'The most massive structure of its kind in the world' (1889)

CHURCH, B. S., A. FTELEY and J. P. DAVIS, J. J. R. CROES, W. F. SHUNK.

City of New York. Aqueduct Commission. Reports on researches concerning the design and construction of high masonry dams, in view of the proposed building of Quaker Bridge Dam.

Published: New York, Douglas Taylor

Date: 1889

4to (310 × 245 mm), pp. [4], 64; numerous plates, some folded; bound in blind blocked morocco grained cloth, with gilt title to upper board, corners bumped, wear with small loss to top of spine, else very good.

Bibliography
COPAC shows copies at the British Library and Imperial College.

Note
Reports on the proposed dam to supply New York's water. The Quaker Bridge Dam (now known as the New Croton Dam), which the New York Sun in 1888 called 'The Biggest of All Dams … the Gigantic Structure at Quaker Bridge', was built between 1892 and 1906, although not on the site proposed originally at the Quaker Bridge a mile downstream where the bedrock was closer to the surface, and which is assumed as the site in the work offered here. At the time of its construction it was the the tallest dam in the world and the second largest hand-hewn masonry. The Quaker Bridge, which was re-built as an iron bridge in 1894 (the present structure), crosses the Croton-on-Hudson river, and was one of the oldest bridges in Westchester County, New York State. Prior to the building of Alphonse Fteley's dam, there was already a dam at Yorktown, built between 1837 and 1842, to supply New York's water. With the expansion of the city later in the century new arrangements had to be made, and as early as 1880 the City of New York Aqueduct Commission had begun preliminary work on the new project. One of the earliest consultants involved was James Bicheno Francis (1815-1892), a British-born engineer, who built canals and flood control systems, as well as improving the design of Boyden's turbine, inventing the prototype of what is now known as the Francis turbine, used in almost every hydroelectric dam in the world. The various reports included in the present volume date from 1887 to 1888, before the present location of the dam was chosen. They are important in showing the very real and new challenges facing the builders of this 'massive' structure. 'It is of such importance for the welfare of the future water supply of New York that this subject should be exhaustively studied, and the amount of money involved is so large, that the necessity of acquiring a full knowledge of the new practice followed by other engineers in similar instances, became at once evident; their methods were followed, as much as practicable. Owing, however, to the unprecedented magnitude of the proposed dam, which gives rise to some important problems heretofore unsolved, it became necessary, in some instances, to leave the beaten path and to resort to a basis of operations different from that established by others.' (Fteley, p. 19) Fteley's ultimate response included the unusual sideways spillway, which gives the dam its unique appearance. Alphonse Fteley (1837-1903) was the chief engineer of the City of New York Aqueduct Commission.

Condition
Good

Binding
Cloth

£175

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