Wrought iron, rivets, and mill marks are some of the features Nan and I look for when we visit historic riveted truss bridges. During our January West Coast trip, we visited two excellent restored historic bridges: the Old Greenspot Road Bridge over the Santa Ana River, San Bernardino County, and the Estrella River Bridge in Whitley Gardens, Paso Robles. During our last week in San Diego, we toured the Maritime Museum finding riveted connections, mill marks, and iron structural shapes designed for iron hulled ships. It’s our second time touring the Maritime Museum; during our first visit, our time was spent exploring every historic feature of the Berkeley Ferryboat and discovering Pencoyd mill stamps on riveted deck beams, bulb angles, and bulb plates. On this trip we spent most of our time on the Star of India, the world’s oldest active iron hulled sailing ship, built at the Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man in 1863, one of the first sailing ships fabricated with wrought iron and with plate and structural components designed for ship construction. These deck beams, bulb plates and angles were riveted, and embossed on these iron shapes was the name of the mill that produced them, Consett Iron Company. In 1861, Consett Iron Company gained orders from the British Admiralty for plate and iron, and two years later construction of the iron hulled Enterpe began (later named the Star of India). We enjoyed touring the historic ships at the San Diego Maritime Museum and highly recommend it; sailing ships, a steam-powered ferry, and a submarine are featured.
Vern Mesler 2022