Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 58.54
Object Name Bridge
Title Model of Bridge
Artist Jones, John
Place of Origin Indian River, Sussex County, Delaware, British Colonial America
Date 1786
Description Wooden (oak) model of an arched bridge, the arch of which consists of six timbers bound together by iron straps and rods. Only half of the bridge is shown in detail. The second, presumably symetrical, half of the arch is represented by two curved boards. The roadway is also shown only in outline. Only the upper and lower timbers extend the full length of the half arch. The remaining four are of various lengths, cut to fit the bottom timber to which they are fastened by iron straps. Cross timbers held together by iron tie-rods hold together the top and bottom timbers. (Robert P. Multhauf, "Catalogue of Instruments and Models," 1961).
Label In the 18th century, improvements in transportation and agriculture were pressing needs. John Jones described his model of a bridge as "constructed on such principles that it will not only bear a great weight but may be erected with rough timber and in a very short time." In the letter accompanying the donation, Jones noted that he thought of throwing the model out, but "that sometimes happens whimsical projects prove fortunate I determined to send it; and leave to those of more experience and greater ability to say whether it will be useful to society or not." In 1773, Jones apparently developed another bridge model for crossing the Schuylkill and submitted it to the APS, but the model does not survive.
Material Oak
Dimensions H-20.5 W-13.5 L-78 inches
Dimension Details Incl. base
Credit line American Philosophical Society
Search Terms 18th century
eighteenth century
invention
travel