Great Engineers & Scientists Blog

Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

Previous in Blog: Amar Bose: Engineer, Inventor, and Industrialist (1929-2013)   Next in Blog: Arthur Casagrande: Early Geotechnical Engineer (1902-1981)
Close
Close
Close
2 comments

Sir Benjamin Baker: Victorian-Era Civil Engineer (1840-1907)

Posted January 09, 2012 7:47 AM by SavvyExacta

Sir Benjamin Baker was an English civil engineer who helped develop London's underground railways, worked on the Forth Bridge, and helped design and build the first Aswan dam. He was called as an expert witness after the Tay Rail Bridge disaster in 1880.

Education & Contributions

Baker's engineering education began at age 16 with an apprenticeship at the ironworks Price & Fox in South Wales. His first major project was directing the construction of the London underground from 1862-1898. He worked on Victoria railway station and parts of the London underground network.

Baker worked on the Forth Bridge in Scotland with Sir John Fowler. At the time it was the bridge with the largest span in the world. The Forth Bridge was a cantilever bridge built of 55,000 tons of steel. Hollow steel tubes created the cantilever. About 4,600 workers were employed in the construction of the bridge which opened in 1890. Baker was knighted following the bridge's opening.

The British began construction of the first dam across the Nile River in Egypt in 1898. Baker was involved in the project. The Old Aswan dam had several gates that could be opened each year to allow a flood of water and sediments to pass through. The gates were in the buttress sections of the gravity-buttress dam. At the time it was the largest masonry dam in the world.

Tay Rail Bridge

In 1880, Baker testified against the theory that the Tay Rail Bridge was blown over by the wind. The Tay Rail Bridge is a 2.25-mile-long railway bridge spanning the Firth of Tay in Scotland. It was built in 1871 and replaced a train ferry. Its central spans collapsed in 1879 and a train carrying 75 passengers was lost. In preparation for his testimony Baker surveyed the structures and determined the wind speeds had not been excessive.

Resources:

Structurae - Sir Benjamin Baker

Westminster Abbey - Sir Benjamin Baker

Wikipedia - Aswan Low Dam

Wikipedia - Benjamin Baker (engineer)

Wikipedia - Tay Rail Bridge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:L-gelenktraeger14.png [image]

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Commentator

Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 80
Good Answers: 4
#1

Re: Sir Benjamin Baker: Victorian-Era Civil Engineer (1840-1907)

01/09/2012 10:47 PM

How did it collapse before it was built?

Vic

Reply
Guru
United States - Member - Lifelong New Yorker Popular Science - Biology - Animal Science Technical Fields - Technical Writing - Technical Writer

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 2313
Good Answers: 59
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Sir Benjamin Baker: Victorian-Era Civil Engineer (1840-1907)

01/11/2012 7:03 AM

Sorry about the typo - it's been fixed.

Construction on the Tay Rail Bridge began in 1871 and was completed in 1878. It collapsed in 1879 and Baker testified about it in 1880. (Baker wasn't involved in the construction of the Tay Rail Bridge.)

Baker was involved with the construction of the Forth Bridge which opened in 1890.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 2 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: Amar Bose: Engineer, Inventor, and Industrialist (1929-2013)   Next in Blog: Arthur Casagrande: Early Geotechnical Engineer (1902-1981)

Advertisement