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Albert Fink

Albert Fink
Albert Fink
Born (1827-10-27)October 27, 1827
Lauterbach, Hesse, Germany
Died April 3, 1897(1897-04-03) (aged 69)
Ossining, New York, United States
Nationality German-American
Engineering career
Significant design Fink truss

Albert Fink (October 27, 1827 – April 3, 1897) was a German-born civil engineer who worked in the United States. He is best known for his railroad bridge designs, which helped revolutionize the use of iron for American railroad bridge construction. He devised the Fink truss and many truss bridges, especially the Fink-Type Truss Bridge.


  • Biography 1
  • Notes 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Born in Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Under them he built numerous bridges, including the Green River Bridge in Kentucky, then the longest iron bridge in the nation, a bridge in Nashville, Tennessee over the Cumberland, and one over the Ohio at Louisville, Kentucky, which at one mile in length was the longest truss bridge of its time.[1]

During the Civil War he served in the road and machinery department as chief engineer and superintendent. Many bridges were destroyed and roads severed during this period, and Fink led the operating force to repair damages and guard against disasters. Structural losses incurred were no less than half a million dollars in that day's monetary value. Fink meanwhile advanced quickly within the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, first becoming chief engineer.[2] In 1865, he was appointed as general manager, and by 1870, elected vice president. The 1873 financial crises prompted him to study the cost of transportation, and subsequently published two pamphlets on the topic, officially known as "The Fink Report on Costs of Transportation."

Fink's Viaduct Bridge at Louisville, Kentucky
Modified Fink trussed Girder bridge

During this time he also looked for a way to ease the competition between railroad companies and rather have them cooperate. He devised a plan for the Southern Railway and Steamship Association, which would be adopted, and formed in Atlanta. He resigned as vice president and general manager in October 1875 of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to focus on the organization and management of the Southern Railway and Steamship Association and served as its general commissioner. For two years he worked to stabilize the competitive freight rates amongst the 25 rail companies.[3] He set out to travel to Germany in June 1877. Upon arriving in New York City, he was requested by Vanderbilt, Jewett, Scott, and Garrett, presidents of the four great railroad companies, to stay in the city and organize the westbound railroad traffic on their lines. He accepted the commissionership of these trunk lines, and managed the position with success.[1] In 1878, he was made president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.[2] He retired from his post in 1889, and died in Ossining, New York, United States.[3]


Fink Truss (half span and cross section)
  1. ^ a b Wilson & Fiske 1900
  2. ^ a b Faust, Albert Bernhardt (1909). The German Element in the United States. Houghton Mifflin Co. pp. 80–1. 
  3. ^ a b "Fink, Albert." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.


  • The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Bridge
  • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bridges/History 2

External links

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