Nagara Gawa Railway Bridge after the earthquake, Japan, 1891.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Earthquakes had a devastating effect upon western-built engineering structures. John Milne (1850-1913) wrote: 'we see the broken cast iron piers lying on the dry shingly bed of the river,...the original line of the bridge has, in its central part, been deflected up stream…Whether it is possible for engineers to build bridges which will resist such large bodily displacements…is a matter of question'. Illustration from Milne's 'The great earthquake in Japan, 1891', published in Yokohama, c 1892. Milne was a professor at the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo, and together with W K Burton and other colleagues developed modern seismological techniques which they used to study the 1891 earthquake. Milne and Burton also took the photographs for the book.