John Roebling was perhaps the single most important figure in the development of the modern suspension bridge. He graduated with a civil engineering degree from the Konigliche Technische Hochschule, Berlin, in 1826 and emigrated to the USA in 1831. Roebling broke his own engineering record for world's longest span (over the Ohio River, 1856) in little more than a decade with the design for his greatest work, Brooklyn Bridge, spanning the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York (1869-1883). It remains a triumph of the structural art: the unprecedented length of span, 486 m between the towers, and the combination of the aerial grace of the steelwork with the mass and strength of the towers immediately gave the bridge the status of a national monument. Washington Roebling was appointed chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge on the death of his father in 1869. He was crippled with caisson disease (the bends) in 1872 after inspecting one of the bridge's underwater chambers and was forced to supervise construction of the bridge by means of a telescope mounted in a room of his Brooklyn home and to rely on his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, to act as secretary and transmitter of messages to the field superintendents. The names of all three Roeblings are inscribed on the bridge.