Born Jun 12 1806 - Died Jul 22 1869
Anchoring Suspension-Chains for Bridges
Patent Number(s) 4,710
In 1841, John Roebling invented a wire rope in order to improve upon
the bulkier and weaker hemp fiber rope being used to haul canal boats
along the Allegheny Portage Railroad between the eastern and western
sections of the Pennsylvania Canal. Roebling also developed a technique
for spinning cables in place rather than constructing pre fabricated
cables that required maintenance before actually being used.
In 1844-45, Roebling built his first structure using his invention,
a wooden canal aqueduct across the Allegheny River. In 1845 46, he built
his first suspension bridge to carry a highway across the Monongahela
River. He cemented his reputation as the premier builder of suspension
bridges in the U.S. with the construction of a railroad suspension bridge
at Niagara Falls (1851 55). Roebling was contracted as chief engineer
for construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, the project with which he is
most popularly associated. However, as work was about to begin, he suffered
an accident that led to his death. Construction of the bridge was completed
under the supervision of his son, Washington.
Roebling was born in Muhlhausen, Germany. He studied civil engineering
at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in Berlin. He immigrated to the United
States in 1830 and became a citizen in 1837.