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Digital Book
Canal Lock Design and Construction,
The Rideau Canal Experience, 1826-1982

MR253 Part of our Resources for the Rideau series, this digital book is a reprint of Parks Canada's Microfiche Report 57, "Canal Lock Design and Construction, The Rideau Canal Experience, 1826-1982" by Robert W. Passfield, 1983.

Robert Passfield's extensive 482 page report on the design and construction of the locks on the Rideau Canal has been digitized and released by Friends of the Rideau as a book on CD (fully searchable PDF file).

This report comprises a structural history of the design evolution and construction of the locks on the Rideau Canal. The design of the stone masonry locks is analyzed in terms of contemporary (1820s) canal construction practice and empirical design formulas; and the design, materials, and method of construction of the locks are described and explained in detail. All subsequent changes and design modifications in the sluice mechanisms and lock gates, from the opening of the canal through to 1982, are identified, dated, illustrated, and explained in terms of specific problems encountered in operating the canal. In its entirety this report constitutes a case study of empirical canal engineering in the early 19th century, in which the canal construction technology is placed within an international context embracing Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.

The CD book text is illustrated with over 90 period engineering drawings, historic photos, and contemporary photos, reproduced as high resolution digital images (can be enlarged in the PDF to see fine detail). The text is fully searchable, and duplicates the original manuscript report. A bonus addendum, with 29 photos of a lock gate replacement at the Ottawa locks is included on the CD.

The Rideau Canal (1826-1832) was constructed by the British Army Corps of Royal Engineers under Lt. Col. John By as a river steamboat navigation with 47 stone masonry locks, and accompanying high dams and waste weirs, on a 125 mile (202 km) slackwater system stretching from the Ottawa River at Bytown (Ottawa) to Kingston on Lake Ontario. It was constructed to provide a secure interior water communication on which the British Army could move troops, ordnance, munitions, and supplies inland in wartime from the ocean port of Montreal to the Great Lakes, independent of the exposed upper St. Lawrence River navigation.

This digital book will be of interest to anyone wishing to learn more about this interesting bit of Rideau history. The document is heavily cited and endnoted, the sources (mostly Library and Archives Canada) clearly detailed.

This report section of this digital book is fully searchable text (not page scans) that duplicates the original manuscript report. It is provided on a CD-ROM, in PDF format, easily read by the free Adobe PDF Reader. Most computers already have a PDF reader installed, but if not, you can easily obtain the reader from the Adobe website.

Read the Preface and Table of Contents of the book

For purchase information, have a look at the Sales Page.

To see other books in this digital book series see the:
Rideau Manuscript Report Digitization Project page.

Retailers please contact Friends of the Rideau for wholesale information.

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