ENGINEERING AND TIME-BINDING
THE Arts of Engineering, by their very nature, are derived from the work of dead men and destined to serve not only the present but the future. They are freer than any other human activity from the errors of intermixing dimensions and from the fallacy of belief in individualistic accomplishment and pride. The simple steel structure of a bridge, familiar to us in every day life, is a clear reminder to us all of the arts of Hephæstus and the bound-up knowledge of countless generations of smiths and mechanics, metallurgists and chemists, mathematicians and builders, teachers and engineers who toiled for many thousands of years to make possible the riveted steel beams which are the elements of modern structure. These structures do not collapse unless the natural laws for their construction are transgressed; which seldom happens--for no one is entrusted with the work unless he has bound up in his knowledge the accumulated experience of the past; yet the transgressors of these natural laws are punished with all the severity of the common law. When a bridge is opened and tested, the written laws in some countries and the unwritten in others, and the pride and the sense of responsibility of the designer and builder of the bridge demand that he, the creator of the bridge, be the first to enter it and the last to leave it; and should the bridge collapse, he has to take the immediate consequences of his neglect of the time-binding laws.
Rarely are the affairs of engineering done with the entirely selfish motive of merely acquiring immediate selfish gain,