The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 13 (1935) > Issues > Issue 1 > The History and Progress of Structural Engineering in the Present Century. 1. The Training of the St
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The History and Progress of Structural Engineering in the Present Century. 1. The Training of the Structural Engineer

THERE are two fields of work in structural engineering in which, as a teacher, I have naturally been mainly interested; these are theoretical investigations into stress distribution in complicated structures, and the necessary experimental research to test the validity of these theoretical investigations. It is very interesting to remember the share in the early development in the determination of stresses in structures due to men directly connected with Edinburgh. It was in 1870-nine years before his death-that Clerk Maxwell read his paper on reciprocal diagrams before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and so laid the foundation of all the investigations which have been so numerous during the last quarter of a century; only three years later Bow’s book on notation was published in Edinburgh, another contribution of great value to systematic development of graphical solutions of stress problems. In 1890 the Oxford University Press published my translation of Cremona’s classical treatise on graphical statics, which I fancy brought home for the first time to engineering students the beauty and simplicity of graphical as opposed to algebraical solutions of stress problems. Though the immense development in the use of graphical methods of dealing with stress calculations both in determinate and in indeterminate structures has rendered obsolete much of this early work, the importance of this pioneer work is attested by the fact that Professor Beggs’ deformeter, which places in the hands of the research worker and the designer a practical method of solving indeterminate structural problems by elastic models, was based, as the Professor himself in his description of the apparatus acknowledges, on Clerk Maxwell’s theorem of reciprocal deflections. Professor Beggs’ apparatus is now in use in several of the British University Engineering Schools, and in some of the more important structural engineering drawing offices, and research is being carried out with the help of this instrument in connection with the drawing oflice instruction at the University of Edinburgh and elsewhere. Sir Thomas Hudson Beare

Author(s): Beare, Sir Thomas Hudson

Keywords: structural engineers;training