Visible means of support

These massive supports are found on a section of the walls of the Arsenale. They’re doing a mighty fine job. If there’s an architect in the crowd, could he/she please tell me the correct term for these?

3rd card 2014 253

3rd card 2014 254

3rd card 2014 255



Filed under Venice

16 responses to “Visible means of support

  1. Andante

    Bert, don’t you think there’d be a lot of distortion if this heating in situ of metal ties was done in “Real life” rather than your physics textbook? It would be difficult within a building, too, to get it done evenly. There’d be softening of the metal as well. Simply the tightening of the nuts exerts a tremendous force (as when as when jacks allow weak and feeble ladies to lift cars!) – Just something to think about!!


    • You have a valid point there, Andante. They must have had some efficient equipment/tools to go about the tasks of building ships in the Arsenale, so no doubt had some darn good methods of tightening things!


  2. very cool!!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Bert

    I remember learning about these when we did physics for O-level. The rod is put through the building from one side to the other and the nuts are tightened. The rod is then heated along its length as much as possible. The rod expands, of course. The nuts are tightened once more, as much as possible. The rod cools, contracts and pulls the bulging walls in. There are some very ornamental ones in Venice in which the patress plate looks like a rose. There is a pageful here:


    • That is so totally cool, Bert! I really like the things I learn from the folks who comment here. And, aren’t some of those plates on the site quite beautiful!

      Hm, maybe the focus for my next trip can be those patress plates, goodness knows there are enough of them to be seen.


  4. And how can we be sure the rods go all the way through? Maybe they’re only decorative??? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Just kidding).


  5. I’m always amazed at what people could do in “the old days” without all our modern machinery, etc.


  6. I am no architect but I suspect they are later additions to support an outward bulging and crumbling wall.


  7. Andrew

    Found it! They are called patress plates and link wall ties through the structure.


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