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Re: Technology and Structural Engineering

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I realize that I'm the only person on this list who remembers what engineering was like in the 1960s, but the mechanics of producing calcs., specs., and drawings were SO much more difficult, and the physical quality was so much lower.  I emphasize PHYSICAL quality because I DO NOT mean engineering quality.  I mean illegible calculations (not spread sheets, etc.), actual cut-and-paste and then type and mimeograph specifications, and "Xerox" things one page at a time, and erasing your way through the tracing.  Hail, I even knew architects who still used ink on linen!  Now we have recent graduates who can design 100 story high rises over night, complete with color-coded working drawings, having analyzed 100 load combinations, but the welds fail in an earthquake.   Oops!  Supposedly the guy who designed the Seattle Space Needle just stuck 3 of the heaviest WF shapes made into a triangle for each leg and checked it with his slide rule ... and it's still there! 

Enuf reminiscing. 

Wouldn't go back for the world.  :)

Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA USA

In a message dated 8/30/05 9:35:21 PM, chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com writes:
That said, I'm not all that certain that the technology doesn't seem to
have made across-the-board improvements in engineering productivity,
certainly not in the manufacturing areas where I work. I've heard a lot
of claims, usually by software developers, but I don't see as much
overall impact in particularly improved design methodology, lower costs
or shorter design lead times.