Ellet's Contribution to the Development of Suspension Bridges

by Emory L. Kemp, (M.ASCE), Prof. and Chmn.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 3, Pg. 331-351

Document Type: Journal Paper


The United States has become pre-eminent in the field of long-span wire suspension bridges. The development of this unique mode of construction in this country can be traced to the pioneering efforts of Charles Ellet, Jr. Ellet may rightfully be considered to be the father of the modern American suspension bridge because he introduced and promoted the principles and design features of the wire suspension bridge in America; he successfully completed the first major wire suspension bridge in the United States in 1841; he designed and constructed the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which was for many years the longest bridge in the world. Through his many publications, he established all of the principles of analysis, design, and construction necessary to build long-span suspension bridges.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Infrastructure construction | Suspension bridges | Span bridges | Bridge tests | Distinguished engineers | Publications | Design/Build | United States

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