1824: This Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Took Only Four Months to Build

December 30, 1824

A now-famous pedestrian bridge was opened in the city of Nuremberg in the present-day Federal Republic of Germany. (At the time of the bridge’s debut, Nuremberg was part of the district of Rezatkreis in the Kingdom of Bavaria.) This bridge, crossing the river Pegnitz, took only four months to build.

The classification for this structure is a chain bridge, which is a type of suspension bridge that has eyebars (straight bars with holes, or “eyes,” for possible attachment to other components) or chains rather than wire ropes for holding the deck in place. That Nuremberg-based bridge, relying on wrought iron eyebars for support, has the distinction of being the oldest surviving chain bridge still in use within mainland Europe. While never given any official name, this structure has become widely known as the Chain Bridge (“Kettensteg” in German).

The Chain Bridge was designed by 34-year-old mechanical engineer Conrad George Kuppler, whose technical expertise also earned him acclaim as a professor at the Polytechnic School (predecessor to the present-day Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences) in Nuremberg. In developing his design for the bridge, Kuppler relied heavily on plans that had been used for building similar bridges in England.

The Chain Bridge consists of two spans measuring 108.3 feet (33 meters) each. Starting in 2009, it was closed due to safety concerns. The bridge was subsequently rebuilt with as much of its original material as possible. The Chain Bridge was reopened to pedestrian use towards the end of 2010.

For more information on the Chain Bridge (Kettensteg) in Nuremberg, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_Bridge_(Nuremberg) and https://structurae.net/en/structures/chain-bridge.

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