N-0000.193.154.1 | No. 11 coffer dam, 24 feet below surface, Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC, 1859

 
Photograph
No. 11 coffer dam, 24 feet below surface, Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC, 1859
William Notman (1826-1891)
1859, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
7.3 x 7 cm
Gift of Mr. James Geoffrey Notman
N-0000.193.154.1
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , bridge (558) , Construction (163) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Coffer dams (types of watertight caissons) enabled those erecting bridge piers to get all the way down to the river bed. In this photograph, three men are busy at work around a chariot about seven metres below the surface of the Saint Lawrence River.


Once the work chamber was pumped free of water, the excess boulders, stones and sand were removed. The stone pillars were then erected on solid bedrock. Frequent flooding required that safety ladders be placed around the work chamber, so that workers could make a quick escape.