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Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria

Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria

Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria

I am doing research on historic wind and EQ design standards, codes, and methods as relating to building and non-building structures.  Are there any engineers out there who have direct knowledge or are aware of good sources of info on the subject?

I already have an ASCE librarian performing a serch of historic design standards dating back to 1850 for me.  I was able to find the title of one book published by John Wiley and Sons in 1930 that looks promising.   I have also seen research published by ASME on response of structures to wind loads.

RE: Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria

I just found an old copy of ANSI A58.1-72 which, in its foreword, provided some sketchy info on the source of load data for the document.

They indicate that in 1924, a report of the Dept. of Commerce Building Code Committee, entitled "Minimum Live Loads Allowable for Use in Design of Buildings" was published by the National Bureau of Standards.  You might try the NBS.

It states that the recommendations there were based on a study of data obtained from "available sources" and represented the considered judgement of experienced architects and engineers.

There was also, apparently, an A58.1-1945, 1955 as well.  The 1945 document seems to be the first to incorporate wind and earthquake as the 24 edition didn't seem to speak of it.

RE: Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria


Thanks for the info.

I have contacted ASCE and requested that they perform a search of their historic library records to see if I can get copies of out-of-print design standards documentation.

I didn't think of contacting the NBS.   I'm positive the information you have provided on the NBS will be extremely helpful in my search.

Would it be possible for you to make a photo-copy of the entire text of ANSI A58.1-72 and forward it to me?  If so, I would be happy to provide you with my mail address and to compensate you for the time and cost of providing the documentation.

You can contact me by e-mail at:  wdavidson@tower-structures.com

RE: Historic Wind and Earthquake Design Criteria

I hope I am not too late to contribute.
Do your interests extend to the UK?
In 1984, the BCSA published a book entitled “Historical Structural Steelwork Handbook”. This contains some information on the derivation of wind loads. I summarise as follows: -

(A) A formula was published by Smeaton in 1759: -
 p = 0.005V^2. where V is mph and p is lb./sq.ft.
After the Tay Bridge disaster in 1879, the National Physics Laboratory conducted experiments on wind loads and altered the formula to: -
 p = 0.003V^2.

(B) Prior to the erection of the Forth Railway Bridge, Sir Benjamin Baker conducted experiments on wind loads by measuring the pressure on plates exposed to the wind. Records were kept over the period 1884 – 1890 and gave the results: -
    1.5sq.ft. gauge     29.8 lb./sq.ft.
   300 sq.ft. gauge     16.9 lb./sq.ft.

(C) Subsequent to the erection of the bridge, records were kept on small fixed gauges 1.5sq.ft. in area, placed at different heights above high water level. The average recorded pressures between 1901 – 1906 were: -
   50ft above HWL       13 lb./sq.ft.
  163ft above HWL       23 lb./sq.ft.
  214ft above HWL       29 lb./sq.ft.
  378ft above HWL       50 lb./sq.ft.
(D) In 1930 a volume, “Wind Stresses in Buildings” by Robins was published in The USA. This detailed the investigation into wind loads at length and was accepted at that period as the most authoritative work on the subject.
Presumably this last is the book already mentioned.

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