Blast From the Past — 1935

Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance.
British Army maxim

Every great challenge begins with the basics and in the case of the Golden Gate Bridge it starts with removing the protective coating on the cable wires before they are spun into strands that make up the Main Cables.


Cross-sectional view of Main Cable mockup showing individual wires.

According to the Golden Gate Bridge website, each of the two Main Cables of the bridge are comprised of 61 bundles (or strands) of 452 carbon steel wires—0.192 inches in diameter—for a total of 27,572 wires. The diameter of one Main Cable is 36 3/8 inches (0.92 m) and the length is 7,650 feet (2,332 m). The total length of galvanized steel wire used in both main cables is 80,000 mi (129,000 km) and that’s enough to wrap around the world three times at the Equator.

In 2002 I walked the length of the West Main Cable and it was a workout. Think about walking a mile and a half up-and-downhill, to-and-from a pair of 50-story skyscrapers, 7/8 of a mile apart. Guess who slept well that night?

This guy!



Source: Sausalito News, July 19, 1935 via California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside

  6 comments for “Blast From the Past — 1935

  1. May 24, 2019 at 5:54 PM

    Mind boggling stats on those cables!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 25, 2019 at 2:22 PM

      Mind-boggling indeed, Angeline. I wonder how many times the engineers checked their computations (with nary a computer in sight) before saying, “Yep, that’s how much wire we’re going to need for the cables.”

      And then there’s all the guys up the chain of command who had to OK the total amount before it was presented to Joseph Strauss for final acceptance. Pressure, anybody?

      Thanks for checking in with us,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 24, 2019 at 2:26 PM

    I used that maxim many times in my service. Commonly referred to as the 7 P’s!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 24, 2019 at 3:44 PM

      Yes! I heard it more than a few times in my years in construction, usually from those with a military background.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. May 24, 2019 at 10:50 AM

    I don’t like to think about your walk, as I do NOT like heights! But I did enjoy reading about the washing project, which to me must be the equivalent of washing many herds of elephants. As for the British army maxim, I might not word it that way, but it’s very true and excellent use of alliteration.


    Liked by 1 person

    • May 24, 2019 at 3:42 PM

      Thanks, Janet. I had hopes of repeating the feat on the East Main Cable but time and opportunity never aligned for me. 1 out of 2 will do nicely, thankyouverymuuuuuuuch.

      Liked by 1 person

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