Bizarre Mating

I collect examples of the cast iron hardware that could be bought from catalogs by industrial building designers in the late nineteenth century. But one of my favorite examples involves only incidental ferrous fasteners. The builders of a railroad roundhouse in Quincy, Massachusetts had big and beautiful heart pine for their posts, but wanted to use the newly available and very efficient rolled steel S-beams. The fabricators punched hundreds of these 18 inch tall “I mortises” into the faces of the posts. Light steel angles and lags held the connections together. You can still see the drill and chisel tracks of what must have been a very bored crew.

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