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Der Bau eiserner Brücken im Südwesten Deutschlands 1844 bis 1889 - Mit Holz zum Eisen (Teil 1)


Medium: journal article
Language(s): de 
Published in: Stahlbau, , n. 1, v. 81
Page(s): 57-62
DOI: 10.1002/stab.201201509

Early iron bridges of south-western Germany 1844 to 1889 - Iron via Wood (part 1).

When imagining the first large imposing iron bridges built after the mid 19th century in Germany the first association is drawn to foundries on the rivers Rhine and Ruhr, such as Harkort, the Gutehoffnungshütte or MAN. But it is easily ignored that during the early phase of industrialisation ironworking factories were effectively operating also at other locations.
One of these places was Pforzheim with the factory of the Gebrüder (Brothers) Benckiser. The two most striking location advantages for the early-industrial iron mill operation there were lumber as firewood and waterpower. Unlike the regions of the Ruhr there was no black coal at Pforzheim. From the early minor mill factory an iron plant of international importance prospered. For more than four decades the factory at Pforzheim constructed iron bridges for the railway companies in Baden, in Württemberg, in Hesse, in the Bavarian Palatinate as well as in Switzerland, Austria and Hungary. Following the foundation of the German Empire in 1871 the company at Pforzheim had increasingly difficulties meeting the competition pressure from the large companies on the Rhine and the Ruhr. Production came to a halt and the companies’ history faded into obscurity.
Maybe due to this, the archives in procession of the family Benckiser remained undiscovered and unexplored, jet well preserved. So now it is possible to trace the story of the bridge building company and to judge its relevance to construction history anew.

Keywords: arch bridge, cast iron, construction history, railway bridge, company history, Grand Duchy of Baden, box-girder in lattice-work
Available from: Refer to publisher




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