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Historic Texts on Structure

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Title: Historic Texts on Structure

We have a copy of "Tredgold's Carpentry" 1828. It contains design stresses, engineering equations and great design details for timber bridges, domes and other structures. Here's an excerpt:

"In all cases, timbers that are exposed to considerable strains ought to be of good quality; therefore the data should be drawn from experiments on good timber and not from inferior specimens. For if inferior specimens were made the basis of calculation, at what point of inferiority should we begin? And how should it be described so as to enable us to compare it with any other timber? But when it is known that a piece of good timber will do, it will be easy to compare its description with that to be used. Good timber is that which is perfectly sound, straight-grained, free from large knots or other defects, particularly near the strained points, and seasoned. Specimens of this kind I marked medium in the tables of experiments. In Section X, the reader will find further information respecting the nature and qualities of different kinds of timber." Thomas Tredgold, Tredgold's Carpentry, J. Taylor publisher, 1st London edition, 1828.

We hope to scan much of this work and incorporate parts of it in each edition of Wood Design Focus (WDF) as a running series. We will then post each part of the series to the WDF website to begin preserving it.

Buddy Showalter, P.E.


From: "David Sharp" <Ausgang(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Historic Texts on Structure

I was wondering about what interesting engineering-related volumes different
list members may have collected over the years.

Most of my 'historic' volumes are (naturally) bolting related.  I did pick
up an interesting 2-volume set at a yard sale some years ago.  It is
entitled "Roofs & Bridges" by Merriman & Jacoby, (c) 1894, 1902.  Part 1 is
Stresses, and Part 2 is Bridge Design.  Fortunately, both have lots of good

AISC has quite a historic library as well.  How about the rest of you?

David Sharp
TurnaSure LLC