Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, late 19th century.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This suspension bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan acros the East River, was opened on 24th May 1883, and was heralded as one of the most important construction projects of the 19th century. When completed it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. The original Chief Engineer of the bridge, John Roebling, died of tetanus before construction started. His son, Washington A Roebling, took over the project, but fell victim to Caison disease, a form of decompresion sicknes caused by working deep underwater, which left him paralysed, partly blind, deaf and mute. His wife, Emily Roebling, acted as the link between her husband and the construction crew between 1872 and 1883.