Design for an iron bridge, 1796.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving after a drawing by inventor Robert Fulton (1765-1815) of an iron bridge of his own design showing ribs and braces, from his 'A treatise on the improvement of canal navigation' (London, 1796). Many canals were built in England in the late 18th century. Fulton was convinced that expensive locks and aqueducts were not necesary. He believed it would be cheaper to use small canals with inclined planes between different levels and cable viaducts over rivers. 'Tub and cistern' lifting motors provided the power. He also discused designs for iron and wooden bridges.