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* 27. 1. 1861, Bochnia, Poland
† 26. 6. 1940, Los Angeles, civil engineer


M. came to the USA as a 15-year-old gymnasium student in 1876, when his mother, the actress, moved there. He followed his mother's example and changed his surname, becoming Modjeski. He had American citizenship from 1883 onwards. After 1878, he lived in Paris, preparing at Institut Duvigneau de Lanneau for the entrance examinations for École des Ponts et Chaussees. He was able to enrol in 1882, and three years later returned to the USA with a diploma. He gained his first employment at the bureau of G. S. Morison, a renowned constructor of steel bridges. As an assistant, he supervised the construction of the Union Pacific railway bridge in Nebraska, and the building of a cantilever bridge across the Mississippi in Memphis.
In 1893, he opened his own construction bureau, drew plans, was involved in the building of bridges, and was an expert in the field of civil engineering. He made over 30 steel bridges, mostly suspension ones. His first construction was a two-storey railway/road bridge over the Mississippi River between Davenport (Iowa) and Rock Island (Illinois). In 1904, he finished the building of a cantilever bridge with lattice girders over the Mississippi River in Thebes (Illinois), which had two reinforced steel approach viaducts, an arch construction, and a total length of 838 m. In a public survey, the American press praised him as an extraordinary bridge constructor. In 1910, he confirmed this title by building the McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Louis. The bridge was designed for both the railway and the road, and had eight panels, its main lattice girders spanning 210 m. He built numerous bridges in the northwest region of the United States. He made typical projects of bridge constructions for Northern Pacific Railway, spanning up to 75 m, which were reused again and again. Between 1905 and 1908, during the construction of two railway bridges in Oregon over the Columbia and Willamette rivers, he used the largest movable bridge system of the time, spanning 72 m on one side. As the chief engineer of the construction of the railway bridge from Berd to Celine in Oregon, he stretched a 100 m tall arch bridge over the Crooked River with a span of 107 m, which was erected without a scaffolding, from both sides at once. International attention was drawn by the Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River in Philadelphia, which was opened in 1926 and had the largest span of the suspended piers, namely, 533 m, and flexible steel trusses, 110 m high. The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, completed in 1929, over the river of the same name, held the world record for three years with its span of 564 m. With the cantilever bridge built in the 1930s over the Mississippi River near New Orleans, M. completely exhausted the construction capabilities of that era. As a highly respected engineer for building bridges, M. worked on several occasions as an expert adviser. In 1907, he was a member of a committee that researched the causes for the collapse of the bridge over St. Lawrence in Quebec during its construction, and in the following year was one of the commissioners who supervised the building of the new largest bridge in the world, spanning 549 m. As adviser, he also participated in the building of the Trans Bay Bridge, which was 13 km long and connected the town of the same name with Oakland over the San Francisco Bay; at the time it was one of the longest bridges in the world. In 1916, he advised in the building of a tunnel under the Hudson River in New York. M. has great merit in the education of a new generation of American bridge builders. In recognition of his merits in the building of bridges in the USA, he received a doctoral title from the Illinois State University in 1911, and in 1922 received the Franklin Medal and honorary membership of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Technical College in Lwow also awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1930.

24. 05. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Košice

On 25th May, 2011 we will open the Central European Science Adventure in Slovak Technical Museum in Košice. The game will be accessible for school groups till 30th June. For more info ...

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20. 04. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Budapest

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