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Hartungsche Säule

Hartungsche Säule

Hugo Hartung's cast-iron columns

Hartung columns or 'Hartungsche Säule' may be a familiar name in Berlin, but outside the German capital, their name mostly raises questions. What does the name Hartung stand for?

The columns appeared all over Berlin between 1880 and 1910 to support railway bridges of the Berlin S-Bahn. Such a column rests on an ornate pedestal and was cast entirely in cast iron. Cast iron therefore has a high compressive strength. 

Depending on the weight of the bridge, the wall of the column was made thicker, allowing it to withstand a compressive load of up to 155 tons. 

The columns were decorated with longitudinal grooves and bandwork. The head ends in a capital that was connected to the bridge.

Architectural competition

How do the columns get their names? They owe this to the Berlin architect Hugo Hartung. He designed the column and won an architectural competition with it in 1880. Thus, his column became the standard for supporting railway bridges of the Berlin city network.

Hartung monument

You still come across Hartung's columns in Berlin, including under the bridges of the Anhalter Bahn over Yorkstrasse. A monument was even erected in the Lichtenberg district as an ode to the Hartung Columns.

The monument's twelve columns were saved after the demolition of the Stadthausbrücke in 2006 on the Ostkreuz-Lichtenberg railway line. They date from the early twentieth century.

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