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Ithiel Town was born in Thompson, Connecticut in 1784. His truss design, patented in 1820, was made of parallel diagonal members that crisscrossed one another. The timbers were angled at 45-60 degrees and were connected by wooden pins. He secured a second patent in 1835 for secondary chords. His choice of wood was pine or spruce plank. The Town-lattice truss was ideal for multi-span bridges since each span did not have to be fitted individually to piers and abutments.
Before his lattice truss design Ithiel Town built bridges across the Connecticut River at Hartford, Springfield and Northampton using a Burr arch. Town was an excellent promoter of his bridges as well as inventor. His truss design was popular but many considered it a waste of material. Additionally, the Town truss had a tendency to warp and twist out of line. His secondary chord patent corrected that problem. The Town truss was very popular in the New England area. His most famous bridge is the Windsor, VT-Cornish, NH bridge over the Connecticut River. Ithiel Town's lattice truss made him a wealthy man. He died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1844.
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Maryland Covered Bridges
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