Skip to main content

1869

Joining of the Rails - Transcontinental Railroad
Society: ASCEMain Category: CivilSub Category: Rail TransportationEra: 1860-1869DateCreated: 1869Golden Spike RdPromontoryState: UTZip: 84307Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/project/joining-of-the-rails--transcontinental-rr/Creator: Union Pacific Railroad, Central Pacific Railroad

"May God continue the unity of our Country as this Railroad unites the two great Oceans of the world."  
- Inscription on the ceremonial Golden Spike 

The symbolic Golden Spike, staked in Promontory, Utah in 1869, marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, joining the Union Pacific Railroad from the East and the Central Pacific Railroad from the west. 

Image Credit: Courtesy of the National Park ServiceImage Caption: A crowd of 1,500 assembled in Promontory for the ceremony to join the rails and, symbolically, the nation.Era_date_from: 1869
Bollman Truss Bridge
Society: ASCEMain Category: CivilSub Category: Bridges, TransportationEra: 1860-1869DateCreated: 1869Little Patuxent RiverSavageState: MDCountry: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/Project/Bollman-Truss-Bridge/Creator: Bollman, Wendel

The design of the Bollman Truss Bridge-patented in 1852 and one of the first to use iron exclusively in all essential structural elements-was critical in the rapid expansion of American railroads in the 19th century. Replacing wooden bridges, which  were cumbersome to build and vulnerable to decay, the Bollman Truss Bridge could be built relatively quickly and inexpensively, while providing the long-lasting qualities associated with metal. This allowed new rail lines to be built over long distances in a short period of time.

YearAdded:
1966
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Andrew Bossi (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Bollman Truss Bridge as it looks today, after the repairs done in 1934-84.Era_date_from: 1869
Suez Canal Project
Society: ASCEMain Category: CivilSub Category: Water TransportationEra: 1860-1869DateCreated: 1869Canal del EslaIsmailiaCountry: EgyptWebsite: http://www.asce.org/project/suez-canal/Creator: de Lesseps, Ferdinand , Suez Canal Company

The idea of creating a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea is a very old one that dates back about 4000 years to the ancient Egyptians. They thought of linking the two seas by using the River Nile and its branches. It was this very old desire that led to the digging of the present Suez Canal.  

YearAdded:
2003
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/eutrophication&hypoxia (CC BY 2.0)Image Caption: Suez Canal ProjectEra_date_from: 1869
Mount Washington Cog Railway
Society: ASMEMain Category: MechanicalSub Category: Rail TransportationEra: 1860-1869DateCreated: 1869Mt. WashingtonCoos CountyState: NHZip: 03589Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/Project/Mount-Washington-Cog-Railway/Creator: Aiken, Walter, Marsh, Sylvester

People thought inventor Walter Aiken was crazy when he proposed a railway to the top of Mt. Washington.  Aiken built a model of the roadbed and track with a cog rail system, but entrepreneur Sylvester Marsh is credited for launching the Cog Railway and bringing Aiken's ideas to fruition.

In 1858 Marsh applied to the New Hampshire Legislature for a charter to build and operate the steam railway and was granted permission in 1859.  Legend has it that an amendment was added offering permission to extend the railway to the moon.

YearAdded:
1975
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Mount Washington Cog RailwayEra_date_from: 1869
Rumford Baking Powder
Society: ACSMain Category: ChemicalSub Category: New ProductsEra: 1860-1869DateCreated: 1869Rumford Chemical WorksRumfordState: RICountry: USAWebsite: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakingpowder.html, https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakingpowder/jcr:content/articleContent/columnsbootstrap/column1/image.scale.large.jpg/1380308929369.jpgCreator: Horsford, Eben

Bread is considered a basic foodstuff; eaten down through the ages, it continues to be a staple of the modern diet. The development of baking powder made baking easier, quicker and more reliable for bakers in the mid-19th century. Eben Horsford’s unique formula was an important innovation and made the making of biscuits, cookies and other quick baking products simpler than before.

 

The commemorative plaques read:

YearAdded:
2006
Image Credit: Courtesy Wikicommons/Lou Sander (CC BY-SA 3.0)Image Caption: In 2006 Rumford Baking Powder was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance for making baking easier, quicker, and more reliable. Ingredients are monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and cornstarch.
Subscribe to 1869

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.