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How Pyrmont Bridge spun into history

September 14, 2013
Opened in 1902, Sydney’s Pyrmont Bridge was a source of great pride for a young nation.
Designed by engineer Percy Allen, it was lauded as a technological feat that replaced the ‘first’ Pyrmont bridge, a wooden pile and iron structure opened in 1858.

Instead of relying on the traditional winches, steam or hydraulics, the new bridge was designed to rotate on a central axis using electric motors, an exciting industry first.

Pyrmont bridge uses two 50 Hp, 600 volt DC General Electric type 57 electric motors that take just 60 seconds to open the span to 83 degrees, a feat that would have felt like light speed back in 1902.

In addition to being one of the first electric-powered bridges in the world, Pyrmont Bridge had the distinction of being one of the largest spans. Its designer, Allen, also engineered the Glebe Island Bridge in 1903.

By installing electric motors in the bridge, GE played an integral part in the build.
In fact, the Pyrmont Bridge was one of GE’s first projects in Australia, marking the start of more than 110 years of GE technology and innovation in the region.