Glossary

Columns



Vertical supports that carry a compressive load. Some of the Victorian columns in iron are bridge-watchers' gems, with fanciful decorations cast in to the shape. They are still to be seen in old bridges.
The classic columns in masonry are associated with the Greek and Roman eras. The plainest of these was the Doric, a sturdy column capable of carrying large loads. These could therefore be spaced more widely than the more delicate and decorative styles such as the Corinthian.

You can identify the Corinthian style from the leaves at the top, and this is the kind most often chosen by the old bridge designers working in iron.

Wonderful brick columns were used in some of the early railway bridges, those of long span in Cornwall being particularly impressive. The modern concrete column tends to be plain and severe in treatment.

The principal requirement of a column is that it shall neither crush nor buckle under load. Further reference to this is made under "Struts" .

You can see the drawing.

 



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