Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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WHIPPLE, Squire, civil engineer, born in Worcester county, Massachusetts, 16 September, 1804; died in Albany, New York, 15 March, 1888. He earned sufficient money by teaching to educate himself at Hartwick seminary and Fairfield academy, and was graduated at Union college in 1830. Having acquired a fondness for mechanical pursuits as a boy in his father's cotton-factory, he now turned his attention to civil engineering, and was successively a rod-man and leveller on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. In 1840 he designed and built the first model of a scale for weighing canal-boats, and subsequently he built the first weigh-lock scale on the Erie canal. He began his career as a bridge-builder in 1840 by designing and patenting an iron-bridge truss. During the next ten years he built several bridges on the Erie canal and the New York and Erie railroad. In 1852-'3 he built a wrought and east-iron bridge over the Albany and Northern railroad, and by his work acquired the title of the "father of iron bridges." He obtained a patent for his lift draw-bridge in 1872, and in 1873-'4 built the first one over the Erie canal at Utica. Since that time the Whipple iron bridges have stood in the foremost rank. He possessed a fine cabinet of models, instruments, and apparatus, mostly made by himself, illustrating the different branches of physical and mechanical science. Mr. Whipple was elected an honorary member of the American society of civil engineers in 1868. He was the author of "The Way to Happiness" (Utica, 1847), and a "Treatise on Bridge-Building" (1847; enlarged ed., New York, 1873).
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