Martel, R. R. (Romeo Raoul) 1890-1965

Birth 1890
Death 1965

Biographical notes:


Romeo Raoul Martel was born in Iberville, Quebec in 1890, and moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, with his family a year later. He graduated from Brown University in 1912 and taught civil engineering at Rhode Island State College for a year, and at the Mechanics Institute in Rochester, New York, for another year.

During 1915-1918, he was engaged in civil engineering work in industry. He worked as an assistant engineer for the Sayles Finishing Plants in Rhode Island and at the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in Amarillo, Texas. In 1918, he was invited to join the faculty of Caltech, where he became a full professor of civil engineering in 1930.

R. R. Martel served as a consultant on the construction of Pasadena's San Rafael Bridge in 1921 and later consulted on the designs of the Linda Vista and Colorado Street bridges. He also served as a consulting engineer for the cities of Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Riverside and Los Angeles. He consulted on the design of flood control structures and reservoirs for the US Army Corps of Engineers in Los Angeles, and served on the Advisory Committee of Engineering of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey between 1947-1952.

Professor Martel was one of the first engineers interested in the field of earthquake resistant structures. He was one of the founders, along with Dr. George W. Housner, of the independent non-profit Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, which was established in 1952 to promote research on safe and economical earthquake resistant structures.

R. R. Martel was a member of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers, the Seismological Society of America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, the Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France, and a past president of the Structural Engineering Association of Southern California.

R. R. Martel passed away on February 28, 1965.

From the guide to the R. R. Martel Papers, 1922-1935, (California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives)


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  • Civil engineers


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