Ferdinand Arnodin  and  
The transporter Bridges 


  1st  part
5 - The Transporter Bridge of  Nantes (1903)

Declared of public utility in 1896, the establishment of a new bridge at Nantes fast becoming one of the proposed solutions, the choice of a transporter bridge.  Arnodin is requested, but the presence of a central pylon and the need to destroy wharfs for the implementation of side pylons and cable anchoring restraint, repel the realisation of this project in the space provided and to require Arnodin rethink its project at a location further downstream. The decree of declaration of public utility of 26 May 1898 shall be amended by a new dated 12 December 1901
"Bulletin des Lois" n°1997 of 26 january 1899 (extract) (Coll. M.W.)

A new solution is devised, which will also be adopted in Marseille. The anchor blocks are placed at the vertical ends of the deck, "which acts as a counterweight and giving these two bridges a very special silhouette ."Pylons measuring 76 meters high and the deck is no longer consists of a single rigid beam, but a cantilever over a span of 142m.  The gondola is powered by an electric motor and the crossing which takes two minutes will be more than 10,000 times between 1903 and  1958 date of demolition.

Postcard - 1958 (Coll. M.W.)
Images of the construction and implementation of the various parts of the structure
Settling of  the  piles - Photographs on glass plates from the "Fund Arnodin"

Original photograph
in 1902, construction of the pylon on the left bank
(coll M.W.)

Old postcards( 1902/1903)  (coll M.W.)

Implementation of the bridge deck

Central part of the deck (cantilever) placed on barges for lifting (Coll. MW)

part of the deck lifting
( coll.MW)

Load tests on the gondola with 50 tons of "pavés"- Postcard de1903 (Coll. MW)

Ferdinand Arnodin and Virgile Baudin inspection  on the deck before the inauguration......
Postcard having traveled in 1905 (Coll. M.W.)

Arnodin and family visiting the site of the Transporter Bridge in Nantes. Photo on glass plate after the "Fund Arnodin." 
The gondola during the first crossing in 1903 -  -  cartes postales anciennes (Coll. M.W.)

Publicity on the gondola  - Vintage postcard 

Day  flood..

 Postcard from 1910
Tokens's Transporter Bridge crossing Nantes (Musée de la Marine de Loire-Châteauneuf-sur-Loire)


Letter-Card - Years 1940 (Coll. M.W.)

 Chromo for collection(Coll. MW)
 Old postcard   - Artaud-Nozais Ed.    Nantes  - (Coll. M.W.)
Old poscard    Ed Vasselier Nantes  (coll.MW)

Old postcard F.Chapeau Ed. Nantes  - (Coll. M.W.

Postmark from philatelic exhibition in 1946 (Coll. M.W.)

"Aerophilately" in 1950 (Coll. M.W.)

Philatelic Exhibition 1998 (Coll. M.W.)

50th Anniversary of the Liberation -  Postmark 1994

Commemorative cover for International Flower Show 1956
(Coll. M.W.)

Fdc of the stamp Yt2048- 1979
(Coll. M.W.)

The gondola of the transporter bridge in Nantes_ Old postcards (Coll. M.W.)

Poscard - 1906 (Coll. M.W.)

Perspective of the deck - Poscard - 1907 (Coll. M.W.)

Personalized stamps from  december 2009 & november 2010

letter and card with the postmarkcommemorating the stamps & poscards exhibition in November 2010

Aerial ,  Poscard-1957- Ed Nozais, Nantes.
Dismantling of the bridge, from May to October 1958. Postcard set  published by "les cartophiles du Pays Nantais"
Done In reverse order of the assembly, the main difference resides in the visual presence of a modern crane.

The Ferdinand Arnodin's bridge is demolished , but a new project was born at the dawn of the XXI century, under the leadership
architect Paul Poirier Nantes, a group was formed and plans to build a new bridge ferry over the arm of the Madeleine.

See : l'Association "Les Transbordés" et" le projet Jules Verne".

6-  The transporter bridge of Marseille (1905)
For this bridge  very similar in shape to the Transporter Bridge of Nantes (see above ..) Ferdinand Arnodin  made ​​a proposal even before receiving the request. He sought and obtained a concession in 1902 with a decree of public utility. 
Implementation of the bridge at the entrance of the Old Harbour

Technical drawing, elevation_-
(Coll MW)

The project was approved, the work will be conducted with the same team who worked in Nantes under the direction of Virgil Baudin.
Pylons 84.50 m high,  supporting a deck of 165m, this bridge is larger than that of Nantes.
Elevation of the pillars - Fund Arnodin- ("Musée de la Marine de Loire Châteauneuf sur Loire")

Construction of the transporter bridge in Marseille Construction du transbordeur de Marseille
-Postcards from 1904  (Coll. M.W.)

Picture in a magazine - 1905

Photo on plate glass from "Arnodin' fund"

The deck, picture cards from the years 1930
(coll. M.W.)


24th banquet menu union Entrepreneurs TPE in 1905 gave
 France two days before the
inauguration of the bridge

An elevator was installed in 1907 in one of the towers to access an exceptional view restaurant bar installed in a kiosk at one end of the deck long 240m, and an orientation table. At the other end of the deck, the room was devoted to the machinery.
Photo on plate glass, collection of "Arnodin' Fund"
old postcard  (Coll. M.W.)

The elevator - postcards and sticker  - 1907,  and postcard sent in 1932  (Coll. M.W.)
Gateway and the platform 74 m above the channel  -     postcards- 1908 (Coll. M.W.)

Boarding and view from the Canal St Jean  postcards- 1910 (Coll. M.W.)

Boarding ticket
(Coll. M.W.)
Its originality is not only in the choice of its location - no river or estuary - but also in facilities intended for use other than the one transhipment.  
       The orientation
table -  postcard - 1910 (Coll. M.W.)                          The restaurant on the deck - old postcard (Coll. M.W.)

The restaurant on the bridge - Postcard sent in 1945 (Coll. MW)
Firstday cover of a stamp issued in 1983- 
(You can see part of the restaurant located at the end of the deck above the Fort  St Jean.) (Coll. M.W.)

Flyer for the visits ( Years 1910)(coll M.W.)

Views from The deck of the bridge - postcards  1906

The Deck and the carriage supporting the nacelle - Postcard 1937- (Ed Mireille) and fantasy card. Ed. Roc (Coll. M.W.)
The bearing frame (detail) Technical drawings  by Arnodin  (coll MW)
The "gondola", old postcards (Coll. M.W.)

The Platform of the gondola- Cross section by Arnodin technical drawing (Coll.MW)

Press photo taken during the presidential visit of October 11, 1913 (Photo M. Rol - coll M.W.)

Postcard 20-10-09
(Coll. M.W.)

 Old postcard. -
Note the lift bridge in the foreground.(Coll. M.W.)

 Postcard  1935
(Coll. M.W.)
The Bridge appears anecdotally of two airmail stamps issued in 1930 -  Yt PA5 et 6 de 1930 (Coll. M.W.)

Postcard  and enlargement of the stamp of the previous figure  (Coll. M.W.)

Registered letter: use the stamp with additional postage and return to sender...

Letter to Hambourg - 1933

Advertising card Fair Marseille 1948 (Coll. MW)

EMA  Marseille 1962 (Coll. MW)
Commemorative card and cover, 1983 and 1985

Letter-card sent in 1947
Cover of a philatelic souvenir block devoted to Journalister Albert Londres 2007 (Coll. MW)
 Vintage Postcards
Yvon Ed.(Coll. M.W.)

Cie. Aérienne française Ed)

Photographie de 1934- (Coll. Pierre Castelli)
Little used after the first World War, the Germans blew up the north pillar in 1944, the second pillar was demolished in 1945.
After the bombing and destruction of the first pillar in 1944 - Photo of the period - - (Coll.MW)

The transporter bridge mutilated in 1945 (Coll.MW)

Destruction of the second pillar:  photos from a movie -  I.N.A. 1945

Nostalgia for that time, a draft scale replica has been designed to celebrate the year 2000, replaced by lights and laser projected onto walls of water. This bridge was one of the most celebrated by artists and popular imagery. (See below).

7- Newport (1906)
The decision to build a bridge over the estuary of the Usk in Newport, Wales, was taken in 1896. The District Engineer RH Haynes, having knowledge of the works of F. Arnodin considered a bridge to ferry could be a good solution for this project and appealed to the latter in 1902. F.Arnodin asked GC Imbault  to be his contact in England, then in the company of G. Leinekugel Le Cocq, himself oversaw the work of the bridge was opened in 1906, closed in 1985 and renovated in 1995 and reopened since. This is one of the largest transporter bridge designed and built by Arnodin, with a deck , span of 210m, supported by pylons 74m. Still active and supported by dynamic associations.

The team at the site of Newport:   Arnodin Ferdinand, center, on his right,
Virgil Baudin and left Leinekugel Gaston Le Cocq ...

 Photo "Fond Arnodin"- Musée de la Marine de Loire- Châteauneuf sur Loire
Recent photo, collection D. Leinekugel Le Cocq.
Postmark 1981(Coll. M.W.) & Postmark - 1985  source : Jacques Praud)
Commemorative picture    "Reflective images" Port Talbot Wales(Coll. M.W.)
Booklet published by the Museum of Newport - illustrations Falcon Hildred

 Newport - old postcards (Coll. M.W.)

Postcard - 1906

Vintage postcards
(Coll. M.W.)

 The gondola
 - postcard - 1909
(Coll. M.W.)

postcard V.1910

Postcard- 1911

Picture issued from cigarettes Wills collection 
(Coll. M.W.)
8 -Brest (1909)  and   Bordeaux (1913)
 Probably about 1907, the bridge in Bizertewas dismantled,   which allowed the principle of removability designed by Arnodin for transporter bridges . He was then transported and reassembled at Brest in 1909 between the two shores of the Penfeld, not far from the bridge national, for use almost exclusively to the needs of military Arsenal. Damaged in 1944, it was dismantled in 1947 and replaced by the current bridge Harteloire. This military use, probably explains why the image of the bridge has not had the same impact on the history and customs of the city, than at Nantes, Marseille or Rouen...

Old postcards: the  Transporter bridge  in the military port.. (Coll.M.W.)

Military company on board of the nacelle - old postcard - (Ed Nd)


The transporter Bridge in  Bordeaux
The municipality of
Bordeaux, asked Arnodin in 1893 to build a bridge without piers
intermediate, allowing the passage of merchant ships of large tonnage. Many hesitations, did not permit the start of construction in 1910, with the erection of two towers 92m high, work unfortunately interrupted by the First World War and never completed. The two towers will be destroyed during the Second World War ... This book would have a span of 400m,  the deck located 45m above the water , would have supported a nacelle, which weighs in charge, would have reached 150 tonnes...
Location of the bridge   andElevation and end view of a pylon
journal "le Génie Civil n°1797 -1917

Elevation , after the double arc system, described by G. Leinekugel Le Cocq in the Journal of Civil Engineering in January 1917,
and experimented on
 Pittsburgh-USA in 1877

Laying the first
stone of the bridge
-  postcards 1910 (Coll. M.W.)

Construction of the pier, right bank (Reproduction of an old photograph)
old postcards: Construction of the pier, left bank   and  pylon of the bridge(Coll .M.W.)
Postcards from 1918

Postcard sent in 1932-
La cigogne Ed.(Coll. M.W.)

Old postcard : the Harbour of Bordeaux, and the two pylons of the bridge.(Coll. M.W.)

Photomontage on postcard 20s, showing the bridge as it should have been ...(coll.M.W.)

Photo - 26 March 1912."  "Mr. Ch Cazalet, on behalf of the Chancellery of the Legion of Honor, presents Mr Arnodin newly promoted officer cross. The ceremony took place in the first well of the bridge Transporter Bridge Bordeaux in the presence of shareholders, friends
 of the work and workers. "
(coll. D Leinekugel Le Cocq)

Arnodin and Ch Cazalet Bordeaux initiator of the bridge, on the banks of the Garonne in Bordeaux in 1910 facing Quai des Chartrons ( Picture on glass from Arnodin Fund (coll D.Chenot)

After the death of Ferdinand Arnodin in 1924, concessions for the exploitation of three ferries and the bridge of Bonhomme is not transmitted to his descendants, a sale was held January 24, 1928 in Orléans, and it is the widow of Georges Arnodin, Renée Chibrac which took away the auction.
Poster of sale (coll.M.W.)

6- Images and popularity
:Transporter bridge of Marseille, personalized stamp - 2004 (yt3729A)

Recent advertising card for a restaurant in Nantes

Medals - "Monnaie de Paris" ( Artus Bertrand)
Label advertising for "Berlingots de Nantes"(Coll. M.W.)
-Commercial "stamp"- distributed when purchasingof various foodstuffs (1930/1939) (Coll. M.W.)
Nantes- shoes manufactory - letterhead on cover -1928 (Coll. M.W.)
Keyring advertising of "Coffee Houdet -
importer in Nantes since 1787 "
(Coll. M.W.)
Money order - 1934(coll.MW)
Candles factory

Advertising for a "framer"
Butter packaging - Rochefort Bridge (Coll. MW)
Marseille,  advertising on postcard- Rochefort (Coll. M.W.)Ed Le trèfle
Label,  International Fair
Posters on modern  postcards (Coll. M.W.)
Marseille,  advertising on postcard (Coll. M.W.)
Card advertising,  Marseille Soap (Coll. M.W.) 
Marseille - envelope letterhead of a hotel (MW Coll.)

Marseille, advertising postcard for a restaurant - 1939(coll MW)
Art, Photography painting, engraving...
Transporter bridges,
despite the small proportion of works carried out in the light of hundreds of projects put on paper, marked their era and left an important imprint in the collective memory of the cities that have hosted. Whether it is on many postcards, tourist or anecdotal, or as a visual symbol of the city, they found that as used in many images, commercial, cultural and even artistic, like the movie "The transporter bridge" in Marseille,in 1929, by the artist Làszlo Moholy Nagy, professor at the Bauhaus, of Hungarian origin, and also, the shots of many renowned photographers...
"Photograms" from the film of Lazlo Moholy Nagy-
"Marseille - Le Vieux- Port"
 1929  -Musée Cantini Marseille 1992
 Exhibition"Le pont Transbordeur et la Vision Moderniste"

Man Ray: "Transporter bridge" 1936 - Photograph
 "Collection  Musée Cantini  Marseille "

"Marius "of Marcel Pagnol - film poster reproduced on postcard drawing Dubout (MW Coll.)
 Bridge of Rochefort, star of the film of Jacques Demy, ""Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (1967)
  Envelope and personalized stamp issued in 2014 by the Association Philatelic Rochefortaise. (Coll. M.W.)
Artists have depicted in their works as Albert Marquet in this painting exhibited at the Museum of Epinal:
- " Port de Marseille sous la pluie", 1918 -oil on cavas
Print from Y.Guibillon - old postcard- (Coll. M.W.) "The Transporter Bridge"
Etching - Valère Bernard

 old postcard  (Ed d'Art M. Bernard)
(Coll. M.W.)
Painting from  Mathurin Meheut (1882-1958)  . Musée Mathurin MEHEUT de Lamballe - Bretagne, (city in which the painter was born)

Raoul DUFY (1877-1953) "Marseille, Vieux port" Postcard

Greeting Card
, Mayor of Marseille from 1956

Charles CAMOIN : "Le Pont àTransbordeur de Marseille" oil on canvas 65 x 81cm -
( postal  stationary China 2010)

Nantes transporter bridge , peintures, Musée historique, Château des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes

Y.A.Abraham - postcard

Card published
 for a campaign in favor of the third age - Drawing Paul Dauce


National Lottery ticket 1959(Coll. M.W.)


Label airshow 1910 in Nantes ( Coll MW)
 Cover box, toy building of the 50s (coll MW)

Folding cutting proposed in the weekly magazine for children "My Journal" of November 1910 (coll MW)

Marseille - label  of the 1922 Colonial National Exhibition 1922 (coll MW)

Headed notepaper from 1946 - Rouen (Coll. M.W.)  

Label of Congress CSPF (union confederation linked to the extreme right), just before the Second World War ....  (Coll. M.W.)
1945 Rouen invoice header
Postcard sent in 1906 (Coll. M.W.)
Postcard (1920/30)(Coll. M.W.)
Postcard sent in 1909
Postcard 1910 (Coll. M.W.)
Nantes souvenir card " with system" (Coll. M.W.)
Fantasies and "galéjades""(Jokes)

Personalized misappropriation of  Nantes Bridge during its construction, postcard, 1903

The effects of the muscadet (wine) - old postcard
old postcard (Coll. M.W.):  "Galéjade" marseille
"Salut ! Engin superbe à la robuste échine!
Par toi Marseille a pu, au prix d'un long effort,
Retirer des flots bleus la célèbre SARDINE,
Qui depuis cinquante ans bouchait l'entrée du Port..."
"Hi! Engin superb robust spine!
Marseille by you has been at the cost of a long effort,
Remove the famous blue waters SARDINE,
That fifty years stopped up the entrance of Port ... "

Postcards - 1933 :  
Triumphal entry of Tartarin, "based on the novel by Alphonse Daudet, "Tartarin de Tarascon" (coll.MW)

"Bragging" -  old postacard

And eve, when the bridge Has been destroyed- Poscard sent 1959

The "Joke" are also puns, and this cart of 1920( in France, the name of a pig is "porc"and here the port of Marseille...)
This article was written with the help of Didier Leinekugel Le Cocq, who died on October 30, 2009 at the age of 67 years,
I also thank Mr. Jacques Praud the loan documents.

"De fer et de Rève" catalogue d'exposition du Musée de la Marine de Loire, de Châteauneuf sur Loire.
"Le pont transbordeur, la vision moderniste" Catalogue d'exposition du Musée Cantini de Marseille.
"La France des transbordeurs" Jacques Sigot, Editions Alan Sutton 2005
"Ingénieurs des ponts", Didier Leinekugel Le Cocq  Ed La Vie du Rail - 2010

Michel Wagner  0ctobre 2005>>2012