What would we do without bridges? We certainly wouldn’t be getting over obstacles such as bodies of water, valleys, and rough terrain. Our ability to travel right over these obstacles make bridges one of the most useful inventions ever created.
What makes these structures even more amazing is the longevity of some of them. There are historical bridges across the country that are sites to see and still serve the purpose they were intended to when originally built several generations ago.
November is Historic Bridge Awareness Month, and in honor of these amazing pieces of infrastructure, Tristar Inc. reviews the invention and history of bridges.
The earliest bridges date back to ancient times when some of the first modern civilizations in Mesopotamia used natural resources like wooden logs, stone and dirt to construct them.
Some of the greatest bridge builders of all time were the ancient Romans. The aqueducts and arch bridges built by the Romans could withstand strenuous conditions that would have damaged or destroyed earlier designs. Some of these bridges even stand today!
Other ancient civilizations in India and China also designed and built bridges out of stone and wood, some of which can still be visited.
Rope bridges, a type of suspension bridge, were first used by the Inca civilization in the Andes Mountains of South America in the 16th century. The innovation and technology of bridge building rapidly increased throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in bridge building history happened in the 18th century when the first iron bridge ever was constructed in Shropshire, England.
The Industrial Revolution perpetuated the rise of bridge design and it was then discovered that building a bridge with steel was the best way to support large loads. This is why the bridges that get constructed today are mostly made of steel.
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