This week’s NYSSPE’s Engineer of the Week is John A. Roebling. Roebling was born on June 12, 1806 in Mühlhausen, Prussia. He was a civil engineer and best known for leading the design of the Brooklyn Bridge which connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge is still a key feature of New York City’s urban landscape today.
At a young age, John A. Roebling studied at Berlin’s Royal Polytechnic Institute and later emigrated to the United States in 1831. He specialized in canal systems that served as a means of statewide travel at the time. Additionally, Roebling worked with incline planes that were used to move barges along railway tracks. While involved in this work, he invented a durable wire rope as an alternative to the weak hemp rope being used. He received a patent for this invention in 1842.Several years later, Roebling and his family moved to Trenton, New Jersey. They started a successful business called John A. Roebling’s Sons Company which produced twisted wire cable that could be used for many different engineering applications.This business continued through the mid-twentieth century. Roebling passed away on July 22, 1869 at the age of 63 in his home after an accident on the job.
Photo Reference: Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006, x882_PS1.jpg
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