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Louisville Bridge and Iron Company Records

Identifier: 1989_124-UA
The records of the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company represent a sample of the originally created materials. An effort has been made to include a variety of types of materials.

In physical types, the collection consists of photographs, framed photographs, books, papers, and blueprint drawings. In intellectual types, the collection consists of technical records, financial records, and legal records. The material dates from 1865 to 1986, with the bulk coming from the 1870's to the 1920's.

The collection has a strong representation of technical drawings, both in the books and in the blueprints. The books contain information on the calculations involved in construction. Of special note is an 8 1/2 page essay entitled "On the size of pins for connecting flat links in the chains of suspension bridges" which appears in the 1865-1866 book of computations. There are also insurance papers which consist of accident reports and in some cases, other documents relating to legal action resulting from accidents. Several of the collection's books contain material relating to the costs of operation, from estimates of project costs to accounts payable and receivable.

The collection has little information about the officers of the company. They appear as creators of information rather than its subjects.


  • 1865-1986


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the University of Louisville and there are no additional restrictions.


50 linear feet

Organizational history

The Louisville Industrial Works was founded in June of 1865, and located on the corner of 8th and Cawthorn Streets in Louisville. The first officers were: Albert Fink - President, A. P. Cochran - Secretary and Treasurer, E. Benjamin - Superintendent, Gilman Trafton - Engineer, and George and James W. Ainslie. One year later, on June 19, 1866, the name was changed to the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company. The company moved to 11th and Oak Streets in 1872. Both the name and location changes were to be permanent.

A 1924 article in the Louisville Courier-Journal reports some of the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company's major contracts to date, including:
  1. *Finktruss Bridge - named for the patent Albert Fink received, this bridge spans the Cumberland River near Clarksville, Tennessee.
  2. *During World War I, the company built parts for the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, Submarine Boat Corporation. In recognition, one of the large steamships during the war was named the "Louisville Bridge".
  3. *Howard Theatre in Atlanta - at a cost of $1 million.
  4. *several bridges for the Luoisville and Nashville Railroad.
  5. *the 14th Street Bridge across the Ohio River - began in 1867, opened in 1870.
  6. *Atherton High School in Louisville.
  7. *several buildings for the Louisville Gas and Electric Company.
A 1926 article in the Louisville Courier-Journal announces the retirement of Frank Vaughn, the president of the company (age 70) after 58 years of employment. If these dates are correct, Mr. Vaughn joined the company in 1866 at the age of 12 years!

The Louisville Bridge and Iron company closed in 1987 after 122 years of business in Louisville.

The records of the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company consist of photographs of projects, books containing technical and financial information, legal documents (including insurance papers and deeds), and large blueprint drawings.


Louisville Bridge and Iron Company Records
Archives Staff
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752
502 852-6673 (Fax)