Iron, Engineers, and Urbanization

by Antoinette J. Lee, Ph.D. Candidate; George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 2, Pg. 179-195

Document Type: Journal Paper


Remains of the cast-iron age are easily found in present day cities although progress has served to erase many of them from existence. In the old sections of the downtowns, one is likely to find cast-iron front buildings—some left in quiet anonymity and others repainted in polychrome. The successes of the 18th century restorations have been widely publicized, so much so that in other historical areas of the country, well-meaning city fathers seek to mold their cities into this idyllic form. This emphasis on the 18th century serves only to further romanticize life two centuries ago while desecrating the memory of the more recent industrial past. In looking at present day cities, one should want to perceive the continuum from the origins of the city to modern times—not solely the worshipped remains of the early years among brand new structures.

Subject Headings: Iron compounds | Urban areas | Cast iron | Aging (material) | Business districts | Historic sites | Health hazards | Industries

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