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Wonders of World Engineering

Part 11

Part 11 of Wonders of World Engineering was published on Tuesday 11th May 1937, price 7d.

Part 11 includes a photogravure supplement featuring some of New York’s Giant Bridges. It illustrates the article of the same title, as does the  colour cover (and see below).

The Cover

The cover this week shows the George Washington Bridge, one of the most recent of the huge bridges which are such a prominent feature of New York. Completed in 1932, the bridge spans the Hudson River between Tenafly, New Jersey, and Washington Heights, New York.

This illustration was later used as the colour plate in part 36 to illustrate an article on the George Washington Bridge.

The George Washington Bridge, New York

Contents of Part 11

Britain’s Biggest Ship Canal (Part 2)

Story of the Diesel Engine

New York’s Giant Bridges

New York’s Giant Bridges (photogravure supplement)

The First Thames Tunnel

Pioneering in Alaska and Yukon (Part 1)

Entrance to Manchester Docks

“MODE WHEEL LOCKS form the entrance to Manchester Docks from the Ship Canal. The locks are at the bottom left-hand corner of the picture. In the background is one of the two grain elevators, each of which has a storage capacity of 40,000 tons.”

(Page 322)

Story of the Diesel Engine

The remarkable increase in the use of engines driven by heavy oil fuel [ie diesel engines], ignited by the heat generated by compression of air, has had an effect on engineering practice comparable with that of the introduction of the steam engine. This chapter is by C Hamilton Ellis.

(Pages 323-328)

Click on the icon to see a YouTube video on the story of the diesel engine produced by Shell in 1952 (part one of two).


Britain’s Biggest Ship Canal (Part 2)

The story of the Manchester Ship Canal, concluded from part 10. The chapter is by David Masters.

(Pages 321-322)

There is another article on the Manchester Ship Canal in part 26 of Shipping Wonders of the World, whilst the cover of part 28 shows the SS Diplomat at Eastham on the canal.

Queensboro’ Bridge Under Construction

“QUEENSBORO’ BRIDGE was built on the cantilever principle, but with no intermediate spans between the ends of the cantilever arms. All the cantilever construction is above the level of the deck which carries the roadway. The bridge spans the East River where it divided into two channels by Blackwell’s Island, on which the central cantilever towers were built”

(Page 329)

Williamsburg Bridge

“WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE, the second structure to be thrown across the East River, was completed in 1903. Clear headway of 135 feet was stipulated by the United States War Department. The bridge was built on the suspension principle, with a span of 1,600 feet. At the time of building this span was exceeded only by the Forth Bridge. The Williamsburg Bridge is 118 feet wide.”


(Page 330)

Pioneering in Alaska and Yukon (Part 1)

The gold rush to the Klondike River in the late ‘nineties paved the way for the railway engineer in the north-west of the American continent. Since the first railway in this region was opened, in 1899, several other lines have penetrated northwards towards the Arctic Circle. This chapter is by Harold Shepstone and is concluded in part 12. It is the third article in the series on Railway Engineers at Work.

(Pages 345-348)

The First Thames Tunnel

 The building of an underwater tunnel even to-day calls for great engineering skill and courage. A century ago Marc Isambard Brunel and the engineers who drove the Thames Tunnel between Wapping and Rotherhithe had none of the specialized mechanical aids available to the modern engineer. The Thames Tunnel is an outstanding example of work carried out without the scientific assistance and mechanical aids of to-day. The tunnel was built by Marc Isambard Brunel (whose son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the famous railway engineer and builder of the wonderful steamship Great Eastern). The tunnel as built for foot passengers only and was opened in 1843. The tunnel is still used and electric trains of London Transport run through it every day. This chapter is by F E Dean, and is the first article in the series on The Romance of Industry.

(Pages 281-288)

Double-Acting Marine Diesel Engine

“DOUBEL-ACTING MARINE DIESEL of the two-stroke cycle type built for the Italina liner Vulcania, a twin-screw vessel of 23,970 tons gross. The Vulvania is driven by two ten-cylinder engines of this type. They have a combined output of about 26,000 shaft horse-power at 128 revolutions a minute. At the farther end of the diesel in the photograph is the unit which supplies the scavenge air to the main unit.”

(Page 327)

New York’s Giant Bridges

The mighty volume of New York’s traffic across the East River is carried by a series of bridges which rank among the most famous in the world. This chapter describes the building of the Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Queensboro’ and Manhattan Bridges. The famous bridges that link the island of Manhattan with Brooklyn on Long Island and with the mainland are not only among the most famous in the world, but are also outstanding achievements in civil engineering. Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and at that time was the longest single span in the world. This is the third article in the series on Linking the World’s Highways.

(Pages 329-340)

New York’s Giant Bridges: Manhattan Bridge

“MANHATTAN BRIDGE has a span of 1,470 feet between the two steel towers which support the massive suspension cables. The total length of the bridge between abutments is 2,920 feet and the width 120 feet. Two decks carry roadways, footpaths and railway tracks. The anchorages, in contrast to the towers, were built of masonry.”


(Page 336)

Manhattan Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

“BROOKLYN BRIDGE, at the time of its building, had the longest single span of any bridge in the world. Completed in 1883, the bridge and approach viaducts have a total length of 5,989 feet, or more than a mile. The two suspension towers were based on caissons sunk in the bed of the river. At a height of 118 feet, each tower divides into two Gothic (or pointed) arches, each 120 ft 6 in high and 31 ft 6 in wide, through which pass the carriageways and car tracks of the bridge.”

(Pages 334-335)

Examination of the Thames Tunnel From a Diving Bell

“EXAMINATION FROM A DIVING BELL was often carried out by Marc Isambard Brunel during the building of the Thames Tunnel. The instability of the river bed caused frequent trouble and on one occasion Brunel was able to thrust a rod into the roof of the tunnel from the diving bell, so loose was the composition of the river bed. In many places the river bed had to be strengthened with deposits of clay and gravel.”


(Page 341)

A Cantilever Bridge on the White Pass and Yukon Railway

“A TRAIN OF SEVEN COACHES crossing a cantilever bridge on the White Pass and Yukon Railway. This pioneer Alaskan line, 110 miles long, runs from Skagway, a township at the head of the Lynn Canal, to White Horse. The first twenty miles, to the summit of the White Pass, run through United States territory; the next twenty miles, to the shores of Lake Bennett, are in British Columbia. The remaining seventy miles are in the Yukon Territory of Canada.”

(Page 346)

Entrance to Manchester DocksDouble-Acting Marine Diesel EngineQueensboro’ Bridge Under ConstructionWilliamsburg BridgeLattice steelwork on one of the central cantilever towers of the Queenboro’ BridgeThe Brooklyn BridgeThe Brooklyn BridgeExamination of the Thames Tunnel from a diving bellThe Completed Thames TunnelA Cantilever Bridge on the White Pass and Yukon Railway

New York’s Giant Bridges: Photogravure Supplement

“LATTICE STEELWORK on one of the central cantilever towers of the Queenboro’ Bridge, on Blackwell’s Island, in the East River. The tower is mounted on a masonry pier. The photograph shows how the cantilever construction is all above the level of the lower of the two decks.”


(Page 333)

The Completed Thames Tunnel

“THE COMPLETED TUNNEL is formed of two horseshoe-shaped parallel passages, each 18 feet high and 13 ft 9 in wide. The central dividing wall is 3 ft 6 in thick at the top and 4 feet thick and the bottom. The Thames Tunnel was opened for pedestrian traffic on March 25, 1843, after nine working years. It cost £446,000, nearly three times the original estimate.”


(Page 343)