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Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Paging
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Joseph Strauss Bridge Plans
    Creator: Strauss Bascule Bridge Company
    Identifier/Call Number: M0163
    Physical Description: 250 map folder(s) (circa 4,500 drawings)
    Physical Description: 500 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1905-1935
    Abstract: Original bridge plans and construction drafts. Four different bridge types are represented: Strauss direct lift bridge, Strauss trunnion draw span, Strauss trunnion bascule bridge, and Strauss vertical lift bridge.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research. Note that material is stored off-site and must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.
    Several drawing sets (File 560, File 1265, and File 1490) are fragile and in the care of Conservation. Please contact Public Services for more information on using these drawing sets.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Transferred from the School of Engineering, Stanford University, 1966.


    The plans are arranged in File number order, which roughly corresponds to a chronological arrangement. Where no file number is available, the plans have been arranged chronologically.

    Biographical / Historical

    Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870-1938) was an American structural engineer who revolutionized the design of bascule bridges. Strauss held numerous patents for bascule bridges, including his major innovation of using concrete counterweights coupled with a series of linkages to balance the moveable span. His company the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company (later called Strauss Engineering Corporation), based in Chicago, Illinois, designed a variety of moveable and fixed bridges based on these patents. He was also the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge, which opened in 1937 in San Francisco shortly before his death in 1938.


    Page from library catalog: https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/4082908 

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item] Joseph Strauss Bridge Plans, M163). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of original bridge plans and construction drafts. Four different bridge types are represented: Strauss direct lift bridge (S.D.L.B.), Strauss trunnion draw span (S.T.D.S.), Strauss trunnion bascule bridge (S.T.B.B.), and Strauss vertical lift bridge (S.V.L.B.). The file number indicated was created and assigned by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company. Years indicated after location of the project are the earliest and latest dated plans in the set.
    The majority of the plans and drafts are for bridges in the United States or Canada, however there are also plans for bridges in Argentina, China, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Russia, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Norway. Also while almost every plan is for a bridge there are also plans for a searchlight and an aeroscope.
    Some of the plans are very fragile and require special care during handling. There are also some plans that are very dusty.
    The type of information that can be found on a blueprint sheet is: The type of bridge, the specific location of the bridge (e.g. Second Narrows, Burrard Inlet), the municipality and state/province, who the bridge was designed for (e.g. Southern Pacific Railroad), bridge designer (The Strauss Bascule Bridge Co.).
    For each sheet there is also: drawn by, traced by, checked by, revised dates, scale of the sheet, date, Strauss Company general file number of the project, and sheet number. On the back of the sheets there is a date printed stamp.
    Each project usually has around 10-20 sheets, although some have as little as one sheet and others have as many as 86.
    The sheets also note what kind of drawing is depicted. Usually the first sheet in a project is a general drawing that shows the whole structure as well as containing a list of all the other drawings/sheets in the project.
    For the above bridge example, Second Narrows, Burrard, Vancouver, B.C., there are 27 sheets which are as follows: General drawing Stress sheet Masonry plan and grillages Bascule truss – front end Bascule truss – interm. Part. Bascule truss – trunnion end Floor system – bascule span Bottom laterals – bascule span Floor system – tower span Tower truss – lower part Tower truss – upper part Machinery girders Counterweight link and operating strut Counterweight trusses – upper part Counterweight trusses – lower part Concrete counterweight Floor deck Ladders and platforms Operator's house and machinery house Trunnions and bearings Link pins and bearings Operating machinery Machinery bearings Machinery bed and equalizer Operating strut guide End lock and buffer Buffer on operating strut

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-collections/permission-publish

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    bascule bridges
    moveable bridges
    structural engineering
    Civil engineering.