Anghel Saligny (1854–1925)

Anghel Saligny was one of the most distinguished civil engineers in Europe in the late nineteenth century and is particularly celebrated for his pioneering use of reinforced concrete. He was born at Serbǎnesti in Galaţ county in Romania. His father, who was of French origin, moved to Romania from Prussia.

Anghel Saligny studied at Potsdam and Charlottenburg before becoming involved in the construction of railways in Saxony. In the early 1880s he built the railway from Adjud to Târgu in Romania which was notable for bridges that carried both railway tracks and roads. Between 1884 and 1889 he built some of the first concrete grain silos at Constanţa, Brǎila and Galaţi, as well as installations for the export of oil at Constanţa. He was a founder member of the Bucharest Polytechnic Society, from which the city’s polytechnic university evolved, and was a member of the Romanian Academy from 1892, serving as its president between 1907 and 1910. His greatest achievement was the construction in 1890-95 of the bridge across the River Danube between Cernavodǎ on the right bank and Fetești on the left, which, with a total length of 4037 m including approach viaducts, was then the longest bridge in Europe. It has a central opening for shipping of 190 m. Saligny incorporated into the design some of the ideas of his fellow civil engineer Elie Radu (1853-1931). The bridge was originally named after King Carol I of Romania, but is now called the Anghel Saligny Bridge. A Metro station in Bucharest bears Saligny’s name and he is also commemorated by a statue at Constanţa.