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Photographed In Its Natural Habitat

I’ve talked about the use of bulb angles as a way to increase the strength of built-up H-section steel columns. Twice, actually: once in passing, and once in some detail. Anyway, that’s a picture of the flange of a built-up column at the 33rd Street station on the Lexington Avenue subway and the half-flange on the left is a bulb angle. The column consists of four of those angles riveted to a web plate: the web plate is on the right and you can see the short (normal) leg and the long (bulb) leg of the half-flange angle on the left. The lighting creates a nice shadow line emphasizing the bulb.

A note on deferred maintenance… For a long time, steelwork in the subways was not painted as often as it should be. When proper maintenance resumed (on the order of 40 years ago), the first coat of new paint often went over the old damaged paint, creating the rough surface you see here. More recent, less urgent painting includes scraping the old paint, to create smooth surfaces. In other words, the effects of differed maintenance were so bad that they even damaged the first attempts to set things right.