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American Bridge Company
Eads Bridge Drawings

Historical note re: Eads Bridge

Begun in 1867 and completed in 1874, the Eads Bridge was named after its designer, James Buchanan Eads. It was the first bridge to span the Mississippi at St. Louis, the first bridge to make significant of steel, and one of the first bridges in the U.S. to make use of pneumatic caissons (the caissons sunk for the bridge are still among the deepest ever). It was also the first bridge to be built entirely using cantilever construction methods, avoiding the need for falsework, and the first bridge designed so that any part could be removed for repair or replacement. The bridge is now a National Historic Landmark.

Scope and content

The American Bridge Company collection consists of 93 original drawings of the Eads Bridge.

Please note that we do not hold any corporate records of the American Bridge Company, or project files for other bridges built by the company. The American Bridge Company can be contacted at:

American Bridge Company
1000 American Bridge Way
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania 15108
ATTN: Kadi Camardese, Communications Manager
(412) 631-1000 email: Kcamardese@americanbridge.net
In addition, Washington University holds no personnel files related to the construction of the Eads Bridge.

Source of acquisition

The 93 drawings which make up the collection were placed on permanent loan to Washington University and the Museum of Transportation in 1978 by the U.S. Steel Corporation, American Bridge Division. The company is now known as the American Bridge Company, and this company continues to hold ownership of the drawings.

(570 additional drawings of the bridge, formerly owned by the Terminal Railroad Association are also available)

Restrictions on access

No restrictions on access. Because of their age and physical condition, the original drawings are not available via Interlibrary Loan.

Please consult University Archives staff regarding access to digital copies.

View the inventory to the American Bridge collection drawings (PDF format)

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