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Manuscript Journal - Urban Infrastructure - Railways
Chicago, 1845. Drogheda, Dublin [Ireland], Dumfries [Scotland], New Rochelle, Chicago [U.S.A.], 1845-1860. One original signed field journal of notes and drawings, made by William Edward Bryson, Scottish architect and civil engineer who immigrated to the United States of America in 1847 and who was an instrumental contributor in designing and constructing the transportation and storm drain frameworks upon which Chicago rapidly emerged into a dominant Midwest metropolis. Small 8vo. Adcock's Engineer's Pocket Book, 152 pages, printed in London, containing detailed manuscript notes and meticulous drawings to 80 pages, featuring bridge building, railway lines and underground storm drain works. Front endpaper signed by Bryson, his initials also appearing twice in the text. Beautiful morocco binding with five raised bands and marbled endpapers representative of the period. Volume measures approximately 12 x 16,5 x 2 cm. Very slight age toning to leafs, otherwise in very good condition, a most pleasing and unique volume.The engineer's notes begin with 5 stellar pre-construction drawings of Ireland's Boyne Viaduct dated November 1845, illustrating the original ironworks which have since been removed, and complete with weights and measurements, 5 pages. [Construction on the railway bridge began eight years later in 1853 and was completed in 1855. The original iron spans were wide enough to carry two tracks. When the bridge was refurbished in the 1930s, new steel girders replaced the iron structure.] He also sketches a proposal for the Newton Cap Viaduct in Bishop Auckland, with further notes on its stone masonry and brick work, as well the contractor's obligations, altogether 10 pages, most likely penned between 1846-47. With measurements for its 11 pillars, each spanning 60 feet, he suggests a total length of the wall being 964 feet; upon completion it measured 828 feet. Following is an itemized list of material and labour costs such as timber, wrought iron, lead, fencing, arch sheeting, excavation of the river, and two culverts. [Built by the North Eastern Railway across the valley of the River Wear, construction began in 1854, and it saw its first freight on 19th August 1856.] Two margin annotations refer to "Midland Great Western Railway, contract No. 1 Dublin Terminus" suggesting his involvement in another project perhaps at or near the same time. On 1 June 1847 he notes his arrival in Dumfries to work for the Glasgow Dumfries & Carlisle Railway, a company in Scotland, which built and ran what is now known as the Glasgow South Western Line. The line was authorised on 13 August 1846 and was constructed between then and 1850. The volume does not indicate his work with the latter mentioned railway company, although it would have ended by early 1849. Surviving a voyage on an Irish immigrant ship which had sailed from Liverpool, on 27 August 1849 Dryson arrived in New York. He settled in New Rochelle, Westchester County. Quickly being recognized as an astute and skilled architect and civil engineer, immediately following the extension of the railroad through Pelhamville, on 4 August 1851 Bryson was commissioned to survey the area for development. [His map was filed in the office of the Register of Westchester County and has been referenced in a wide variety of documentation over the years referencing homes and lots in North Pelham. Bryson also created the development map entitled "Map of Prospect Hill Village, Town of Pelham, Westchester County, New York" dated August 11, 1852.] Dryson's first note made in this journal when on American soil reads, "Thursday Sept. 4th 1856 Left New Rochelle N.Y. arrived in Chicago Sunday morning Sept. 7th 1856." Approximately 12 pages are devoted to his endeavours in Chicago playing an integral role in a massive infrastructure project for 4 years - the designing and construction of Chicago's storm and sewer drain system. Precise calculations of materials and measurements are made, identifying specific locations such as the corner of Madison Street and South Morgan, Fulton Street inthe River District, Halsted & Division Streets which were "often soaking in water." Mixing compounds, planning sidewalk grades, making junction and sand basin pipes, calculating costs and procuring materials from suppliers in neighbouring states such as bricks, mortar, cement, and sand, these are but some of the tasks outlined in notes leading up to 30 August 1860. [Chicago was built in a low-lying area subject to flooding. To avoid disaster, the city built a stormwater conveyance system, beginning in 1856. In the earliest phase, sewage pipes were laid across the city above ground, to use gravity to move the waste. In 1856 city council decided that the entire city should be elevated four to five feet by using a newly available jacking-up process. In one instance, the 5-story Brigg?'s Hotel, weighing 22,000 tons, was lifted while it continued to operate. Observing that such a thing could never have happened in Europe, British historian Paul Johnson cites this astounding feat as a dramatic example of American determination and ingenuity: based on the conviction that anything material is possible.] With few exceptions the remaining pages of the volume consist of engineering calculations and cost figures, dispersed throughout, mostly relating to the aforementioned projects. These include American standard weights and measurements, geometrical equations, procedures for excavating, making marble cement and blasting marble, stone masonry, preparing coloured dyes, some formulae, market rates for various types of timber, and much more. On four pages he jots down medicinal remedies & miscellanea. One page consists of notes on beautifying and painting sundials. Several clippings of engineering interest are also pasted within the notes. Born in Edinburgh 31 December 1818, William Edward Bryson (1818-1876) was an architect and civil engineer, having received his education at the Academy of Design in Dublin. In Ireland he was engaged in the construction of the Dublin and Mullingar Railroad, and then in Scotland, with the Dumfries and Glasgow Railroad. A civil engineer 31 years of age, on 27 August 1849 he arrived and immigrated to the United States, pursuing his profession in New York City for a time before settling in the nearby village of New Rochelle circa 1850. There he was engaged in laying out several towns in Westchester County. In 1851 Bryson conducted important surveys of Pelhamville and its environs for development, making maps which are still referenced today. In 1856, as confirmed by his own manuscript note in the journal, Dryson moved to Chicago, soon to be employed by the Board of Water and Sewage Commissioners, an enormous project which was then just beginning. He worked tirelessly at this for seven years, and during this period also published several papers in the Journal of the Franklin Institute including the "Tables on the Strength of Cast Iron, Wrought Iron and Timber Pillars." In 1863 he was invited by General R. G. Delafield to take charge of the construction of the Barbette Battery at Fort Hamilton in the New York Harbor. He then found employment and a great number of development projects to engage in, with Chicago's Board of Public Works, the first being the construction of the Washington Street Tunnel (the first traffic tunnel under the Chicago River, completed in 1869). He was also involved with the LaSalle Street tunnel, the New Lake tunnel, a superstructure for water works, and foundations for the West Side Pumping Works. During this last assignment he contracted a fatal cold. Dryson was a member of the Civil Engineers' Club of the Northwest, founded in 1869 to draw together engineers of all kinds, but emphasized the discipline that ruled the region - rail. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2014-12-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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