrell Papers
Henry Grattan Tyrrell and Mary Maude Knox Tyrrell Papers / Series 5: Publications / 5.3: Article drafts, submission copies
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0948-ref186

Quebec Bridge Photograph Collection

Donor:
Enterline, Stevenson  Search this
Eney, William J.  Search this
Collector:
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Engineering and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI.  Search this
Engineering and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI.  Search this
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Creator:
Quebec Bridge Company.  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (3 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photograph albums
Postcards
Photographs
Place:
Canada
Quebec
Date:
1905-1986
bulk 1905-1916
Summary:
The collection documents the construction of the first and second Quebec Bridges over the St. Lawrence River. Construction on the first bridge began in 1900 and the bridge collapsed before completion in 1907. Construction on the second Quebec Bridge, which is the longest cantilever bridge in the world, was completed in 1917.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the construction of the first and second Quebec Bridges over the St. Lawrence River primarily through photographs. The collection is arranged into two series: Series 1, Photographic Materials, 1905-1965 and Series 2, Other Materials, 1916-1986.

Series 1, Photographic Materials, 1905-1965, is divided into two subseries: Subseries 1.1, Photographs, 1907-1965 and Subseries 1.2, Photograph Album, 1905. The black-and-white photographs primarily document the construction of the second Quebec Bridge, 1907-1917. Many of these photographs were taken in a workshop where the production of the bridge parts and building materials occurred. One picture, marked number 24, is of the Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden, attending the construction site in October 1913. This series also contains photographs of the 1907 bridge collapse and pictures taken in 1965 of the current second bridge. Subseries 2, Photograph Album, 1905, documents the construction of the first Quebec cantilever bridge. The album contains mounted black-and-white photographs taken between May 12 and November 23, 1905.

Series 2, Other Materials, 1916-1986, consists of newspaper articles and postcards. The newspaper articles detail the 1916 construction accident on the second Quebec bridge; one 1917 article about the bridge; and one 1986 article about the 1907 collapse of the first bridge. There are three postcards, both black-and-white and color, of the Quebec Bridge.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into two series.

Series 1, Photographic Materials, 1905-1965

Subseries 1, Photographs, 1907-1965

Subseries 2, Photograph Album, 1905

Series 2, Other Materials, 1916-1986
Biographical / Historical:
The first Quebec Bridge was built over the St. Lawrence River in order to connect important railroad lines.[1] This bridge collapsed on August 29, 1907, killing 79 men.[2] The engineers for the second bridge were Maurice Fitzmaurice, H.E. Vautelet, and Ralph Modjeska.[3]

Notes: [1] "Bridge of 1,800-FT. Span Across the St. Lawrence," Popular Mechanics Vol. 8, No. 12 December 1906

[2]"Wrecked Quebec Bridge to be Recommended"[3] "Wrecked Quebec Bridge to be Recommended"
Provenance:
Originally collected for the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering's reference collections; exact date and source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Topic:
Bridges -- Design and construction  Search this
Bridges -- Canada  Search this
Bridge failures  Search this
Bridges -- Quebec  Search this
Rivers -- Quebec  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photograph albums -- 20th century
Postcards -- 1900-1920
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1900-1950
Citation:
Quebec Bridge Photograph Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1026
See more items in:
Quebec Bridge Photograph Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1026
Online Media:

Modjeski and Masters Company Records

Collector:
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI.  Search this
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI.  Search this
Creator:
Modjeski and Masters  Search this
Names:
Masters, Frank, 1883-1974  Search this
Modjeski, Ralph, 1861-1940  Search this
Interviewer:
Vogel, Robert M.  Search this
Extent:
60 Cubic feet (139 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Oral history
Lantern slides
Photographs
Drawings
Contracts
Letterpress books
Correspondence
Place:
Harrisburg (Penn.)
Pennsylvania
Date:
1870-1979
bulk 1900-1940
Summary:
The records document the work of consulting engineers and bridge builders, Ralph Modjeski (1861-1940) and Frank Masters (1883-1974) of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents the civil engineering career of Ralph Modjeski (1861-1940) and Frank masters (1883-1974). The materials include bound volumes and loose photographs of bridge work-in-progress; printed reports; articles, pamphlets; drawings, blue prints and tracings of bridges; letterpress books of correspondence; contracts; reports; studies of bridge materials; and glass plate negatives and lantern slides depicting bridges.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into ten series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1915-1986

Series 2: Letter Press Books, 1898-1906

Series 3: Photographs, 1878-1979

Series 4: Contracts, 1895-1960

Series 5: Printed Materials, 1862-1969

Series 6: Newspaper Clippings, 1924-1941

Series 7: Lantern Slides, undated

Series 8: Glass Plate Negatives, 1906-1926

Series 9: Film Negatives, 1924, undated

Series 10: Drawings, 1901-1952
Biographical / Historical:
Rudolphe Modrzejewski was born to Helena Jadwiga Opid (d.1909) and Gustav Sinnmayer Modrzejewski (d. 1901) on January 27, 1861, in Cracow, Poland. His mother was an internationally known stage actress who went by the name Helena Modrzejewska. In 1868, Helena married Count Karol Bożenta Chłapowski. In July 1876, Helena and Rudolphe emigrated to America, where, for purposes of American citizenship, the Polish form of their surname was later changed to Modjeski (feminine form Modjeska). Modjeski became a naturalized citizen in 1883 in San Francisco, California.

In 1882, Modjeski returned to Europe to study at the Ecole Des Ponts et Chaussees and graduated in 1885 with a degree in civil engineering. Modjeski worked with prominent civil engineer and "Father of American Bridge Building," George S. Morison, on the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge over the Missouri River at Omaha as an assistant engineer. He remained with Morison from 1885 to 1892. Some of his assignments included working in the shops which produced steel sections; the design office where he advanced to chief draftsman; and as an inspector of quality control in shops that fabricated steel elements. Modjeski worked with Morison on his Willamette, Nebraska City, Sioux City, Winona, Cairo, and Memphis bridges across the Mississippi River. The Memphis bridge was the longest span cantilever in the country at the time.

In 1893, Modjeski opened a civil engineering practice in Chicago with S. Nicholson. After some financial difficulties, Nicholson and Modjeski dissolved their partnership. Modjeskis first individual large commission was the bridge at Rock Island, Illinois (1895) across the Mississippi River where he designed and supervised the construction of the bridge for the federal government and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company.

In 1902, Modjeski went into partnership with fellow civil engineer, Alfred Noble (1844-1914) forming the firm of Noble and Modjeski. He went into partnership with Walter Angier, under the name Modjeski and Angier, civil and inspecting engineers, between 1912 and 1924 with several offices around the United States. Angiers had worked with him beginning in 1902 on the bridge across the Mississippi at Thebes, Illinois. Modjeski partnered, in 1924, with Frank Masters (1883-1974), who had worked with him and Angiers between 1904 and 1914 on the Memphis and Louisville Bridges, forming Modjeski and Masters. Clement E. Chase and Montgomery B. Case later joined the firm as partners. In 1937, Masters assumed full control and ownership of the firm which specialized in the design and construction supervision of large bridges and other structures, rehabilitation and reconstruction of existing bridges, the design of highways and expressways, subways and wharves, the design of large and complex foundations, inspection of construction materials, and the creation of surveys, investigations and reports.

Modjeski builtand/or consulted on over forty bridges in his lifetime. He built truss, steel arch, and suspension bridges. He introduced steel tower pylons in place of masonry towers and he used better grades of steel, such as new steel alloys with improved strength and durability. He also introduced advancements in the design of cable configurations and deck-stiffening beams. Some of his major projects included: the Columbia River and Willamette bridges, McKinley Bridge at St. Louis; the Celilo Railroad Bridge at Celilio, Ohio; the Thebes Bridge over the Mississippi; the Quebec Bridge over the St. Lawrence River; the Delaware River Bridge; the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

On December 28, 1885, Modjeski married Felicie Benda (d. 1936) in New York and the couple had three children: Felix Bozenta Modjeski (1887); Marylka Stuart Modjeski (1894) and Charles Emmanuel John Modjeski (1896-1944). Ralph and Felicie divorced in 1931. He later married Virginia Giblyn on July 7, 1931. Modjeski died in Los Angles on June 26, 1940.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Bollman Truss Bridge Collection, 1852-1986 (AC1064)

Canadian Bridges Photograph Albums, 1873-1911 (AC1025)

Victor C. Darnell Bridge Construction Photographs, 1911-1913 and undated (AC1018)

Beata Drake Covered Bridge Collection, 1954-1981 (AC0998)

Ben Franklin Bridge Photograph Album, 1922-1926 (AC1029)

Hartford, Connecticut Bridge Collection, 1903-1905 (AC1066)

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad Bridge Profiles, 1877-1896 (AC1073)

Richard H. Miller Bridge Collection : postcards and slides, circa 1950-1988 and undated, #950

George S. Morison Collection, 1846-1903 (AC0978)

Niagara Falls Bridge Commission Records, 1848-1946 (bulk 1890-1929) (AC1060)

Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge Construction Photograph Album, 1883-1884 (AC1030)

David Plowden North American Bridge Photographs, 1970-1976 (AC1019)

Quebec Bridge Photograph Collection, 1905-1986 (bulk 1905-1916) (AC1026)

Railroad Bridges Construction Photograph Album, circa 1905-1914 (AC1024)

Samuel Reed Bridge Collection, 1947-1964 (AC1001)

Rip Van Winkle Bridge Photographs, 1933-1935 (AC1027)

John A. Roebling Collection,1836-1975 (bulk 1930-1950) (AC0981)

Holton Duncan Robinson Papers, 1889-1938 (AC0963)

Lucinda Rudell Covered Bridges Collection, 1942-1979 (AC1028)

Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera, 1876-2010 (bulk 1973-2008) (AC1244)

Washington, D.C. Bridges Collection, 1900-1905 (AC01095)

Raymond E. Wilson Covered Bridge Collection, 1958-1974 (AC0999)

Materials at Other Organizations

Southern Illinois University, Morris Library Special Collections

Walter E. Angier photograph collection, 1901-1915

Walter E. Angier Vertical File Manuscript, 1924

Michigan Historical Collections, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Alfred Noble Papers, 1862-1922
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Modejeski and Masters Consulting Engineers, through Joseph J. Scherrer, October 2, 1990.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Civil engineering  Search this
Bridge failures  Search this
Bridges  Search this
Genre/Form:
Oral history -- 1950-1970
Lantern slides
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Glass
Drawings
Contracts
Letterpress books
Photographs -- 19th century
Correspondence
Citation:
Modjeski and Masters Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0976
See more items in:
Modjeski and Masters Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0976
Online Media:

Design paradigms : case histories of error and judgment in engineering / Henry Petroski

Author:
Petroski, Henry  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 209 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1994
Topic:
Engineering design--Case studies  Search this
System failures (Engineering)--Case studies  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_512728

West Gate / by Bill Hitching

Author:
Hitchings, Bill  Search this
Physical description:
172 p. ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Australia
Melbourne (Vic.)
Yarra River
Date:
1979
Topic:
Bridge failures  Search this
Bridges  Search this
West Gate Bridge  Search this
Accidents  Search this
Call number:
TG470 .H67 1979
TG470.H67 1979
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_436132

The failure of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge; a reprint of original reports. A contribution to the work of the Advisory Board on the Investigation of Suspension Bridges by the United States Public Roads Administration and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas

Author:
Advisory Board on the Investigation of Suspension Bridges  Search this
United States Bureau of Public Roads  Search this
Texas Engineering Experiment Station  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (various pagings) illus., plates. 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Date:
1944
Topic:
Bridge failures  Search this
Suspension bridges  Search this
Call number:
TG400.A3X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_190495

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