Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
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Strength and Design
British Bridges
Missouri Bridges

Bridges of the British Isles

The Menai Suspension Bridge
Britannia Bridge / Building the Tubes
Floating the Tubes
Raising the Tubes
The Forth Bridge

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Dempsey, G. Drysdale (d. 1859)
Tubular and other iron girder bridges, particularly describing the Britannia and Conway tubular bridges.
London, John Weale, 1850.
Water Supply
Image Index

The tubes for the Britannia Bridge were raised into position by hydraulic presses. The presses were mounted at the top of the towers and connected to the floating tubes by chains of wrought iron links. The length of throw of the hydraulic presses was exactly the same as the length of the chain links, so when the press reached the top of its travel, the tubes were wedged into position, a set of links was removed from each chain, and the press was reset. As a safety precaution, the masonry below the tubes was filled in as the tubes were raised, which proved wise, for on one occasion the hydraulic engine failed and the tube dropped, but because of the masonry support, it fell only a few inches and was undamaged.


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