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Emily Roebling


Born 1843 — Died 1903.


New York, United States.

Also known as:

The first famous woman engineer.

Claim to fame:

She ran the daily construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, the largest suspension bridge of its time. It linked the cities of Brooklyn and New York.

Her father-in-law had designed it, but he died of tetanus after scouting places the bridge could be built. Her husband was the architect, but he got the "bends" — decompression sickness — after working in a diving bell in the river below construction.

She took over running the massive project, ferrying messages from her husband but learning all about engineering and math so that she could keep things moving.

Emily Roebling also got a law degree and worked for the rights of women. Women didn't have the right to vote back then.

Years after she died before women in the United States were allowed to vote:


Typical headline if on 10 o'clock news:

Women Engineers! Whatever next? Women voting?

After the Break: Is Belly-Button Lint Cool? Channel 9 investigates.

How the bridges strength was demonstrated:

Circus showman P.T. Barnum led 21 elephants across it.

What her husband said about her:

"At first I thought I would succumb, but I had a strong tower to lean upon, my wife, a woman of infinite tact and wisest counsel."

Unlikely to say:

"But I'm just a woman."

Who would play Emily Roebling in a movie?

Kirsten Dunst. Not that she's particularly similar, but she does tend to be in a lot of movies, doesn't she?

Favorite ice cream:

Lets go with coconut. The Library of Congress doesn't record this information with any certainty.

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