Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Stoney, Bindon Blood

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STONEY, BINDON BLOOD (1828–1909), civil engineer, born at Oakley Park. King's Co., Ireland, on 13 June 1828, was younger brother of George Johnstone Stoney [see below]. Bindon was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. with distinction in 1850, proceeding M.A. and M.A.I, in 1870. In 1850–2 he served as assistant to the earl of Rosse [q. v.] in the Parsonstown observatory. There he made more accurate delineations of nebulae than had been obtained previously, and ascertained, before the days of astronomical photography, the spiral character of the great nebula in Andromeda.

His first work as an engineer was on railway surveys in Spain in 1852–3. In 1854–5 he was resident engineer on the construction of the Boyne Viaduct under James Barton. This viaduct was probably the earliest instance of the use of metal girders of any considerable span in which latticed bars were substituted for a continuous plate web, and the cross sections of the web members as well as of the fiangea were proportioned to the stresses imposed by the rolling load. In Barton's account of the viaduct (Proc. Inst. Civ. Eng. xiv. 452) Stoney' s assistance on an important point in connection with the design of this type of structure is acknowledged. His work on this viaduct led him to that thorough study of stresses in girders which bore fruit in his elaborate treatise 'The Theory of Strains in Girders and Similar Structures' (2 vols. 1866; 2nd edit. 1873; 1 vol.; 3rd edit. 1886, entitled 'The Theory of Stresses in Girders, &c.').

Meanwhile Stoney in 1856 became assistant engineer to the port authority of Dublin; three years later, owing to the ill-health of the chief engineer, George Halpin, junior, he acted as executive engineer, and in 1862 he succeeded Halpin as chief engineer. He held that post until his retirement in 1898. As engineer to the port and docks board he improved the channel between Dublin Bay and the city, designing for the purpose powerful dredging plant. He also rebuilt about 1¼ mile of quay-walls, providing deep-water berths for oversea vessels, extended the northern quays to the east, and began the Alexandra basin. In the construction of the northern quays he employed concrete monoliths of the then unprecedented weight of 350 tons, and designed the appliances necessary for handling and setting the huge blocks. He also rebuilt the Grattan and O'Connell bridges, and built the Butt bridge across the Lifley.

Stoney was elected F.R.S. in 1881, and in the same year was made hon. LL.D. by Trinity College, Dublin. He was elected an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 12 Jan. 1858, became a full member on 17 Nov. 1863, and was a member of the council from 1896 to 1898. Of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland he was elected a member in 1857, served as joint honorary secretary (1862–70), and was president in 1871 and 1872. He was also a member of the Royal Irish Academy, of the Royal Dublin Society, and of the Institution of Naval Architects. The Institution of Civil Engineers awarded him in 1874 a Telford medal and premium for a paper on his work on the Dublin northern quays (Proc. xxxvii. 332; cf. other papers, ibid. xx. 300 and lviii. 285). To the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland he contributed eight papers between 1858 and 1903, including his presidential address (1872) and a paper on 'Strength and Proportions of Riveted Joints' which was re-published in book form (1885). To the publications of the Royal Irish Academy he contributed four papers dealing with the theory of structures (Proc. vii. 165; viii. 191; Trans, xxiv. 189; xxv. 451).

He died in Dublin on 5 May 1909, and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery. He married, in 1879, Susannah Frances, daughter of John Francis Walker, Q.C., by whom he had one son and three daughters.

[Proc. Roy. Soc. vol. 85; Minutes Proc. Inst. Civ. Eng. clxxvii. of 287; Who's Who, 1907.]

W. F. S.