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Re: Negative Structures.

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>From "Bridges and their Builders," by David Steinman & Sara Watson:

"The pneumatic [caisson] method was first suggested in 1647 by the physicist 
Papin and again in 1779 by Coulomb, but it was first applied to bridge 
construction by John Wright in building the piers for a bridge at Rochester, 
England in 1851.  ... [B]y 1860 the method was generally employed throughout 
Europe.  When Eads introduced it in America, he greatly improved it and 
applied it to greater depths and on a scale never before attempted.

"... Eads returned to St. Louis in April of 1869 and immediately set about 
sinking the river piers by the pneumatic caisson method." (page 184)

and on pages 236-7 concerning the Brooklyn Bridge:

"... For this work, pneumatic caissons were adopted --- the new method of 
founding that was contemporaneously being introduced and developed on the 
Eads Bridge at St. Louis."

I guess that one would have to say that the Eads Bridge *and* the Brooklyn 
Bridge were the earliest *known* uses of pneumatic caissons in the U.S.  Both 
are great bridges built by great engineers who were pioneers in bridge 
building methods.  That one might have been slightly ahead of the other 
should not be relevant.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona