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continued from page 18             cinnati-Covington Bridge, later named   Church stands at the highest point in
         on the Delaware and Hudson Canal.   the John A. Roebling Suspension   town at the head of Main Street, just
         During this  period,  he  moved to  the   Bridge, was the world’s longest suspen-  as John Roebling had designated when
         city of Trenton, New Jersey, where   sion bridge at the time it was finished.  he built the church in 1837. Saxonburg
         he built a large industrial complex for   The Borough of Saxonburg in Butler   owes much to the Roeblings and their
         wire production.                   County  maintains  its  original  charac-  immigration from Germany.
           Roebling’s next project, starting in   ter as it celebrates this year the 185th   This fact is ironic in today’s climate
         1851, was a railroad bridge connecting   anniversary  of its founding  by John   of fierce debate over immigration and
         the New York Central and Great West-  August Roebling and his older brother   restricting some who would like to be
         ern Railway  of Canada  over the Ni-  Charles F., more commonly known as   a part of this country’s fabric and his-
         agara River. This would be completed   Carl. The Roebling brothers were im-  tory. Roebling, as with many other am-
         in four years and contain a clear span   migrant colonists from Mühlhausen,   bitious people worldwide,  wanted to
         of 825 feet. This structure received its   Germany. In 1831 they purchased, for   improve his new country. Prior to his
         support from four, ten-inch wire cables,   $1.25 an acre, 1,582 acres of land with   coming  he had made a thorough study
         and had two levels – one for vehicles   the purpose to offer a new life for Ger-  of bridge architecture and construction,
         and one for rail traffic.          mans in America.                   and had submitted plans for a suspen-
           While the Niagara bridge was being   On a portion of their land in 1832   sion bridge across Buhr river to some of
         built,  Roebling  undertook  a  railway   the Roeblings laid out a town named   the leading engineers of Prussia.
         suspension bridge across the Kentucky   for the German state of Saxony, Sax-  Suspension  bridges  had  been  previ-
         River, which  required  a clear  span of   onburg. It began as their vision for a   ously  planned  and  constructed,  but
         1,224 feet.  The  anchorage  and stone   wholesome town for German settlers.   failed. His plans looked to the replace-
         towers were completed, and the cable   Parcels were sold to families from   ment of wire rope or cable for the chain
         wire delivered along with the material   Mühlhausen who ventured to Saxon-  cable were regarded as unrealistic, not to
         for the superstructure, when the rail-  burg for a new life in this country.   mention  impracticable. He had faith in
         way company became insolvent.  The   As  the  waves  of  immigrants  came   the practicality of the wire cable and this
         bridge construction  was halted, and   during several decades in the mid-  belief never left him. The end result was
         was later finished as the first cantile-  1800s, the Germans settled in Saxon-  his historic patent in 1842. The wire rope
         ver bridge in the US, with a truss for   burg to establish a center of commerce   in turn began to be hand-manufactured
         carrying the railway track.        and farming. In fact, the town has con-  in the fields just outside of Saxonburg.
           In 1859 Roebling completed another   tinued with the streets laid out as they   His first cable passed its test of prac-
         suspension bridge at Pittsburgh. Its to-  were by John Roebling. At the heart of   tical use in the Sharpsburg ferry. Roe-
         tal length was 1,030 feet and it consist-  the town is the iconic Main Street with   bling in turn  secured  a contract from
         ed of two main spans of 344 feet each,   its bustling activity of commerce and   the state board of public work for their
         and two side spans of 171 feet each. In   hospitality which remains today.   use on the canals and inclined planes
         1863,  following a break in operations   Main  Street maintains much  of its   he then began the construction of the
         due to the Civil War, building resumed   original character. The street features   works still standing today as tributes
         on a bridge over the Ohio River at Cin-  32 buildings that are more than 100   to his imaginative intellect,  engineer-
         cinnati.  He’d started the structure in   years old and is named to the National   ing  ability, and,  perhaps most impor-
         1856 and halted due to financing; the   Register of Historic Places. Today the   tantly his perseverance.
         bridge was finished in 1867. The Cin-  Saxonburg  Memorial  Presbyterian  Preserved  for  the  ages, in  what is
                                                                               called Roebling Park in Saxonburg, is
         Museum display with a copy of John A. Roebling’s original patent titled “Method of and Machine   the structure that John Roebling used
         for Manufacturing Wire Ropes.” (back left). Editors note: this patent would have been an honored   as his wire rope workshop where he re-
         submission to our Inventors Corner section, if only we were publishing Wire Rope News back in 1842!
                                                                               fined his patented cable process.
                                                                                 Roebling utilized machinery  of his
                                                                               own design. He first manufactured wire
                                                                               rope along a “rope walk” in a wooded
                                                                               area on the eastern side of town.
                                                                                 Author Ralph Goldinger in his book
                                                                               Historic Saxonburg and Its Neighbors
                                                                               describes the process:
                                                                                 “Roebling  built  a  rope  walk  on  his
                                                                               farm, purchases some iron wire and en-
                                                                               tered  into  the  cable making  business.
                                                                               The area at the corner of Rebecca and
                                                                               Water Streets where Roebling Park is
                                                                               now located is the site of the inventor’s
                                                                               workshop. His cable factory was opera-
                                                                               tive in Saxonburg from 1841 to 1848.
                                                                                 “Individual  strands  of  wire  were  laid
                                                                               out, in some cases, almost 2,500 feet
                                                                               across the long meadow which extended
                                                                               southward away from his work area onto
                                                                               the Nagler farm. The twisting machin-
                                                                               ery was situated outside the workshop
                                                                                                continued on page 22

         20     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   October 2017
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