Humans demonstrate how a cantilever bridge works (circa 1890)


1 Like

Wasn’t there a pilot who developed a strapless brassiere based on the principal of the cantilever bridge? Sort of a do-it-yourself type job.

Reportedly, Howard Hughes designed a cantilevered bra for Jane Russell to wear in “Outlaw”.

In the film, “Vertigo”, there is a joke about such a bra being designed by a Lockheed engineer.


I find myself wondering how many different trusses you could demonstrate this way. I mean, Town’s lattice truss is probably out of the question, but what about king-post and queen-post trusses?

Well, good-bye to today’s productivity. Thanks, Mark. :angry:


Didn’t know about Hughes. I’ve been obsessed with Hitch/Vertigo lately, so I was just quoting that scene to see if anybody got the reference!

Completely irrelevant small world story but I lived for some years about 200m from where Benjamin Baker grew up (there is, literally, a baker’s shop within a very short distance), One of my kids became a structural engineer, and has designed a cantilevered structure on one of the Canary Wharf buildings (intended to impress visitors.)
The site has only recently been marked by a plaque. Wikipedia is incomplete on the subject, but after a few attempts at edits on other subjects, and the hostile response, I can’t be bothered to waste any more time on them.

It is claimed to be correct. Hughes also designed the “Spruce goose” H-4 Hercules, an enormous, wooden freight aircraft/flying boat for use during WW2 but not flown till 1947. It is worth reading up, as an unintentionally funny project (like the Russian Ekranoplan). The Wikipedia article manages to suggest that it wasn’t a complete fiasco but fails to explain why, after the first test flight, it never took off again. Howard Hughes put the “eccentric” into “genius”.

1 Like

At least one other flight, as detailed in in the documentary The Rocketeer


Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen that sentiment expressed. I could buy a small congressman.


I’ve seen it in person, at the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville Oregon.

I’d say it managed to not be a complete fiasco by showing that airplanes that size are actually possible. I mean, it DID manage to actually fly, during its test flight. And given how ridiculously big it is in-person, and the fact it’s made mostly out of WOOD but is still pretty structurally sound, that’s really impressive for 1940s engineering.

1 Like

The Wikipedia article manages to suggest that it wasn’t a complete fiasco but fails to explain why, after the first test flight, it never took off again.

I would consider the explanation that the war it was created for had ended two years earlier.

1 Like

The locals have been waiting for the big guy who will sit on the bridge ever since.

That’s rather the point; the aircraft took so long to build that the war it was intended for was already over for 2 years when it was complete, and it could not be repurposed for anything else. Double failure. The project should either have been cancelled three years before when it was obvious it would not be in production in time to be of use, or should have been redesigned for expected post war challenges. Just allowing it to continue all that time was a fiasco. Its complete lack of flexibility was another.

For those wondering how a Japanese guy ends up as a construction foreman in Scotland around 1890, there’s a short wikipedia article , and a biography at the university of Glasgow.

1 Like

It’s pretty unremarkable. Japan went to Britain for a lot of engineering knowledge at the end of the 19th century, and the UK not only built a number of the warships that modernised their fleet, but trained the officers. The Mikasa is perhaps the best known example.
One of the original founders of Mitsubishi went to Cambridge.
When the Ministry of Technology didn’t want Soichiro Honda rocking the boat by making cars in Japan, he went to the UK, where Honda make both cars and engines.
WW2 was actually an aberration in the relations between Japan and the UK; we have been on good terms for most of the last 130 years or so. Two island peoples with a distrust of the mainland, a liking for sea power, a lot of strange social customs and a rigid class structure, fortunately on opposite sides of the world.


Not many dollars, then?

1 Like

Look at how serious these dudes are taking this photo. This is a real event for them, having set up their demonstration and the illustration of the bridge above them. Very interesting!

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.