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Sayenga Collection of Wire Rope records

Identifier: IAL-2019-007

Scope and Contents

Materials relate to wire rope and wire rope bridges, including a American Wire Rope Fabricators manual, wire rope bridges, wire rope forensics, and the production and sale of wire rope. Photographic and negative materials relate to the Chain Dam at Island Park in Easton, PA. Island Park was an amusement park slightly west of Hugh Moore Park in Easton, PA, home of the canal museum. A wire rope bridge stretched across the Lehigh River at Island Park. Older scanned images show the bridge that existed there in the early 20th century, and later photographs show the remains of the bridge at that location. More information on Island Park may be found at the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor archives.


  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials within the collection may be protected by copyright. Please contact IAL at for use of collection beyond Fair Use purposes.

Biographical / Historical

Donald Sayenga, born June 4, 1934, grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA area before moving to the eastern side of Pennsylvania. He married Carlene Ebeling around 1967. Together they had two children, Matthew and Bryn. During his life Sayenga lived in Williamsport, PA; Tucson, AZ; and Bethlehem, PA. He died at 84 years old February 26, 2019, in Bethlehem, PA.

Donald Sayenga attended Lafayette College, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering in 1956 and pursued a graduate degree from Lehigh University. He took military leave in 1957 and attended the U.S. Army Ordinance School, where he served in the Army Reserve for eight years.

He was hired at Bethlehem Steel sales trainee, and completed two years of training and six as a salesman moving to staff sales in rod & wire department. In 1969 he was promoted to a low-level management job in the office handling wire rope products and was noimated for a part-time lobbying job in Washington. The latter helped him move into Bethlehem Steel's Finance Department, where he helped restructure some of the operations and assets. In 1983 he was promoted to general manager of Bethlehem Steel's wire rope division, which he served in until retirement in 1985.

In 1988 he established the Cardon Management Group in Bethlehem, PA where was president. In the 1990s, he served as the CEO for Associated Wire Rope Fabricators in Lehigh Valley, PA. In the 2000s, Sayenga was appointed as executive director of the National Association of Chain Manufacturers.

His additional rules are numerous as well. He served on the board and as chairman for the Center of Canal History and Technology, later called the Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums, Inc. He was the Historian/Archivist for Wire Association International (Guilford, CT) and a similar role for the Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (Walled Lake, MI), and as and Technical Representative for American Wire Producers Association (Alexandria, VA). Additionally, he was chairman of the AISI Wire Rope Producers Committee (Washington, DC), president of OIPEEC, the International Organization for the Study of Wire Rope (Grenoble, France), chairman of the Domestic Wire & Rope Specialty Cable Manufacturers, and president of the International Organization for the Study of Wire Rope Endurance.

Through his life he became an expert on the wire rope and cable industry, writing significantly, including over 100 published works. His writings include articles in Wire Rope Technology . He additionally has written and edtied numerous articles for the Proceedings of the Canal History and Technology, including:

"Ellet and Roebling" (author, Vol. I, 1982), "The Untryed Business: An Appreciation of White and Hazard" (author, Vol. II, 1983), "John Augustus Roebling and the Public Works of Pennsylvania" (editor, Vol. III, 1984), "The Stewart Company" (editor, Vol. V, 1986), "T. Haskins DuPuy's Survey of the Pennsylvania Maine Line Canal" (author, Vol. VI, 1987), "The Ohio-Mississippi Waterway: Ellet's Dream and Army's Reality" author, Vol. VII, 1988), "Canals, Converters, and Cheap Steel" (author, Vol. VIII, 1989), "The Early Years of America's Wire Rope Industry, 1818-1848" (author, Vol. X, 1991), "The Mauch Chunk Wire Rope Factory" (author, Vol. XVII, 1998), "Pittsburg Aquaduct: Reconstruction of the Pittsburgh Aqueduct by John A. Roebling" (author, Vol. XIV, 1995), "A Gazeteer of Finley Patent Bridges" (author, Vol. XXVII, 2008), "Charles the Fearless" (author, Vol. XXX, 2011)

He wrote the book "Ellet and Roebling" (Canal History and Technology Press, 2001) based on an article written for the Canal History and Technology proceedings, as well as "Washington Roebling's Father: A Member of John A. Roebling (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2008).

On a different medium, he also wrote and narrated a videohistory series, including "Wonderful Worlds of Wire" and "Spanning the Gap."


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 extra height legal box, 2 reels of microfilm, and 1 DVD)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Matthew Sayenga, son of Donald Sayenga, after his father's death.

Separated Materials

Library-type materials were separated and are cataloged in WorldShare Management Services and placed in library.

DVD of "Wire Rope Forensics" was stored and located with other similar items.

Two reels of microfilm were housed in microfilm cabinet.

Processing Information

Processing was completed by Melissa Nerino in October 2019. Finding aid was created by Melissa Nerino in October 2019.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Industrial Archives & Library Repository

18 West 4th Street
Bethlehem Pennsylvania 18015 USA