In the 19th century, New York City was a burgeoning industrial and commercial metropolis - the largest city in the United States and second largest in the world. As the city's population increased, people began to call for construction of an underground railway. Many unusual engineering challenges had to be overcome, not the least of which was construction in a dense urban area. After lengthy legal battles over property rights and the debt limit of the city, ground was broken on March 24, 1900.
The 1905 Wright Flyer III, built by Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright, was the world's first airplane capable of sustained, maneuverable flight. Similar in design to their celebrated first airplane, this machine featured a stronger structure, a larger engine turning new "bent-end" propellers, and greater control-surface area for improved safety and maneuverability.
When opened in 1903, the 1,600 foot long main span of the Williamsburg Bridge was the world's longest suspension span, surpassing the nearby Brooklyn Bridge by only 4.5 feet. The Williamsburg Bridge remained the world's longest suspension bridge span for 21 years until the opening of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1924. The Williamsburg Bridge has two unsuspended side spans of 596.5 feet, each supported from below by trussed towers, giving the bridge an overall length of 2,793 feet. The four main suspension cables are 18.75 inches in diameter and each composed of over 10,000 wires.
Combining British financing, American engineering, and Canadian contracting, the White Pass and Yukon was the first major civil engineering project on the continent above the 60th degree of northern latitude. Completed in 27 months using only hand tools, black powder, and regional timber, the White Pass and Yukon rises almost 2,900 feet from sea level at the port of Skagway to the White Pass summit on the U.S.-Canada border in just 20 miles, accomplishing one of the steepest climbs of any railroad in the world.
The steel dome stretches 200 feet in diameter and rises 100 feet at its top. To accommodate thermal expansion, the inverted bowl-shaped structure originally rested on rollers that sat on the flat tops of six-story columns
There was a time when Americans from the Eastern seaboard braved long rail trips to southern Indiana in hopes that the water at the French Lick natural mineral springs could bring relief from alcoholism, pimples, gallstones and a host of other ailments and illnesses.
Located at the northern tip of Michigan where Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron join together, the Sault Ste. Marie Hydroelectric Power Complex was built to harness the hydroelectric potential of the 20-foot falls at the headwaters of the St. Marys (sic) River, the sole outlet of Lake Superior. A century after its construction, the plant remains the largest low-head hydroelectric facility in the United States. Today, the Sault Ste. Marie plant supplies electricity to area residents, especially those in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The third bridge built on the same site to carry railroad tracks across the Susquehanna River just north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge, at 3,820 feet long and 52 feet wide, is believed to be the longest and widest stone-arch railroad bridge in the world. A central link in rail travel between New York City and Pittsburgh, the Rockville Stone Arch Bridge accommodates four lines of railroad tracks, today serving both the Norfolk Southern and Amtrak lines.
Installed alongside an Epping Carpenter pump that was later scrapped, this water pump was built by Allis-Chalmers, which for many years had Edwin Reynolds as its chief engineer. Driven by a Corliss steam engine, these large city water pumps were installed in Jacksonville's water supply improvement program in 1915, and each pumped 5 million gallons of water a day until 1930 when the first of the electric-driven peripheral pumping stations began operating. Steam engine operation was discontinued in 1956.
The concept of heating a number of buildings in the core area of a city from a single heating plant was introduced into the United States by Birdsill Holly at Lockport, New York, in 1877. The gain in thermal efficiency of a single large steam plant over a series of small isolated boilers led to…Read More
Late in life, the renowned structural engineer Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) embarked on aeronautical research. Reliable data and repeatable research methods were rare in the early 1900s, but Eiffel brought an engineer's discipline to the field. In the process, he produced the most accurate…Read More
The Georgetown Steam Plant, a surprisingly complete and operable steam power plant after a career of nearly seventy-five years, was built in the early 1900s when Seattle's inexpensive hydroelectric power attracted manufacturers. Much of the power produced at this plant operated the streetcars.…Read More
Originally known as the Coolgardie Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, the Goldfields Water Supply, Western Australia, has exceptional and unique cultural significance for Australia. Western Australia's first Premier, the dynamic and visionary Sir John Forrest, recognized the need for this…Read More
At its completion, the 5.8-mile Gunnison Tunnel under western Colorado's Vernal Mesa was the longest irrigation tunnel in America. It carried water from the Gunnison River to the Uncompahgre Valley to irrigate 146,000 acres of cropland.
Work on the 30,582-foot tunnel was first performed…Read More
Prior to 1909 the traditional fishtail bit scraped the rock and quickly dulled in service. The Hughes two-cone bit's revolutionary rolling action crushed hard-rock formations with twin cone-shaped, hardened steel bits, each with 166 cutting edges, revolving on bronze bearings shaped to provide a…Read More
The 16-story Ingalls Building, still in use today, was the world's first reinforced concrete skyscraper. Its success led to the acceptance of high-rise concrete construction in the United States.
Melville E. Ingalls, for whom the building is named, spent two years convincing city…Read More
This ironworks exemplified the adaptability required for industrial survival in a dynamic technical environment. It was a major western producer of mechanical equipment used in mining (especially large hydraulic machines), ship propulsion, irrigation, power generation, optical telescope mounts,…Read More
When opened in 1909, the 1,470 foot long main span of the Manhattan Bridge was the third longest suspension bridge span in the world, after the nearby Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges. The Manhattan Bridge has two 725 foot long suspended side spans for an overall length of 2,920 feet. The…Read More
Designed by Claude A. P. Turner, a pioneer of reinforced concrete construction, the Marshall Building was constructed originally in 1906 as a five-story building. In 1911 the sixth floor of the building was added as per Turner's original design. This building is the oldest extant example of…Read More
When Ford Motor Company introduced its new Model T on October 1, 1908, even an inveterate optimist like Henry Ford (1863-1947) could not predict the vast changes that his rather homely new vehicle would produce. What flowed from this series of bold innovations was more than an endless stream of…Read More
The Northern Pacific High Line Bridge No. 64, built between 1907 and 1908, has continued to perform yeoman service in the uninterrupted flow of the Nation's commerce. Nearly, 100 years after this bridge officially opened, it still carries 125-ton car unit coal trains, double stack container…Read More
For more than a century, scientists at Rockefeller University have enhanced our understanding of the molecular basis of life — specifically the relationship between the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins. They showed that DNA transfers genetic information and that the sugars…Read More
In 1900, Moses Gomberg, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, confirmed the existence of a stable, trivalent organic free radical: triphenylmethyl. In so doing, he challenged the then prevailing belief that carbon could have only four chemical bonds. Gomberg’s discovery made a…Read More
This is the oldest operating vessel with a diagonal, compound steam engine, with disc valve gear. Operating at a higher pressure than the oscillating-cylinder engines then used in lake steamers, this type of engine was more powerful and efficient, as well as smaller. The compound engine, built…Read More
No image dominates the Midwestern landscape like the monolithic grain elevator, whose present shape and construction owe much to grain company operator Frank Peavy and architect-builder Charles Haglin.
Wanting to improve on the flammability and cost of traditional wood-cribbed…Read More