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Leon Moisseiff
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Architect
    (November 10, 1872-September 3, 1943)
    Born in Riga, Latvia
    Architect and bridge engineer
    Considered the driving force behind suspension bridge designs in the U.S.
    Hired by the New York City Bridge Department (1898)
    Design engineer of the Manhattan Bridge (1912), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (1926), the Ambassador Bridge (1929) and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940)
    Consulting engineer of the George Washington Bridge (1931), the Bayonne Bridge (1931), the Triborough Bridge (1936), the Golden Gate Bridge (1937), and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (1939)
    Died of a heart attack at age 70
    He had a reputation as a workaholic, taskmaster and status seeker.
    Teamed with chief engineer Joseph Strauss to work on the Golden Gate Bridge, when asked about Strauss' projected cost, he mused was 'about correct and may be exceeded by not more than $2 million.'
    When Strauss fired his colleague Charles Ellis, he did not speak up on Ellis' behalf.
    With suspension bridges, he used steel to make them lighter and narrower, but at times too flexible and unstable.
    This instability culminated with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which famously collapsed on November 7, 1940, just four months after it opened.
    The bridge, which Moisseiff called 'most beautiful bridge in the world,' came down in 42 mph winds, even though it was rated able to withstand winds up to three times as strong.
    The collapse effectively ended his career and he died less than three years later.
    He and his family emigrated to the U.S. from Latvia when he was 19 to escape political instability in his native country.
    He loved the U.S. so much, he became a citizen at age 23 and named his first daughter Liberty.
    In 1895, he received a degree in civil engineering from Columbia University.
    His deflection theory allowed suspension bridges to be built longer than traditionally made bridges, and they became more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing and cheaper to build.
    The Washington State Toll Bridge Authority hired him to redesign the Tacoma Narrows Bridge because engineer Clark Eldridge's design was not cost effective.
    Though Eldrige blamed him for the collapse, all other colleagues exonerated him, and he was not held in any way responsible.
    The famously filmed bridge collapse caused no human casualties, though a dog left in a car by a frightened motorist was lost in the event.
    The American Society of Civil Engineers established the Moisseiff Award fund to recognize his engineering contributions.
    He was involved in the creation of two of the most famous bridges in the world - the Manhattan Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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