John A. Roebling – NYSSPE Engineer of the Week

John A. Roebling

John A. Roebling

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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