Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,113 pages of information and 233,645 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

James Laurie

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1811 - 1875

American Civil Engineer

Born in Edinburgh, he emigrated to the USA and eventually became a co-founder and the first President of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

1811 Born at Bell's Quarry near Edinburgh on 9 May 1811. Until 1832 he was apprenticed in an office that made mathematical and engineering instruments in Bells Quarry. In 1832, along with James Pugh Kirkwood, he emigrated to the USA. They initially both worked as engineers for the Norwich & Worchester Railroad in Boston, Massachusetts .....

For a comprehensive summary of Laurie's career, see his ASCE Biography[1]

As chief engineer for the New Haven, Hartford and Springfield Railroad from 1861 - 1866, he designed the Warehouse Point Bridge (USA) crossing the Connecticut River. It was 1525 ft long, with 17 spans. Plate girders were used for the short spans, and Whipple trusses for longer spans[2]. Due to the pressure of work on US contractors during the Civil War, the contract for the ironwork construction and erection was placed with William Fairbairn and Sons.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] American Society of Civil Engineers: James Pugh Kirkwood
  2. 'William Fairbairn: the experimental engineer' by Richard Byrom, Railway & Canal Historical Society, 2017