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Model for a trussed girder, (designed by George Dance the Younger), wood

Museum number: X237

Curatorial note

In 1802 George Dance sent Soane on request a model of Trussed Girders. Soane may have first asked for drawings of the scheme, for the museum’s correspondence includes a letter from Dance dated 27th July 1802, which runs: ‘You know that everything I do is thrown into Chaos I therefore have it not in my power to send you by the bearer anything satisfactorily but I will immediately send to the Carpenter who has the Model & he shall bring it to you tomorrow…’ (Cpd 1/III/D(5)/12). As the model was still with the carpenter it seems probable that it had only been made recently. On July 30th Dance wrote to Soane again: ‘Pray let me know if you have got the model of my scheme for Trussing Girders, & whether I can be of any further use, as the Model you I hope have got is more complicated than I have found necessary for moderate bearings…’ (Cpd 1/III/D(5/13). Soane then appears to have enquired about the system’s weight bearing properties, for Dance is reassuring him in the last letter to refer to the model: ‘You may depend upon it the Truss if properly executed will bear any weight short of which wou’d break it – I have found it so strong that I have simplified it very much…’ (Cpd 1/III/D(5)/14).

This model should not be confused with Dance’s earlier schemes for ‘incombustible floors’ and ‘iron Trusses’, described in a letter to Soane of the mid 1790s (Cpd 1/III/D(5)/6).

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk