Roebling, Washington Augustus, 1837-1926

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1837-05-26
Death 1926-07-21
Americans

Biographical notes:

American engineer.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Brooklyn, to Mr. Bryant at the "Tribune Office, ", 1871 Apr. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270656334

Engineer, businessman, and builder of the Brooklyn Bridge.

From the description of Letters, 1922-1925. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155451271

Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926) was an engineer who oversaw the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after his father, John A. Roebling, the designer of the bridge, died in 1869. After growing up in Saxonburg, PA and Trenton, N.J., Washington Roebling studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., from which he graduated in 1857. Roebling then assisted his father in running the family's wire rope manufacturing business in Trenton, which later became known as John A. Roebling's Sons Company, and also assisted his father in the construction of a suspension bridge across the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh, PA. Roebling later served in the Sixth New York Artillery during the Civil War, in which his main duty was to construct adaptable bridges for the Union Army. After receiving an honorable discharge as a Colonel in 1865, Roebling married Emily Warren, whom he had met at an army camp in Virginia while she was visiting her brother. He then assisted his father in the construction of the Cincinnati and Covington Bridge in Cincinnati, OH, which was completed in 1867, when John A. Roebling was appointed Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Though Washington Roebling became Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge upon his father's death in 1869, in 1872 he began suffering severe physical effects of decompression sickness, or the bends, as a result of working in the caissons below the East River during the construction of the bridge's towers. Roebling never fully recovered from his illness, and beginning in December of 1872, Roebling was never again able to visit the bridge site. Instead, he oversaw construction of the bridge using a telescope from the window of his home on Columbia Heights in Brooklyn, and taught his wife Emily in the fundamentals of bridge engineering, so that she could serve as a knowledgeable and authoritative messenger between her husband and the bridge staff. The Brooklyn Bridge was finally completed in 1883 and opened to great fanfare, and since that time the bridge has remained one of New York City's most recognizable and revered architectural icons. In 1883, Washington Roebling retired from engineering and moved with his family to Troy, N.Y., where he resided until his death.

Sources: Penn State University. "Roebling, Washington Augustus." Accessed June 16, 2011. http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Roebling__Washington.html

From the guide to the Washington A. Roebling family letters, circa 1820-1955, (Brooklyn Historical Society)

Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926) was an engineer who oversaw the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after his father, John A. Roebling, the designer of the bridge, died in 1869. After growing up in Saxonburg, PA and Trenton, N.J., Washington Roebling studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., from which he graduated in 1857. Roebling then assisted his father in running the family's wire rope manufacturing business in Trenton, which later became known as John A. Roebling's Sons Company, and also assisted his father in the construction of a suspension bridge across the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh, PA. Roebling later served in the Sixth New York Artillery during the Civil War, in which his main duty was to construct adaptable bridges for the Union Army. After receiving an honorable discharge as a Colonel in 1865, Roebling married Emily Warren, whom he had met at an army camp in Virginia while she was visiting her brother. He then assisted his father in the construction of the Cincinnati and Covington Bridge in Cincinnati, OH, which was completed in 1867, when John A. Roebling was appointed Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Though Washington Roebling became Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge upon his father's death in 1869, in 1872 he began suffering severe physical effects of decompression sickness, or the bends, as a result of working in the caissons below the East River during the construction of the bridge's towers. Roebling never fully recovered from his illness, and beginning in December of 1872, Roebling was never again able to visit the bridge site. Instead, he oversaw construction of the bridge using a telescope from the window of his home on Columbia Heights in Brooklyn, and taught his wife Emily in the fundamentals of bridge engineering, so that she could serve as a knowledgeable and authoritative messenger between her husband and the bridge staff. The Brooklyn Bridge was finally completed in 1883 and opened to great fanfare, and since that time the bridge has remained one of New York City's most recognizable and revered architectural icons. In 1883, Washington Roebling retired from engineering and moved with his family to Troy, N.Y., where he resided until his death.

Sources: Penn State University. "Roebling, Washington Augustus." Accessed June 16, 2011. http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Roebling__Washington.html

From the guide to the Washington A. Roebling notes to Harvey Cooley, 1922-1925, (Brooklyn Historical Society)

The Brooklyn Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that spans the East River connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. Completed in 1883, the bridge was called both the East River Bridge and the New York and Brooklyn Bridge until 1915 when the name was officially changed to the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and was further designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972. The original designer of the bridge was John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869), a German engineer who immigrated to the United States in 1831. Roebling invented the wire cable which he would eventually incorporate into the design of the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling's son, Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926), also an engineer, took over as chief engineer of construction following the sudden death of his father in 1869. In 1872, Washington Roebling fell ill with decompression sickness, acquired during the construction of the bridge, and never fully recovered. His wife, Emily Warren Roebling (1843-1903), was instrumental in seeing through the construction and completion of the bridge.

Sources: Fletcher, Ellen. "John Augustus Roebling." In The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, 1017. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995. Fletcher, Ellen. "Washington Augustus Roebling." In The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, 1017. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.

From the guide to the Brooklyn Bridge construction records, 1873-1879, (Brooklyn Historical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Wire-rope industry--New Jersey--Trenton
  • Families--New York (State)--Troy
  • Families--New Jersey--Trenton
  • Families--New York (State)--Kings County
  • Bridges
  • Business enterprises--New Jersey--Trenton
  • Engineering
  • Bridges--New York (State)--Kings County--Design and construction
  • Engineers--New York (State)--Kings County
  • Engineers

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Trenton (N.J.) (as recorded)
  • Troy (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Civil engineering |z New York (State) |z Kings County (as recorded)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Trenton (N.J.) (as recorded)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc. (as recorded)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)