FAQ’S – STRANDS OF HISTORY
Q: Why do you call them vertical suspender wire ropes rather than vertical suspender cables?
A: Cable is a popular generic term, however formally speaking “cable” refers to wires laid in a parallel fashion like the two main cables of the Golden Gate Bridge. Wire ropes were first introduced in the 1830’s to replace wrought iron chains and fiber-based ropes (such as hemp). Wire rope is defined by multiple metal wires twisted together to form a helix. There are distinct patterns created by the wires, helices and bundles that are together called the “lay” of the rope. The stranded ropes from the Golden Gate Bridge consist of a center core bundle surrounded by six other bundles. We use the term suspender rope because it is the preferred engineering term.
Q: How did Strands of History come to have ownership of these suspender ropes?
A: The historical and sentimental value of these original Golden Gate Bridge vertical suspender ropes led to the formation of two organizations in the mid- to late-1970’s to create souvenirs and mementos. Some of the ropes was also sent by the Golden Gate Bridge, Transportation and Highway District to Redwood Empire Industries, a workshop for people with disabilities in Santa Rosa. The majority of the wire ropes were sold as scrap following their removal. In April, 2006, the remaining inventory of suspender ropes, fabrication equipment, and production materials were purchased by Strands of History.
Q: How does Strands of History guarantee authenticity?
A: Firstly, Strands of History has a chain of custody archive that documents their source and authenticity. Secondly, each section of suspender rope authenticates itself by its unique lay. No other suspender ropes from a suspension bridge were made like those of the Golden Gate Bridge, including the replacements. The wire rope lay, with the various wire sizes, organization and bundles of the 229 individual wires, confirms its authenticity because it is identical to the original drawings and specification sheet delivered by John A. Roebling Sons Company that was signed for by Joseph B. Strauss in 1935, the Chief Engineer on the bridge.
Q: What condition are the suspender ropes in?
A: The ropes are made of 229 individual strands of galvanized steel wire organized into seven bundles that are wound together. The 11 ft pieces were originally banded with wires or small metal bands to keep them from unwinding. Slight imperfections may be evident upon inspection, as these pieces are now over 80 years old. However, each piece is sandblasted and cleaned to remove old paint and other debris at the beginning of the manufacturing process.
Q: What is the structural integrity of the suspender ropes?
A: At the time these wire ropes were removed (project completion 1976), they were not damaged or weakened. They were replaced because the substructure linkages to the roadway were found to be rusting and could not be reached for cleaning and painting. The ropes themselves are believed to have essentially full integrity, however they should be subjected to appropriate mechanical testing before they are used in any structural applications. A summary of the testing performed during the last inspection can be made available if requested. These findings were made public in the “Report of the Chief Engineer, Volume II”. STRANDS OF HISTORY ASSUMES NO LIABILITY WHATOSEVER FOR ANY STRUCTURAL USES OF THESE SUSPENDER ROPES. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE USER TO ENSURE THAT ANY AND ALL STRUCTURAL USES OF THESE SUSPENDER ROPES MEET ALL BUILDING REQUIREMENTS AND ENGINEERING TESTING REQUIREMENTS APPROPRIATE FOR THE INTENDED USE.
Q: How long are the available pieces?
A: The original suspender ropes were stored initially on large spools following their removal. For ease of handling and transport, they were subsequently banded and cut into 11 foot pieces. The inventory at Strands of History consists of these 11 foot sections. The ropes weigh 1 pound per inch.
Q: Can the pieces be linked together?
A: Strands of History has not attempted to link the pieces together. Aside from the increased weight, there is no reason to believe that the pieces could not be linked together using appropriately designed linkages to hold them in their original lay.
Q: Where can I Learn More about the Golden Gate Bridge
A: Learn More Interesting and Educational Information Concerning the Golden Gate Bridge here.