Page 20 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology
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continued from page 18             he named Wilhelm Hildenbrand, who   there was much political incentive to
         this branch of the wire trade ... All his   quickly became an expert on the Roe-  have the wire produced right there in
         life he was opposed to galvanizing wire   bling method of making parallel wire   Brooklyn. Nine wiremakers submitted
         and fought it against his own interests –   cables. The specification for the bridge   proposals. When bids were opened, the
         he liked his own way.”             wire was written by Washington Roe-  $591,600 contract for 3400 tons of main
           John Roebling preferred the quality   bling. It seems reasonable to assume   cable wire was awarded to the Brook-
         of iron bridge wire made by a family-  the galvanized steel wire he described   lyn Wire Mills. At the time of the con-
         owned firm in the UK named Johnson.   was something the brothers thought   tract, Brooklyn Wire Mills was man-
         In 1867 he sent his son Washington to   they could produce at Trenton, even   aged by Joseph L. Haigh who goes into
         Europe to confer  with  the Johnsons.   though they had not been in the steel   the history books with a messy record.
         During  the trip Washington also ob-  wire business.                  He was either an outright scoundrel or
         tained details about the latest Europe-  The wheeler dealers in Brooklyn and   an inept business manager or perhaps
         an methods for excavating underwater   Manhattan had other ideas. Although   a mixture  of  both.  In  1879, when  he
         using  compressed air.  Unfortunately,   there was no steel mill anywhere near   declared bankruptcy, Haigh said the
         John Roebling died suddenly and unex-  Brooklyn, there was a very large wire-  Brooklyn Bridge wire contract was the
         pectedly before he was able to submit   works on Imlay Street in the Red Hook   primary cause of his failure.
         final  plans.  The  Trenton  factory  was   section  next to the Atlantic docks.  It
         inherited by Washington and his three   had been established by the Eagleton   The Wire Specification
         brothers. They incorporated it as the   Manufacturing  Company, who  also   Washington  Roebling’s  original  cal-
         John A Roebling’s Sons Co. The bridge   operated the Eagle Wire Mill in Man-  culations called for hardened, tem-
         company’s trustees selected Washing-  hattan. Both locations produced furni-  pered, galvanized steel wire with a
         ton to replace his father as Chief Engi-  ture springs and hoop skirt crinoline   specified minimum strength. He wrote:
         neer for the project.              wire. The factory was usually called   “A length of 14 feet must weigh exactly
           When Washington Roebling was     the Brooklyn Wire Mill. They were al-  one pound before it is galvanized. Each
         named as his father’s replacement one   ready making  short  lengths  of galva-  must have a breaking strength of no less
         of  the  first  things  he  did  was  some-  nized steel wire on a daily basis. This   than 3400 pounds…This corresponds to
         thing his father probably never would   may have provided a slight advantage   160,000 pounds per square inch...”
         have done. He subdivided the work   when bidding for the main cable wire   He also called for consistent stretch
         and assembled a staff of qualified en-  contract began.               characteristics and a maximum elastic
         gineers to whom he delegated respon-  Because no one had ever made this   limit. He gave his assistant Arthur Ab-
         sibilities. For the superstructure of   grade of wire  before,  under  such  un-  bott complete authority to set up a test-
         the bridge, including the main cables,   usual  circumstances  it seems obvious        continued on page 22

         20     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   February 2017
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