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Wonders of World Engineering

Part 1

Part 1 of Wonders of World Engineering was published on Tuesday 2nd March 1937, price 7d.

It was a bumper issue of 36 pages, all other issues being 32 pages. The issue included a superb folding colour plate showing a cutaway drawing of an Empire Flying Boat which accompanied an article with the same title. There was also a central photogravure supplement illustrating the article on Harnessing Niagara. All these are illustrated below.

The Cover

The cover shows the Oakland Bay suspension bridge under construction. At this time it was the world’s longest bridge. Its construction is described in the article on San Francisco's Great Bridges.

The Oakland Bay suspension bridge under construction

Contents of Part 1


San Francisco's Great Bridges

A Giant of the Air (colour plate)

Empire Flying Boats

Harnessing Niagara

Harnessing Niagara (photogravure supplement)

Giant of the Ether

The Oil Route from the East (Part 1)

San Francisco's Great Bridges

A ferry service that carried 45,000,000 people across San Francisco Bay every year has been superseded by two of the biggest bridges in the world. Built at a cost of nearly £24,000,000, they are among the most spectacular bridge-building achievements ever undertaken. This chapter is by Harold Shepstone and is the first article in the series on Linking the World’s Highways. The article covers the construction of the Oakland Bay and Golden Gate bridges.

(Pages 3-8)

You can read E. Cromwell Mensch’s books on the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) and The Golden Gate Bridge (1936).

Click on the tv icon to see a fifteen minute documentary on the construction of the Oakland Bay bridges.

Click on the tv icon to see a documentary on the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.


By the Editor

All material progress would be impossible but for the imaginative genius

and practical skill of the engineer. Life might be more simple without his attainments, but it would certainly be less stimulating and less interesting. Furthermore, much that is genuinely romantic in the world to-day

would not exist if the versatile minds of inventive men, supported by the courage

of pioneers, had not grappled with problems that seemed insuperable. You have

but to look around you to see their monuments-the great bridge, the railway,

the aeroplane, the steelworks, the wireless station, tire wonderful dam, the powerful

generating station; and a thousand other things which are milestones on the never-

ending highway of human achievement.

The engineer who sees no romance in his work and the romanticist who regards

with indifference the astonishing conquests of the engineer, both fail to grasp the

significance of engineering. It is because this

thought had long been established in my mind that I decided to place before the reader these volumes, volumes which reveal the significant story of world engineering to the informed and layman alike.  I believe such a work, comprehensive and accurate, is needed; and, with Mr.

Thomas Walley, M.I.Mech.E., etc., as Consulting Editor, I have marshalled contributors who are familiar with their various subjects and have gathered the most remarkable collection of engineering pictures that has ever been brought together within such a compass. My main considerations have been to make this work as comprehensive as possible and to give to it that quality of sincerity which I have always regarded as a very important feature of publications of this kind. That you will find Wonders of World Engineering both comprehensive and not lacking in sincerity I have no doubt. Neither do I doubt that you will find the contents of these volumes more than a fascinating story of man's victory over what must always seem to be insurmountable odds.

A Cantilever Span Nearing Completion

A Cantilever Span Nearing Completion

A CANTILEVER SPAN NEARING COMPLETION. Travelling derricks on either side of the unfinished bridge are shown gradually closing the gap as new sections are built. This cantilever span, 1,400 feet long, is exceeded in length only by those of the Forth and Quebec bridges. In the background are the uprights and "catwalks" of the Golden Gate suspension bridge in the early stages of construction.

(Page 3)

The World’s Longest Bridge

The World’s Longest Bridge

THE WORLD'S LONGEST BRIDGE in course of construction. A double-decked suspension bridge connects San Francisco with Goat Island, whence the crossing to Oakland is made by a cantilever span, five shorter spans and a viaduct. The upper deck of the bridge carries six lanes of traffic, and the lower is used for trains and tramway cars.

(Page 4)

Cutaway drawing of the Empire flying boat "Canopus"

A Giant of the Air

The “wonderful 3 colour folding plate” issued with part 1.

A GIANT OF THE AIR, the new Empire flying boat Canopus is one of the twenty-eight craft designed for service on Empire air routes. The flying boat has a length of 88 feet from nose to tail and a wing span of 114 feet. She has a maximum speed of 200 miles an hour and a ceiling of 20,000 feet. Navigation and wireless transmission and reception are carried out on the upper deck, where the mail compartments are also situated. The lower deck is mainly occupied by passenger accommodation. The Canopus is driven by four Bristol “Pegasus” engines, each developing 920 horse-power. Fuel tanks with a standard capacity of 600 gallons are embodied in the wings.

(Attached to page 9)

Empire Flying Boats

Twenty-eight flying boats of advanced design, each weighing 18 tons and having a speed of 200 miles an hour, have been designed for use on important overseas air routes in the British Empire. This chapter was written by Grenville Manton.

(Pages 9-14)

Click on the icon to watch a video about the Short Empire flying boats.

You can read about the Short-Mayo Composite Aircraft in Wonders of World Aviation.

The "Canopus" Empire flying boat

The Canopus

FIRST OF THE NEW FLEET to be completed, the Canopus measures 88 feet from nose to tail and has a wing span of 114 feet. Her overall height is 31 ft 9¾ in and she weighs 40,500 lb when fully loaded. She has a range of 760 miles in still air.

(Page 9)

The launching wheels of the flying boat "Caledonia"

Launching Wheels of the Caledonia

THE HUGE ADJUSTABLE LAUNCHING WHEELS of the Caledonia, shown at Rochester immediately before beginning her trial flights, give an impression of the great size of the new craft. The smooth finish imparted to the hull and wings by the use of sheet alloy and flush-fitting rivets is also clearly shown.

(Page 13)

Harnessing Niagara

Twenty million tons of water flow hourly over Niagara Falls. The utilization of this latent power is a supreme example of mastery over Nature and an engineering feat which has made Niagara River the source of the world's greatest water-power system. This chapter is by F E Dean and is the first article in the series on the Wonders of Water Power.

(Pages 15-24)

One of the Niagara Power Station Generators

One of the Niagara Power Station Generators

ONE OF THE GENERATORS which are driven by the turbines at the Niagara power stations, in course of construction. The stators (stationary outer frames) of these generators are enclosed in drums which are perforated to assist in the all-important ventilation and cooling of the windings. The machines shown at work inside the stator are vertical planing machines, surfacing the ribs. In the Queenston Generating Station there are ten of these huge generators, each developing 55,000 horse-power or more.

(Page 16)

THE CONCRETE-LINED CANAL through which water is diverted from Chippawa to Queenston

Harnessing Niagara: Photogravure Supplement

THE CONCRETE-LINED CANAL through which water is diverted from Chippawa to Queenston. The section illustrated was cut through solid rock with an over-layer of earth, and the bottom of the canal is, in places, 143 feet below ground level. More than four million cubic yards of rock were blasted and thirty million cubic yards of earth were excavated during the building of this canal.

(Page 17)

THE POWER-HOUSE AT QUEENSTON, on the lower reaches of Niagara River

Harnessing Niagara - 2

THE POWER-HOUSE AT QUEENSTON, on the lower reaches of Niagara River, stands at the foot of a cliff 300 feet high. A waterway nearly 13 miles long brings water from Chippawa, above the Canadian Falls. The great screenhouse at the top of the cliffs at Queenston contains the entrances to ten penstocks or pipes through which the water passes down to the hydraulic turbines in the generating station. The Queenston-Chippawa scheme is the most modern and the most powerful of the hydro-electric undertakings at Niagara.

(Page 18)

Niagara's scenic beauty

Harnessing Niagara - 3

NIAGARA'S SCENIC BEAUTY has not been marred by the huge generating stations that have been built near the Falls. Opposite Goat Island, which separates the American and Canadian Falls, is the Ontario Power Company's Station, built at the base of the cliffs. Above the Canadian Falls, near the centre of the illustration, is the Toronto Power Company's station, which overlooks the upper rapids. The road bridge in the foreground connects Canada (right) with the United States of America.

(Page 19)

Harnessing Niagara - 4

IN THE GREAT GENERATING STATION at Queenston - built for the co-operating municipalities of Ontario by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission - ten giant turbines develop a total output of more than 550,000 horse-power. Only the upper frames of the units are visible, the alternators and turbines being encased in concrete below the floor level. The power generated in this station, transformed up to 110,000 volts, is transmitted over distances of more than 250 miles.

(Page 20)

Giant of the Ether

A group of twelve towering masts at Rugby is the outward sign of a modern engineering marvel and a vast radio organization that links Great Britain with ships on the high seas and with every corner of the world. This is the story of the General Post Office’s Radio Station at Rugby. The article is by L H Thomas.

(Pages 25-30)

Generators for the Long-Wave Transmitters

Generators for the Long-Wave Transmitters

THE GENERATORS FOR THE LONG-WAVE TRANSMITTERS are housed in the power room in the main building. The four large units in the photograph give an output of 500 kilowatts each ; three operate at 6,000 volts and one at 12,000 volts. The smaller units in the foreground each generates 200 kilowatts for low-tension filament current. An elaborate system of safeguarding is enforced for the protection of the apparatus and of the staff. The dangerous high-voltage leads are taken to control points well out of reach from which they are taken through the wall, straight to the transmitters in the adjacent main hall.

(Page 26)

The View from a Mast, Rugby wireless station

The View from a Mast

THE VIEW FROM A MAST at Rugby gives a vivid impression of the spaciousness of the site. The 820-feet mast seen in the foreground is a quarter of a mile distant from the mast where the photograph was taken. Twelve of these masts are used to support the long-wave aerials. Eight of them are arranged in the form of an octagon, with a further four to the north. Each mast weighs some 200 tons, and stands on a porcelain insulator.

(Page 27)

The Oil Route from the East (Part 1)

Crude oil is transported directly from its source to the consumer through 1,150 miles of pipe line, the laying of which across the desert involved an expense of £10,000,000 and the employment of 10,000 men. This chapter describes the construction of the pipe line from Kirkuk in Northern Iraq to the ports of Haifa and Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast. The work was undertaken by engineers of the Iraq Petroleum Company. The article is concluded

in part 2.

(Pages 31-36)

Constructing the Iraq Pipe Line

Constructing the Iraq Pipe Line

LOWERING A SECTION OF THE IRAQ PIPE LINE into its trench. Ten or eleven 40-feet lengths of pipe were welded together, and the completed section was then lowered by a derrick into the trench. When two complete sections had been laid, a pit was dug so that a welder could weld the joint all round. These pits were necessary because the sections in the trenches could not be rotated.

(Page 31)

A Ditching Machine at Work on the Iraq Pipe Line

A Ditching Machine at Work on the Iraq Pipe Line

A DITCHING MACHINE AT WORK. Trenches were dug for the entire 1,150 miles through which the oil pipes had to run, and gangs of "ditchers" were sent along the route before the welders were ready to join up the sections of pipe. The machines used were capable of digging a trench 6 feet deep and 2 feet wide at a rate of a mile a day. An excavating wheel was equipped with steel buckets. These buckets picked up the soil and boulders and dropped them on a conveyer belt which threw them in a continuous line alongside the trench.

(Page 32)