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The design of structures depends to a great extent on the properties of the construction materials. This programme shows how developments in ferrous materials have effected the design and construct...ion of one particular type of structure, the bridge. The programme also illustrates how scientific testing of various structures began to take place; how advances in the theory of stress and strains aided the designer; and how the increasing sophistication of design and construction brought its own problem in the organisation of men and materials. The programme is in colour and was filmed on location at the sites of the first cast iron, wrought iron and steel bridges in the world; these include the beautiful cast iron bridge at Ironbridge in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire; the wrought iron Conway Suspension Bridge in North Wales and the massive Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland. Also shown in the programme is the unique Atlas Forge in Bolton - the last place in the world where wrought iron is produced and the last factory which produces steel by the Bessemer process, located in Wokington, County Durham. The speaker is Neil Cossons M.A., Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The Museum Trust is preserving industrial monuments such as the Ironbridge, and historically important machinery and structures on several sites in the Coalbrookdale area.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: AST281, Science and the rise of technology since 1800
Item code: AST281; 09
First transmission date: 15-08-1973
Published: 1973
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:44
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Producer: David Nelson
Contributor: Neil Cossens
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Atlas Forge, Bolton; Bessemer process; Bridge design, construction; Cast iron; Conway bridge; Forth Railway Bridge; Wrought iron
Footage description: Neil Cossens introduces the programme and describes the principal structural features of the stone bridge at Atcham (Wales). Shots of details of bridge to illustrate Cossen's points. Shot of the iron bridge at Ironbridge Cossens describes its original purpose and its importance in the history of civil engineering. Shots of the iron bridge. Cossens gives a fairly detailed description with illustrative shots of the bridge to demonstrate his points. A cast iron span at Betws-y-Coed is shown with brief description by Cossens, who describes the advantages of cast iron over stone. With music as background, sequence of shots of cast iron manufactures, railings, locomotive parts etc. Cossens shows the Albert Edward bridge of 1863 as the culmination of cast iron bridge construction. The greater strength of wrought iron over cast iron is demonstrated. Cossens, voice over, describes the various stages of wrought iron making (the puddling process) at the Atlas Works in Bolton. Shots of all processes in detail. Shots of Conway suspension bridge. Cossens uses this bridge as an example of an early wrought iron suspension bridge. This he compares with the bridge over the Menai Straits as an example of a larger scale bridge. Cossens describes another type of bridge made possible by the advent of wrought iron. He uses as his example the railway tunnel at Conway. Cossens also compares the Conway beam bridge with its successor across the Menai Straits. Cossens, voice over, describes the Bessemer converter process for the manufacture of steel, the new stronger material for structural use to which Cossens refers in the previous sequence. As his example of the steel bridge he chooses the Forth railway bridge. This is described in detail, its principal structural details illustrated by animated drawings, and numerous stills taken during construction shown. Aerial shots of the bridge. Cossens describes the devolutions in construction techniques, design and administration brought about by the wider use of steel. Cossens' s voice over with shots of the Forth bridge.
Master spool number: 6HT/71323
Production number: 00525_3036
Videofinder number: 3369
Available to public: no