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Iron, Steel and the Industrial Revolution

Origins------ Political Situation ----- Iron------- Steel

Architects of the Industrial Revolution--------Telford ------Brunel
---

Bridges/Aquaducts----Causey Bridge ___Severn Iron Bridge -- Ellesmere Canal --- Clifton Suspension Bridge

Train Stations ----Temple Meads ___Paddington -- York Rail --- St. Pancras

The Functional Tradition ----Galleria Vittorio ___Casba Rabat -- London Arcade --- Eiffel Tower

Origins

The French Revolution of 1789 initiated a period of uncertainty in most European countries. For centuries societies had been composed of a small but rich aristocracy with a large and poor peasant population. The French Revolution and the era of Napoleon that followed brought about the emergence of a new and powerful force in society, the bourgeoisie. While the French Revolution took place, obviously, in France, the neighboring countries were all in a similar political and economic situation, and most countries radically modified their political policies as a result of the Revolution, fearing that their own countries would revolt if they did not.

The Revolution was ostensibly fought for the working classes, but the real victors of the era were the middle-classes. It was their needs that were met by most of the architecture of the nineteenth century.

The Industrial Revolution was born in Britain with the exploitation of water and coal. It rapidly spread throughout the world. With industrialization, came huge migrations to urban settings, the rise of mass housing projects, public transit, the need for public parks and amusement areas. A new urban society had emerged and the demand for urban architecture was greater than ever before.

Fashionable architects were searching for a style of architecture that would be appropriate for this period of change. From the eighteenth century came classicism through the Palladian Revival and the many other Classical Revivals. A few theorists were rebelling against industrialism and hearkening for the return to a more organic, more craftsmanlike style which was made manifest in the Gothic Revival.

With the growing understanding of the uses for iron and the introduction of steel in the mid - nineteenth century, a whole new vocabulary of buildings took shape.

Political Situation

The Industrial Revolution started in the north of England with the introduction of the new source of power, coal. The Causey Bridge, the first major civil engineering feat of the time, helped to supply London with coal for heating and train engines.

The other natural resource that was exploited during this era was water. The steam engine was a major development in train travel and watermills were used more and more for the production of flour, lumber, and metal. These innovations in England quickly took form not just in Europe but also in the expanding colonies throughout the world.

 

As coal power and later steam power began to drive factories and mills, people started moving from the country to the cities to find work. As the country villages emptied, the brick and stone masons, carpenters and tradesmen moved with them to the growing urban developments. Railways allowed for this migration and changed virtually overnight the social and economic structure of society.

 

Iron

Wrought Iron is a form of Iron that is soft, tough and fibrous in structure, containing about 0.1 percent carbon and 1 to 2 percent slag. It is used for lamps, gates, security doors, garden ornaments, and tables. The iron is heated in a furnace and then 'hammered' into the desired shape.

Cast iron is poured into castings to create more fluid iron objects. Iron has too high a carbon content to be classified as steel. The iron makes it more brittle and less easy to manipulate.

Iron, like steel, is a ferrous alloy. Iron oxides- iron pellets, sinster etc. are reduced to molten iron (pig iron). The iron absorbs from 3 to 4.5 percent carbon. This can be used to make iron castings. The carbon is removed in the blast furnace to make steel.

Steel

Steel is iron with a controlled amount of carbon.

Iron is a basic element of steel. Iron ore pellets and limestone are added to alloy element to make steel. Manganese, chromium, nickel, etc. can be added to the molten steel to make alloy steels. Steel is a much more prevalent building material than iron. Raw iron is too brittle for end use.

Reduction of iron ores by carbonaceous fuel directly to a steel composition was practiced in ancient times, but liquid processing was unknown until the development of the crucible process, in which iron ore, coal and flux materials were melted in a crucible to produce small quantities of liquid steel. Modern steel making processes began with the invention of the airblown converter by H. Bessemer in 1856. - Bessemer Process

Architects of the Industrial Revolution

Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834)
Thomas Telford was labeled by the BBC as the "Builder of Britain". The son of a shepherd, Telford started his career by repairing castles. He moved to Shropshire in the late 18th century, designed a few churches, then proceeded to build the world's first cast iron bridge and cast iron aqueduct. His innovations in the new phenomenon of travel by train and redirection of water through aqueducts earned him recognition as the first Civil Engineer.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 - 1859)
Brunel was the most versatile engineer of the 19th century. He is most remembered for a series of bridges, tunnels and viaducts for the Great Western Railway. His most impressive achievements were for the line that linked London to Bristol. While essentially an engineer, the Bristol Temple Meads Station is also an exceptional piece of architecture. The Clifton Suspension Bridge, finished after his death, is still used today, as are most of the other bridges and tunnels.

Brunel's other claim to fame is the design of the ship the Great Western. This ship was used to place the first cable from Europe to North America.

Bridges and Aqueducts

The Industrial Revolution had a huge impact on society. Working people could get jobs in factories instead of staying on family farms or farms owned by large land owners. For "serfs" this provided an alternate means of existence.

Goods and people traveled by train. Bridges, train stations and train tracks were built across England, and later the continent and the colonies.

The first large bridge of the Industrial Revolution was the Causey bridge. It was built of stone using Roman technology. Darby built the first cast iron bridge in 1779. Telford and Brunel then built many bridges and aqueducts in and around London that linked the growing metropolis to sources of coal, food, and wool.

Causey Bridge 1725-26
_Ralph Wood_

This bridge was constructed by the "Grand Allies", a group of coal mine owners on the Tyne River north of Newcastle who needed the bridge to carry coal from the mines to the rail station. The bridge was built to aid the transfer of coal to London. No one owner could have gone to the expense of building such a structure.

Ralph Wood was the engineer for this bridge which was the largest single span bridge in England at the time at 33 metres (105 feet). As can be seen, Woods relied on Roman technology to create the bridge.

Severn River

Causey Bridge 1725-26
_Ralph Wood_

Two tracks crossed the bridge, one to take horse drawn wagons loaded with coal to the River Tyne, the other for the returning journey.

Nine hundred and thirty wagonloads of coal were taken to the river every day. By 1733 three of the major coal mines were emptied and closed. By 1740, they were all closed and the bridge went into disuse. It was restored in 1981 and is now part of a country walkway.

Severn River

Ironbridge over River Severn at Coalbrooke 1779 _Abraham_Darby_III_

This is referred to as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution" because of the first iron bridge ever constructed in the world.

Darby's grandfather, Abraham Darby I, was the one who made the production of iron financially feasible by perfecting the the technique of smelting iron with coal rather than coke. The bridge was built to demonstrate the quality of the iron produced by his grandfathers' process.

Severn River

Ironbridge over River Severn at Coalbrooke 1779 _Abraham_Darby_III_

The bridge changed the nature of the surrounding county by bringing prosperity to the region. The village of Ironbridge grew up around the bridge and the gorge itself became known as Ironbridge Gorge.

You can see by the detailing on the bridge that there is much more iron used on this bridge than is really needed.

 

Severn River

Canal Aqueduct. Ellesmere Canal Thomas Telford 1806

This canal was constructed to provide a waterway between the rivers Mersey, Dee, and Severn, linking England with Wales, particularly the ironworks.

Telford built 40 bridges in Shropshire and was responsible for helping to understand the weight versus strength ratios of iron. Civil engineering at this point was in its infancy.

Aquaduct

Canal Detail

This shows Telford's design to produce troughs made of cast iron plates that were fixed in masonry.

Telford was apprenticed as a stone mason, thus his understanding of masonry.

This is only one of many aqueducts designed by Telford. Like the Coalbrookedale bridge, you can see that there is far more iron used on this aqueduct than would be used later. Most metal construction during the 18th and 19th centuries was overbuilt.


 

Aquaduct

Menai Suspension Bridge

Two designs were submitted earlier, but this suspension bridge is the one that got the contract. This was the largest project of its size. It took six years to build and was opened to traffic in 1826. Still used for the A5 today and is the only way to get to the ferry to Ireland from Angelsey.

The bridge spans 580 feet. It was the longest suspension bridge of the time.

 


 

Menai Suspension Bridge

Menai Suspension Bridge Detail

Being a later bridge, there is much less iron used in the construction.

 


 

Menai Bridge

Tramway Bridge

As trains gave way to tramways, the uses of cast iron expanded. Here this tramway bridge is almost transparent.

 


 

Tramway

I.K. Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge

This bridge was designed by Brunel to span the Avon Gorge.

Brunel was only 24 years old when his design for this bridge won the competition and the bridge was set to be built.

The chains and suspension rods are made of wrought iron. The piers (towers) are built principally of local Pennant stone.


 

Suspension Bridge

I.K. Brunel
Clifton Suspension

The bridge was started in 1831 but halted when funds ran out. It was finally completed in 1864 as a memorial to Brunel.


The bridge is held by chains, anchored 17m (55 feet) below the road. The road is .91m (3 ft) higher on the Clifton side to create a level appearance.

Suspension Bridge

I.K. Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

The total span of the bridge is 214m (702 ft). The total length is 412m (1351 ft)

Total span.... 214m.... (702 ft)

Total length... 412m..(1351 ft)

Width............. 9.4m .....(31 ft.)

Height of road above High water.............74m ....(245 ft.)

Height of piers...26m.....(86 ft)

 

Suspension Bridge

 

Train Stations

In the early 18th century most people and goods traveled by horse drawn wagons and coaches. By 1776 iron rail lines were being built throughout England for wagons drawn by horses. The steam engine was introduced in 1803,. Train lines and trains were used primarily to transport coal around the country. By 1821 there were passenger trains in Britain. Train stations began to be built to shelter the people and goods as they awaited the trains.

Most railway stations were built between 1800 and 1850. They were made of cast iron and glass. Accustomed to designing buildings either in the Classical or the Gothic/Medieval tradition, most designers developed railway stations that were indistinguishable from other civic buildings. The battle of the styles began when railways, footbridges, brackets, trusses and cantilevers were made to look ornamental. Classical units such as entablatures, columns, capitals, fretwork and egg and dart were transferred directly to the new medium.

 

Prefabrication became the norm and the role of craftsmanship changed radically. Instead of craft firms and guilds, the large new building enterprises required large building contractors who coordinated the construction and delivery of materials. Because people were forced into more confined quarters, the technical services such as heating, ventilation and sanitation were also revolutionized.

Gas lighting was introduced in 1809.

In 1801 Volta showed Napoleon how electricity could be produced from a battery.

By the 1880s electricity was available to anyone who could afford it for either residential or commercial applications.

People were both frightened and fascinated by the changes taking place around them. Exhibitions, intended largely for (and to impress) the middle classes were a 19th century phenomenon. Large exhibition grounds and buildings could be found in most large cities. Like today's "Home Show" or "Automotive show", this is where people found out about, and were sold, the new modern technologies.

People got to these exhibitions by train.

I. K. Brunel
Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol 1840

Brunel was one of the first great railway architects who opposed the translation of old styles into new uses. He started a new attitude that would make new designs according to the task.

The platforms of the Temple Meads Railway Station are constructed of cast iron posts with iron joists and cross bars. The roof of the platforms is built much like a conservatory; large plates of glass are supported by a web of interlocking iron bars. Passengers are protected from the elements but enjoy the light of day. As electricity had not yet been invented, this made the platforms much safer than an enclosed interior lit by gas would have provided. The platforms were both safer and less expensive to maintain than the traditional stagecoach inns and stables.

 

Temple Meads Station

I. K. Brunel
Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol 1840

While the exterior of the Temple Meads Railway Station in Bristol resembles a medieval castle from the exterior, the materials used to build it and the platforms themselves are radically different from anything done before.

 


 

Temple Meads Station

I. K. Brunel
Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol 1840

The main railway building is brick with stone detailing.

This is then attached by cast iron ribs to iron joists along the ceiling. Between the joists is glass.

The detailing of the stone and brickwork is medieval.

 


 

Temple Meads Station

I. K. Brunel
Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol 1840

While the platforms and public areas in the interior of the station are revolutionary in their use of space and materials, the exterior resembles a castle with turrets, castellation, iron cresting, and many traditional civic medieval details.

 


 

Temple Meads Station

Paddington Station 1854 Brunel/Wyatt

The main lines and 213 m (699 ft) long roof was designed by Brunel. The architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt.

 


 

Paddington Station

Paddington Station

The roof makes use of cast iron ribs are often Gothic looking. The ribs spread across the ceiling in a way that is not dissimilar to the fan vaulting of the late Gothic period.

The roof has cast iron trusses and columnar supports.

 

Paddington Station

Paddington Station

The detailing within the station is distinctly Victorian in nature. The clocks supported by two huge scroll consoles. The columns are paneled and decorated. The wall has a continuing ornate arcade.

 

Paddington Station

Paddington First Class Royal Waiting Room 1852-54 by Wyatt and Brunel

Wyatt was responsible for the design of the decoration, columns and roofing. While Brunel was the station engineer.

The first class lounge, with crosetted arches, Venetian arch windows, an ornate copper awning, and highly decorated balconies, is also made from cast iron.

Paddington Station

York Rail T. Prosser, B. Burley and W. Peachy 1871-77

The York Rail station by Thomas Prosser, Benjamin Burley, and William Peachy had 13 platforms. In 1877 it was the biggest in the world.

The roof trusses have become much more stream lined, the lighting was electric, which presented a much safer interior environment, and the lines were curved instead of straight.

York Rail

St. Pancras

St. Pancras Station in London serviced the Midlands and perhaps more importantly, 20 percent of London's coal and a great deal of London's beer.

George Gilbert Scott was chosen as the designer because his was the most impressive façade. It was also the most expensive at , £315,000 but the Midland Railway directors were interested in getting an impressive railway station before the second huge International Exhibition in London in 1862.

Here is a scanned picture from before the recent renovation.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras

Here is an image of the new station taken in 2008. On the left is the security-sealed terminal area for Eurostar trains to Paris, Brussels and Lille.

The main roof line has not changed, but there is more glass.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras

St. Pancras Station in London serviced the Midlands and perhaps more importantly, 20 percent of London's coal and a great deal of London's beer.

George Gilbert Scott as chosen as the designer because his was the most impressive façade. His was also the most expensive at , £315,000 but the Midland Railway directors were interested in getting an impressive railway station before the second huge International Exhibition in London in 1862.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras

St. Pancras Station in London serviced the Midlands and perhaps more importantly, 20 percent of London's coal and a great deal of London's beer.

George Gilbert Scott as chosen as the designer because his was the most impressive façade. His was also the most expensive at , £315,000 but the Midland Railway directors were interested in getting an impressive railway station before the second huge International Exhibition in London in 1862.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras

St. Pancras Station in London serviced the Midlands and perhaps more importantly, 20 percent of London's coal and a great deal of London's beer.

George Gilbert Scott as chosen as the designer because his was the most impressive façade. His was also the most expensive at , £315,000 but the Midland Railway directors were interested in getting an impressive railway station before the second huge International Exhibition in London in 1862.

St. Pancras Station

 

Iron, Steel, Glass and the Functional Tradition

Once iron and steel were used in the profitable rail stations, it began to be used in more fashionable buildings - churches, clubs, private buildings and large houses with roofed courtyards. Architects and engineers saw that iron provided an advantage over masonry not simply in terms of bulk, but also in terms of economy. Cast-iron roofs started replacing traditional wood roofs for safety as well as durability. In 1839 the roof of Chartres Cathedral was replaced.

Iron and later steel were the obvious choices for large scale, dramatic architecture. 1940 saw advancements in plate-glass manufacture that revolutionized the way light was incorporated into the design of buildings.

The process of brick manufacturing was also revolutionized in the 1850s. Previously made by hand, the new mechanized process allowed for greater uniformity plus a wider variety of shapes and sizes, all well employed in Victorian Gothic designs. Buildings were constructed using an iron skeleton with a brick veneer instead of using brick as a structural element.

Prefabrication became the norm and the role of craftsmanship changed radically. Instead of craft firms and guilds, the large new building enterprises required large building contractors. Because people were forced into more confined quarters, the technical services such as heating, ventilation and sanitation were also revolutionized.

Gas lighting was introduced in 1809.

In 1801 Volta showed Napoleon how electricity could be produced from a battery.

By the 1880s electricity was available to anyone who could afford it for either residential or commercial applications.

People were both frightened and fascinated by the changes taking place around them. Exhibitions, intended largely for (and to impress) the middle classes were a 19th century phenomenon.

Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II 1865

Steel and glass were used to make large lit areas and greenhouse-like roofs which created covered streets. The most spectacular of these is the Galleria in Milan, just through the large triumphal arch across from the cathedral.

Milan had the same cache 100 years ago as it does today as the center for fashionable society and fashion itself. The galleria was built with English money and technical expertise.

 

Galleria Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II 1865

The Galleria has a vast cruciform plan with a spectacular glass dome at the crossing. The four long arms meet in the center with a 127 ft. diameter dome, also in glass. The center of the dome reaches to 96 feet.

The cappuccino is not bad.

Galleria Dome

Casba Rabat

An extended glass roof is, of course, only possible when the weather makes it possible. This glass roof in Morocco is open to the elements on both sides. It provides the same function as the one in Milan.

Casba Rabat

London

Indoor shopping and office spaces are still terribly fashionable.

The arcade in London provides a pleasant walkway between offices and fashionable restaurants.

Galleria London

Eiffel Tower

Possibly the most visited, definitely the most conspicuous, monument in the world is the Eiffel Tower built for the Paris Exposition of 1889.

Like Telford and Brunel, Eiffel perfected his metal engineering skills in bridge design before attempting this 300 meter monument.

Interestingly it is made out of puddle iron, not steel, even though the process was readily available.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Six million visitors walk to the top of the tower every year. Many millions more simply gaze at it from a distance.

The people of Paris were critical of the structure when it was first built and had every intention of pulling it down after the Exposition finished.

http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/

The tower is important for later generations because it demonstrated spatial possabilities that were translated into sky scrapers and other large structures, pointing the way to the future.

Eiffel Tower

 

 

 

AR173

The Industrial Era Extra Reading and Films

Books

Byatt, A.S., Possession, New York: Vintage International, 1991

Dickens, Bleak House , New York, W.W.Norton and Company, 1999

Dickens, Anything else really, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1965

Glendinning, Electricity, New York, W.W.Norton and Company, 1999

 

 

Films

A Christmas Carol (1951) Alastair Sim, Kathleen Harrison

Amazing Grace- Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney

An Ideal Husband (1999), Rupert Everet

Bleak House (2005), Gillian Anderson

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) - Julie Christie, Terence Stamp

Jack the Ripper - Michael Caine, Armand Assante

Persuasion - Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds

The Age of Innocence (1993) - Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) Colin Ferth

The Picture of Dorian Gray
(1945) George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1976)

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