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Theodore Burr was born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1771. He settled in New York State, at Oxford, in the Chenango Valley. It was there that he built his first saw-and-grist mill. In the early 1800's Burr built various wooden bridges at the Hudson River and in the Catskills. He obtained his first patent for his arch truss in 1804. Most of his early bridges were built in New York State and New Jersey until he moved to Pennsylvania in 1812. Burr was issued a second patent in 1817 that extended his arch truss as high as the top chord. Originally his arch had reached only the bottom chords. Burr's arch was a combination of his patent arch and a multiple kingpost truss on each side of the bridge.
Theodore Burr's arch was widely used in many bridges in America for it would provide support for bridges of 100 feet or more in length. He was an energetic man, building five super structure covered bridges over the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Although Burr's design was successful, he overworked himself and overextended his credit. He died relatively penniless in 1822.
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