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Stephen Buonopane: Nineteenth Century Suspension Bridges of John A. Roebling: From Pittsburgh to Brooklyn

June 10, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


The Roebling Museum is proud to present another installment of its monthly, Saturday Lecture Series. On Saturday, June 10th at 1pm, Stephen Buonopane, Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA will present his lecture on John Roebling’s nineteenth century suspension bridges. Mr. Buonopane has been conducting research in engineering history for over 25 years, with a specialty in 19th century bridge design. He approaches historic structures as archeological artifacts, examining them from multiple perspectives to learn about the culture of their design.

Buonopane will discuss how, over the course of his career, John A. Roebling (1806-1869) transformed the design of suspension bridges. Through his first two bridges in Pittsburgh—the Allegheny Aqueduct (1845) and Smithfield Street Bridge (1846)—Roebling developed innovative design and construction methods to overcome challenges related to multiple spans, deck stiffness, unbalanced loading, cable spinning and anchorages. Roebling’s experience in Pittsburgh laid the foundation by which he would progress from designing spans of several hundred feet to the 1595foot long main span of the Great East River (aka Brooklyn) Bridge. Roebling’s bridges are unique in that they achieve efficiency and strength by combining three structural forms—suspension cable, inclined stays, and stiffening truss. Roebling’s design philosophy evolved over the course of his career and is rooted in sound engineering design principles. In present day structural engineering, the capabilities of computerized structural analysis allow for near limitless complexity, yet Roebling’s fundamental design principles remain valid and can provide conceptual clarity in the design process.

This presentation is appropriate for all ages, and will take place inside the Roebling Museum’s Media Room. It is part of the museum’s monthly Saturday Lecture Series. Admission is $7 ($6 for Museum Members). Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Call 609/499-7200 or reserve online at     The Museum is located at 100 Second Avenue in Roebling, NJ. Ample parking is available in the Museum lot off Hornberger Avenue, adjacent to the Roebling River Line parking area. The River Line has a Roebling stop just behind the museum. Visitors are encouraged not to park on 2nd Avenue, on the residential side of the building.


June 10, 2017
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Caren Cronin


Roebling Museum
100 Second Avenue
Roebling , NJ 08554 United States
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