The first bridge
The Quebec Bridge, spanning the St. Lawrence about nine miles above Quebec, replaced an earlier structure designed by Thomas Cooper in 1900 to carry the railway over the river. On 29 August 1907 it collapsed without warning in a matter of only fifteen seconds, killing several men and making bridge history as the most spectacular structural failure to that time. A photograph of the ruins shows the entire bridge virtually unrecognizable as such, the structure compressed into a compact mass of steel spaghetti.
As a result of the investigation, the detailing of compression members in particular and bridge engineering in general were raised to a much higher level of scientific analysis and design.