This bridge is an example of a Wrought Iron Bridge Company pony truss. It displays several of the unique details that the company used on its pony truss, including threaded rod with nut connections for the diagonals at the
end posts, where a cast iron connector plate is also found. This bridge is closed to traffic. The north truss is in terrible condition. One diagonal member has been destroyed and cut out, and the top chord is severely sagging. The sagging
section of top chord was at some point crudely repaired by welding plate to it.
Despite the condition of the bridge, it should be noted that this bridge could still be restored. It would be particularly feasible to restore it for reuse in a new location for non-motorized traffic, such as on a bicycle
trail, rail-trail, etc.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge
The bridge is closed to traffic. It is in a rural setting.
The 1 span, 52'-long, pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge is a half-hip configuration. It is traditionally composed of built-up compression members and eyebar or rod tension members. It has the cast connecting
pieces at the end posts and threaded diagonal rods typical of the Wrought Iron Bridge Co.
Closed in 1995 due to damage from truck. Non-in-kind repairs to upper chords and verticals are evident. Truss is racked.
Summary of Significance
The ca. 1874 Pratt pony truss is wracked and has a large modern splice at the upper chord, and at least one replacement vertical, a result of impact damage that closed the bridge in 1995. Several, if not all,
members are damaged or warped, significantly impacting the integrity of original design and materials. The design, with its distinctive upper chord panel point connection details, is characteristic of Wrought Iron Bridge Co. (WIBCo)
Pratt pony trusses dating from the mid 1870s to early 1890s. The design is described as "very popular" and having been built widely in an 1881 WIBCo catalogue. Although a very early example of this WIBCo design, there are more
complete in Morrow County and in the state. It is 1 of at least 13 very similar examples. A more complete example, also dating to 1874, is 5930146. The bridge is recommended not eligible due to the loss of integrity and the
existence of more complete examples.
Pratt trusses were undoubtedly the most popular truss design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in
popularity by Warren trusses. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. The great advantage of the Pratt over other designs was the
relative ease of calculating the distribution of stresses. More significantly, it translated well into an all-metal design in lengths of less than 200'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the
last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces,
and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. Many of the connection details were proprietary and associated with individual builders or companies, and thus earlier examples
are generally taken to be technologically significant in showing the evolution of the design. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 the design was quite formulaic
with few significant differences between the designs of various builders. This marked the end of the pin-connected Pratt's technological evolution and, in fact, it was soon waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more
rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted connections, which happened even earlier with railroads than highways, was in no small part due to concerns about
stress reversals at the pins under heavier loads and improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment in the early 1900s. In Ohio, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices
of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.
In Ohio, there are 185 Pratt trusses dating from ca. 1874 to 1945 with at least 60 dating prior to 1900 (Phase
1A, 2008). The technologically significant unaltered examples of pin-connected Pratt trusses for the most part date prior to 1900 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or
member details. Later post-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.
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