This four panel structure was likely built by the Wrought
Iron Bridge Company, because it features the unusual threaded rod with nut detail at the end posts
that act as connections for the bottom chord and diagonal members. In
addition, the overall style (latticed vertical members, etc) is similar to
other bridges that are officially documented with the company.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge
The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms.
The 1 span, 45'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is traditionally composed of built-up compression members and eyebar tension members. It has the cast connecting pieces at the end posts typical of
Wrought Iron Bridge Co. truss bridges.
Summary of Significance
The ca. 1880 Pratt pony truss is technologically significant. 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. It is 1 of at least 13 very similar examples dating from 1874 to the early 1890s.
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design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses.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. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions
based on the Pratt patent. 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.
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.
The bridge is one of over 150 extant pin-connected truss bridges dating from 1874 for pony trusses and 1876 for thru trusses. Twenty six predate 1888 and represent the era of experimentation that evolved into
standardized designs by about 1888. This example has moderate significance because the genre and the fabricator are so well represented in Ohio.
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer