The Old Print Shop


  • ARTIST: Frederick Mershimer

  • MEDIUM: Mezzotint,

    DATE: 2001.

  • EDITION SIZE: Edition 100. Image size 11 9/16 x 8 3/4" (29.5 x 22.2 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Brooklyn Bridge (formally, The East River Suspension Bridge). An engineering marvel of its day, it was the largest suspension bridge built at the time at an enormous cost of $15,000,000 and took fourteen years to complete. It officially opened to the public on May 24, 1883, and connected the two independent cities of New York and Brooklyn. Many engineering firsts are part of the bridge construction including how to build the massive supports and how to make and hang the suspension cables. There is a darker history of the bridge: over twenty people died working on the bridge and many others were injured or sickened for life. John August Robling, the visionary and designer of the bridge, is one of those who died and his son, Washington Robling, was left injured for life. <BR><BR> John August Robling, as a civil engineer, had built several smaller suspension bridges in the United States, one of which is in Cincinnati and is the smaller cousin to the Brooklyn Bridge. While surveying the position where the Brooklyn side of the bridge would be built, his foot was crushed by an incoming ferry. His toes were amputated; however, gangrene had set in and he died on July 22, 1869. After Robling’s untimely death, his son, Washington Roebling, took over as the lead engineer on the project. In 1870 working in one of the pneumatic caissons, he developed what was called caisson sickness. Today, it is known as the bends, but it was unknown at the time. It sickened and killed many workers. The bends happens when one rises too fast in a pressurized environment. Scuba diving is a classic example today where the bends can occur. Small air bubbles form in the blood stream causing all sorts of ailments. Washington Roebling’s injuries were great enough that he was unable to visit the construction site, but he would direct the construction from his home overlooking the site. His wife became his nurse and a currier taking orders to the foremen on the site and the duties of chief engineer. <BR><BR> The bridge is 5.989 feet long, 85 feet wide and 276.5 feet high. The suspension cable is 15 ½ inches in diameter and consists of 5,434 parallel steel wires. Over 600 men worked on the project over fourteen years. The highest paid workers were the stonecutters, masons, and blacksmiths making $3.50 to $4 a day. It was officially named the Brooklyn Bridge by the City of New York in 1915. <br><br>

  • ADDITIONAL INFO: Signed, titled and dated in pencil. Inscribed "TP II/IV."

  • CONDITION: Very good condition.

  • REFERENCE: Retif #77.