SIR GEORGE BIDDELL AIRY Autograph Letter Signed.
British mathematician and astronomer. Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881. The man who established Greenwich as the location of the prime meridian.
ALS. 1p. Royal Observatory Greenwich. March 27th 1851. To the engineer, Charles Manby.
"I am much obliged by your note regarding the presenting of the Paper & Discussion on the Exhibition Building. It will enable me to remove some misunderstanding."
12mo. Approx 6.25 x 3.75 inches. Trimmed and with mounting traces to verso. All else very good.
In addition to his considerable achievements as a mathematician and astronomer, George Biddell Airy was also an accomplished engineer and pioneered research into stress fractures in girder beam construction. He was the expert who advised on the effect of wind speed and stress during the construction of the Tay Bridge. The "Exhibition Building" referred to in this letter is the Crystal Palace erected for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Airy had been consulted regarding stress in the ironwork and had given the opinion that Paxton's design was susceptible to stress caused by the resonance of the sound of the many people who would pass through the building. There was widespread disagreement over this and, in this letter, Airy is evidently thanking Manby for the opportunity to clarify his views at a meeting.
Charles Manby (1804-1884) was secretary of the Institution of Civil Engineers and one of the organising committee of the Great Exhibition, appointed by Sir ROBERT PEEL.