Oldest Steel Structures in the World

9 Oldest Steel Structures in the World

Steel is an enduring and versatile material. It is an important part of the world’s architectural landscape. From monumental bridges to iconic towers, these steel structures have withstood the test of time and captivated the imagination of generations. 

This article delves into the remarkable history and engineering feats behind the nine oldest steel structures still standing in different parts of the globe. Join us as we explore the enduring legacy of these awe-inspiring creations.

9. Hell Gate Bridge, USA

Country: United States
Year of Launch: 1916

Hell Gate Bridge, USAPhoto Source: Link

Connecting Queens and Manhattan in New York City, the Hell Gate Bridge is a steel arch bridge that stands as an engineering masterpiece. Designed by Gustav Lindenthal and completed in 1916, the bridge’s distinctive red-orange color and soaring steel arches contribute to its grandeur.

Did You Know?

The Hell Gate Bridge was one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world when it was completed, and its impressive design has earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

8. Eiffel Tower, France

Country: France
Year of Launch: 1889

Eiffel Tower, FrancePhoto Source: Link

The Eiffel Tower is one of the iconic tourist destinations. It is a symbol of elegance and engineering prowess. It stands proud in Paris, France. 

The visionary engineer Gustave Eiffel designed it, this iconic structure was erected in 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. 

The Eiffel Tower stands at a majestic height of 324 meters (1,063 feet) and remains an enduring symbol of Paris and human achievement.

Did You Know?

During its construction, the Eiffel Tower was met with enthusiasm and criticism, with some artists and intellectuals condemning it as an eyesore. Today, it is celebrated as one of the world’s most recognized landmarks.

7. Wiesen Viaduct, Switzerland

Country: Switzerland
Year of Launch: 1909

Wiesen Viaduct, SwitzerlandPhoto Source: Link

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the Wiesen Viaduct is an elegant steel arch bridge that gracefully spans the Landwasser River Gorge. Designed by Henning Friedrich, this engineering marvel was completed in 1909. The viaduct’s steel structure harmoniously blends with its natural surroundings, making it a favorite subject for photographers and artists.

Did You Know?

The Wiesen Viaduct has been featured in numerous films and television shows, a testament to its breathtaking setting and architectural beauty.

6. Blackpool Tower, England

Country: United Kingdom
Year of Launch: 1894

Blackpool Tower, EnglandPhoto Source: Link

The Blackpool Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower. It is in Lancashire, England, and was constructed in 1894 as a testament to the seaside town’s grandeur. 

The steel-framed tower reaches an impressive height of 158 meters (518 feet). It features a stunning observation deck offering panoramic town views and coastline views.

Did You Know?

The Blackpool Tower is an entertainment complex. It houses a circus, a ballroom, and a glass-floored SkyWalk at the top of the tower. This has made it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

5. Tower Bridge, England

Country: United Kingdom
Year of Launch: 1894

Tower Bridge, EnglandPhoto Source: Link

The Tower Bridge is an iconic bascule and suspension bridge. This bridge stands as a testament to the architectural beauty of Victorian Gothic combined with innovative engineering.It is located in London, United Kingdom.

The bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones and completed in 1894. Its distinctive twin towers and steel framework make it one of London’s most beloved landmarks.

Did You Know?

The Tower Bridge’s bascules were originally operated by steam engines. But like everything else today, they are powered by electricity and hydraulics.

4. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia

Country: Australia
Year of Launch: 1932

Sydney Harbour Bridge, AustraliaPhoto Source: Link

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also lovingly known as the “Coathanger.” It is an iconic steel arch bridge that is marvelous to look at and spans Sydney Harbour. 

Dr. John Bradfield designed it. The bridge was completed in 1932 and served as a vital transportation link in the city. Its grand arches and stunning harbor views symbolize national pride and get tourists to flock to its might.

Did You Know?

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. An annual “BridgeClimb” experience is hosted, allowing adventurous visitors to ascend its arches for a breathtaking view of the city.

3. Forth Bridge, Scotland

Country: United Kingdom
Year of Launch: 1890

Forth Bridge, ScotlandPhoto Source: Link

The Forth Bridge is located near Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a marvel of Victorian engineering. This cantilever railway bridge is designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker and spans the Firth of Forth. It was completed in 1890. The Forth Bridge’s unique design and use of steel components made it one of the most advanced engineering structures of its time.

Did You Know?

The Forth Bridge’s construction required over 54 thousand tons of steel, earning it the nickname “The Cathedral of Steel.”

2. Iron Bridge, England

Country: United Kingdom
Year of Launch: 1779

Iron Bridge, EnglandPhoto Source: Link

The Iron Bridge is nestled in the picturesque town of Ironbridge in Shropshire, England. Thanks to the bridge’s name, it is easy to remember where it is based. 

Architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard designed it. It is an engineering marvel of the Industrial Revolution. Abraham Darby III was the ironmaster who built it in 1779.

This cast iron bridge spans the River Severn. It was the first bridge in the world to be constructed entirely from iron, marking a significant turning point in engineering history.

Did You Know?

The Iron Bridge’s innovative design and construction methods paved the way for future iron and steel bridges. This design and use of materials revolutionized transportation and urban development worldwide.

1. Brooklyn Bridge, USA

Country: United States
Year of Launch: 1883

Brooklyn Bridge, USAPhoto Source: Link

The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic engineering marvel and symbol of American ingenuity. It spans the East River in New York City. It was designed by John A. Roebling. Even though the bridge’s construction began in 1870, it was completed posthumously by his son Washington Roebling in 1883. 

When the Brooklyn Bridge was built, it set new standards in bridge engineering due to its innovative suspension design and use of steel cables.

Did You Know?

The Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built. To this day, it remains an essential transportation link and a breathtaking sight for visitors.


The world’s oldest steel structures have become cultural icons and engineering marvels. They have stood the test of time and earned the iconic title. These awe-inspiring creations showcase steel’s enduring strength, versatility, and aesthetic appeal in architectural design. 

It is important to preserve and protect these historic steel structures if we want to marvel at them and inspire future generations. 

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