Martello Bollards: A New Line of Defense

Newly-developed bollards use Napoleon-era design principles to protect contemporary sidewalks.

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The model R-7651 Martello Bollard by Reliance Foundry is against at white background in a design studio.

Reliance Foundry has just entered into an agreement with the renowned Billings Jackson Design Studio to become the official supplier of a revolutionary new bollard. A new take on the “bell bollard,” the Martello Bollard is a completely unique traffic guidance device that uses elements of historic, military architecture to prevent errant vehicles from intruding on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas. Martello Bollards were designed specifically for city of New York’s Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and an open-ended contract has been signed that will see the bollards installed at various locations throughout the city. Discussions are also underway with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (NYMTA) that may see Martello Bollards installed at a number of transit centers. The Billings Jackson Design Group entered into discussions with Reliance Foundry in 2010 and today’s announced agreement makes Reliance Foundry the official supplier of a bollard that will use Napoleonic-era design principles to protect the sidewalks and meridians of New York.

“We’ve already received an initial order from the NYDOT for 76 – 100 of the Martello Bollards and we’re excited by what this means,” says Reliance Foundry’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Brad Done. “Not only is this a high-profile project but Martello Bollards feature a completely unique design that will change the way traffic guidance is provided on every one of their installation sites.”

Duncan Jackson is one of the founders of the New York-based, Billings and Jackson Studio and the principal designer of the Martello Bollard. A native of Suffolk, England, he drew the inspiration for these bollards from the historic, Martello Towers that are located in his home county. Martello Towers are round fortifications that were installed to protect various coastlines throughout the British Empire throughout the Napoleon’s reign.

Duncan Jackson and Brad Done are shown discussing Martello Bollards in the Reliance Foundry Warehouse.

Duncan Jackson (of Billings Jackson Design) discusses bollard installation with Reliance Foundry’s Brad Done.

Their round shape was perfect for protecting the shoreline from the attacks of the French navy regardless of what direction the attack was launched. The Martello Towers were constructed with thicker walls on the side that faced the shoreline and their design made it easy to protect a 180 degree radius along the coast. Jackson designed Martello Bollards to protect curbs, corners, sidewalks and other pedestrian areas in the same manner that the towers once protected the shoreline. Martello Towers were designed to deflect enemy cannon-fire and, using the same design principles, Martello Bollards were designed to deflect the wheels of errant vehicles in order to prevent them from driving on sidewalks and meridians. Martello Towers were designed from resilient brick to withstand the impact of cannon balls and Martello Bollards are constructed from high-grade ASTM A36 steel to withstand significant vehicular impact. Enhancing the form of the traditional Martello structures, Jackson designed the front of the Martello Bollard with a slight slope that would disrupt the energy of any vehicle that struck it. If an errant vehicle strikes the bollard, its momentum is shifted upwards and this causes the vehicle to lose speed. The slight slope will allow gravity to pull the vehicle back onto the roadway and the intended traffic route. A completely defensive bollard, the new Martello bollard uses the historic defensive principles that stopped Napoleon to bring a new level of protection to the pedestrians and businesses of New York.

“We wanted to create a more contemporary and higher-performing bollard and, while at home in Suffolk, I ended up drawing my inspiration from one of the most defensive pieces of architecture ever created, “says Jackson. “I thought ‘why not design a bollard that mimicked all the protective properties of the Martello Tower?’ and the idea for the Martello Bollard was born.”

A photo graph of a Martello Tower is shown next to a picture of a Martello Bollard to demonstrate the inspiration for the design.

An agreement has been signed and the initial run of Martello Bollards has gone into production for the NYCDOT. They are being fully produced within the US and are scheduled to be delivered in mid-September. Martello bollards will be finished with a highly-durable powder-coating and will feature reflective striping. Reliance Foundry will produce models for stand-alone applications and models that can be installed with a concrete interior to further the level of impact resistance they provide. Modelling tests indicate that Martell Bollards will have the ability to withstand significant vehicular impact without showing signs of deformation. At the conclusion of the initial NYCDOT order, Reliance Foundry plans to market the market the Martello bollards and will make them available for sale to the general public. Check Reliance Foundry’s online bollard catalog often for all the latest bollard solution offerings.

For additional information contact:

Brad Done
Reliance Foundry
Phone: (604) 592-4323
Fax: (604) 590-8875

Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd. delivers the highest-quality stock and custom-designed products for architectural site furnishings, traffic management and industrial applications. Since 1925, Reliance Foundry has built upon a long tradition of metal casting expertise to become an award-winning supplier for high-profile and everyday needs across North America.




Profile photo of Brad Done, the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Brad Done

Profile photo of Shawn Chessell, Technical Marketing Writer at Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Technical Marketing Writer, Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Shawn Chessell

Profile photo of Bryce Tarling, Technical Marketing Writer at Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Technical Marketing Writer, Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.

Bryce Tarling