"The Railroad Bridge over the Aare near Busswyl"

Die Eisenbahnbrücke über die Aare bei Busswyl auf der Berner Staatsbahn zwischen Bern und Biel. (Zürich : Meyer & Zeller, 1868). Folio (46,5 x 30,0 cm).

acquired in 2018

One of the 20th century's leading bridge-builders was born a scant three kilometers away from the Iron Library. Othmar Ammann, who was born in Feuerthalen in 1879, emigrated to the United States in 1904, where he became the "father of the largest bridges of New York City" and one of the most influential bridge engineers. Among his achievements, he was consulting engineer for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 and responsible for planning the spectacular Varrazano Narrows bridge in New York in 1964.

The plates contain overview plans, a graphic representation of the progress of construction, illustrations of the foundation equipment and caissons, details of the latticework, a free body diagram, and details of the construction costs. The four-span lattice truss bridge over the Aare, with a total span length of 171 meters, was built near the village of Busswil (close to Büren in the canton of Berne) in 1863-64 – in the book presented here the village is still known as Busswyl; it merged with the neighboring town of Lyss in 2011. The bridge is the most important engineering feat on the railroad line between Bienne and Berne opened on 1 June 1864.

But this bridge also sets a record even though this record is literally hidden underground: it is the first bridge in Switzerland whose foundations were built with pneumatic caissons, i.e. caissons lowered into the river bed and filled with compressed air (Encyclopädie des gesamten Eisenbahnwesens, Bd. 1, p. 467).

The core of the description of the book was kindly provided by the antiquarian bookseller Meinhard Knigge (Hamburg), from whom the Iron Library acquired the volume.

The book in IRONCAT

"Die Eisenbahnbrücke über die Aare bei Busswyl" in IRONCAT