John A. Roebling

Roebling
John A. Roebling

Public Domain

John Augustus Roebling was born in Prussia in 1806, immigrated to America at the age of 25 and settled in western Pennsylvania.

In the latter part of the 1830's he worked as an engineer and surveryed different routes over the Allegheny Mountains. During these travels, he realized that a better solution to the hemp ropes was needed.

Roebling invented a wire rope made out of metal. This twisted rope was first tested on Incline 3 of the Allegheny Portage Railroad in 1842. It would replace all the hemp rope on the railroad soon after. The wire cable was much more durable than the hemp rope that lasted for approximately one season and had to be replaced. It also made railroad operations safer.

In 1845, his first suspension bridge, the Allegheny Aqueduct, was constructed over the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh.

Roebling would go on to design the famous Brooklyn Bridge.


To learn more about Roebling's connection to the park, you can view our collaboration with the Roebling Museum!

Last updated: November 20, 2020

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