On June 30, 1857, James Oliver filed a patent application for chilling the wear face of cast-iron moldboard plows. While pouring molten cast iron in sand molds he circulated hot water through chillers to regulate the rate of cooling. Oliver's control of raw material content and cooling produced moldboards with a very hard surface and a softer, tough inner core for strength. Their fine textured wearing faces of uniform hardness maintained a mirror polish and resisted rust.
Long before Texas gushers and offshore drilling, and a century before oil wells dotted Arabian sands and rose out of Venezuelan waters, the center of petroleum production was western Pennsylvania. In the middle of the 19thcentury two developments occurred that guaranteed Pennsylvania’s dominance: The construction, in Pittsburgh, of the first still to refine crude oil into kerosene for use in lighting, and the drilling of the first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
On October 23rd, 1852 a notice was sent to practitioners of civil engineering in and near New York City requesting their participation in developing an association that would serve the professionals who design and construct America's built environment. Twelve men responded to this invitation, meeting on November 5 in the office of Alfred W. Craven, chief engineer of the Croton Aqueduct Department. These men became the founders of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Architects, later renamed the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Fate has put this mechanism in the hands of Fred Litwin, and it couldn’t have found a better curator.
On 28 April 1852 the first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling to indicate the location of a fire was placed into operation in Boston. Invented by William Channing and Moses Farmer, this system was highly successful in reducing property loss and deaths due to fire and was subsequently adopted throughout the United States and in Canada.
The Watervliet arsenal complex originally was built to house and manufacture weapons for the War of 1812. During the Civil War, it specialized in gun cartridges and artillery carriages. The facility today is a primary site for making state-of-the-art tank cannon, howitzers, mortars, and recoilless rifles.
William Emory was an 1831 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. When the Mexican War broke out, he was assigned as chief engineer officer to General Stephen Kearny, whose army traversed largely unknown territories in the West. The U.S. War Department would later print 10,000 copies of Emory's Notes of a Military Reconnaissance, which made a significant contribution to understanding the geography and topography of the Southwest.
When first proposed in 1819, the Hoosac Tunnel seemed so logical. It would provide an efficient and direct route for the Boston and Albany Railroad, whose pathway meandered 20 miles along precipitous grades. Early proponents, however, could not have imagined that blasting a 4.75 mile tunnel through the Hoosac Mountain would require over 20 years of labor. The project took so long to complete that it was commonly referred to as "The Great Bore."
"Fink's truss design was one of a number of early patented solutions to [the problem of how] to carry a massive, moving weight (a train) over long spans (to avoid the expense of building piers and obstructing waterways) on easily erected bridges (often in rough terrain) with good long-term economy..."
- Kent Farnow Smith, "America's Oldest Functioning Iron-Truss Bridge," 1978
Conceived as one of the major structures on the Prussian Eastern Railway, the Old Wisla Bridge at Tczew originally consisted of six wrought iron spans. Due to Germany's invasion of Poland at the beginning World War II in 1939, only three original spans remain today. These remaining spans represent a unique technical monument of civil engineering achievements in the mid-nineteenth century.