Whipple, Squire

SUBJECT AREA: Civil engineering
b. 1804 Hardwick, Massachusetts, USA
d. 15 March 1888 Albany, New York, USA
American civil engineer, author and inventor.
The son of James and Electa Whipple, his father was a farmer and later the owner of a small cotton mil at Hardwick, Massachusetts. In 1817 Squire Whipple moved with his family to Otego County, New York. He helped on the farm and attended the academy at Fairfield, Herkimer County. For a time he taught school pupils, and in 1829 he entered Union College, Schenectady, where he received the degree of AB in 1830; his interest in engineering was probably aroused by the construction of the Erie Canal near his home during his boyhood. He was first employed in a minor capacity in surveys for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and for the Erie Canal. In 1836–7 he was resident engineer for a division of the New York and Erie Railroad and was also employed in a number of other railroad and canal surveys, making surveying instruments in the intervals between these appointments; in 1840, he completed a lock for weighing canal boats.
Whipple received his first bridge patent on 24 April 1841; this was for a truss of arched upper chord made of cast and wrought iron. Five years later, he devised a trapezoidal truss which was used in the building of many bridges over the succeeding generation. In 1852–3 Whipple used his truss in an iron railroad bridge of 44.5 m (146 ft) span on the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad. He also built a number of bridges with lifting spans.
Whipple's main contribution to bridge engineering was the publication in 1847 of A Work on Bridge Building. In 1869 he issued a continuation of this treatise, and a fourth edition of both was published in 1883.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Honorary Member, American Society of Civil Engineers.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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