Inventor Industrialist George Pullman Train Letter Signed Engineer Fairlawn Nj For Sale
Best known as the Inventor of the Pullman Sleeping Train Car
& the Pullman Strike!!
HERE’S A VERY RARE (Circa
1893) LETTER SIGNED BY PULLMAN on his FAIRLAWN, Bergen County, New Jersey
Letterhead to CIVIL WAR TELEGRAPH GENERAL & PRESIDENT LINCOLN FRIEND THOMAS T. ECKERT. In this letter, Pullman transmits train passes
to John Applegate (NJ State Senator) for the Chicago World’s Fair!!
document measures 5 x 8" and is in very good, clean and crisp condition! APPEARS MUCH
NICER THAN THE SCANNED IMAGES!!
IMPORTANT ADDITION TO YOUR 19th CENTURY AMERICAN HISTORY AUTOGRAPH &
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF GEORGE PULLMAN
George Mortimer Pullman (March 3, 1831
– October 19, 1897) was an American
engineer, inventor and industrialist. He designed and manufactured the Pullman sleeping car, and founded a company town, “Pullman,” for the workers who manufactured
it. His Pullman Company also hired African-American men to staff the Pullman
cars, who became known and widely respected as Pullman porters, providing elite
Struggling to maintain profitability during an 1894
downturn in manufacturing demand, he lowered wages and required workers to spend
longer hours at the plant, but did not lower prices of rents and goods in his
company town. He gained presidential support by Grover Cleveland for the use of federal
military troops in the violent suppression of workers there to end the Pullman Strike of 1894. A national
commission was appointed to investigate the strike, which included assessment
of operations of the company town. In 1898 the Supreme
Court of Illinois ordered the Pullman Company to divest itself of
the town, which was annexed and absorbed by Chicago, becoming a neighborhood.
Pullman was born in Brocton, New York, and moved with his
family to Albion,
New York, along the Erie Canal.
It was heavily traveled by packet boats
that carried people on day excursions as well as travelers across the state.
There he attended local schools and at work learned other skills that contributed
to his later success.
At the age of fourteen, he dropped out of school, and he
went to work as clerk for a country merchant. He worked with his father to move
houses during the widening of the Erie Canal, and learned his technique of
shifting them to newly built foundations.
Career in Chicago
He moved to Chicago as a young engineer, as it was a boom
town that was expanding rapidly. He arrived in Chicago as that city prepared to
build the nation's first comprehensive sewer system. He formed a partnership
known as Ely, Smith & Pullman.
Chicago was built on a low-lying bog, and people described
the mud in the streets as deep enough to drown a horse. Because
the sewers could not be placed below ground in those conditions, Chicago
planned its sewer project by installing the sewers on top of the street and
covering them, effectively raising the street level 6–8 feet.
Pullman was one of the engineers who worked to raise the
buildings of central Chicago to the new grade, and constructing new
foundations under them. The Ely, Smith & Pullman partnership gained
favorable publicity for raising the massive Tremont House,
a six-story brick hotel, while the guests remained inside
Development of Pullman sleeping car
Between 1859 and 1863, Pullman spent time as a gold broker
near Golden, Colorado,
where he raised money. He met Hanniball Kimball, a future business
He developed a railroad sleeping car, the Pullman sleeper or
"palace car." These were designed after the packet boats that
traveled the Erie Canal
of his youth in Albion. The first one was finished in 1864.
After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Pullman
arranged to have his body carried from Washington, D.C. to Springfield
on a sleeper, for which he gained national attention, as hundreds of thousands
of people lined the route in homage. Orders for his new car began to pour into
his company. The sleeping cars proved successful although each cost more than
five times the price of a regular railway car. They were marketed as
"luxury for the middle class."
In 1867 Pullman introduced his first "hotel on
wheels," the President, a sleeper with an attached kitchen and
dining car. The food rivaled the best restaurants of the day and the service
was impeccable. A year later in 1868, he launched the Delmonico, the
world's first sleeping car devoted to fine cuisine. The Delmonico menu
was prepared by chefs from New York's famed Delmonico's
Both the President and the Delmonico and
subsequent Pullman sleeping cars offered first-rate service. The company hired African-American freedmen as Pullman porters. Many of the
men had been former domestic slaves in the South. Their new roles required them
to act as porters, waiters, valets, and entertainers, all rolled into one
person. As they were paid relatively well and got to travel the country, the position
became considered prestigious, and Pullman porters were respected in the black
Pullman believed that if his sleeper cars were to be
successful, he needed to provide a wide variety of services to travelers:
collecting tickets, selling berths, dispatching wires, fetching sandwiches,
mending torn trousers, converting day coaches into sleepers, etc. Pullman
believed that former house slaves of the plantation South had the right combination
of training to serve the businessmen who would patronize his "Palace
Cars." Pullman became the biggest single employer of African Americans in
post-Civil War America.
In 1869 Pullman bought out the Detroit Car and
Manufacturing Company. He bought the patents and business of his Eastern
competitor, the Central Transportation Company in 1870. In the spring of 1871,
Pullman, Andrew Carnegie,
and others bailed out the financially troubled Union Pacific; they took
positions on its board of directors. By 1875 the Pullman firm owned $100,000
worth of patents, had 700 cars in operation, and had several hundred thousand
dollars in the bank.
In 1887, Pullman designed and established the system of “vestibuled trains,” which virtually made
an entire train into a single car. The vestibules
were first put in service on the Pennsylvania
Railroad trunk lines
In 1880 Pullman bought 4,000 acres (16km2),
near Lake Calumet some 14 miles south of
Chicago, on the Illinois Central
Railroad for $800,000. He hired Solon Spencer
Beman to design his new plant there. Trying to solve the issue of
labor unrest and poverty, he also built a company town adjacent to his factory;
it featured housing, shopping areas, churches, theaters, parks, hotel and
library for his factory employees. The 1300 original structures were entirely
designed by Beman. The centerpiece of the complex was the Administration
Building and a man-made lake. The Hotel Florence, named for Pullman's
daughter, was built nearby. (see Pullman, Chicago).
Pullman believed that the country air and fine facilities,
without agitators, saloons and city vice districts, would result in a happy,
loyal workforce. The model planned community became a leading attraction for
visitors who attended the World's
Columbian Exposition of 1893. It attracted nationwide attention. The
national press praised Pullman for his benevolence and vision. According to
mortality statistics, it was one of the most healthful places in the world.
The industrialist still expected the town to make money as
an enterprise. By 1892 the community, profitable in its own right, was valued
at over $5 million. Pullman ruled the town like a feudal baron. He prohibited
independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings or open discussion. His
inspectors regularly entered homes to inspect for cleanliness and could
terminate workers' leases on ten days' notice. The church stood empty since no
approved denomination would pay rent, and no other congregation was allowed. He
prohibited private charitable organizations. In 1885 Richard Ely wrote in Harper's Weekly that the power
exercised by Otto Von Bismarck
(known as the unifier of modern Germany), was
"utterly insignificant when compared with the ruling authority of the
Pullman Palace Car Company in Pullman."
We are born in a Pullman house, fed from the Pullman shops,
taught in the Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman Church, and when we die
we shall go to the Pullman Hell.
The Pullman community is a historic district that has been
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Marktown, Indiana, Clayton Mark's planned worker community,
was developed nearby.
When manufacturing demand fell off in 1894, Pullman cut
jobs and wages and increased working hours in his plant to lower costs and keep
profits, but he did not lower rents or prices in the company town. Eventually
the workers launched the Pullman Strike.
When violence broke out, he gained the support of President Grover Cleveland for the use of United
States troops. Cleveland sent in the troops, who harshly suppressed the strike
in action that caused many injuries, over the objections of the Illinois
governor, John Altgeld.
A national commission was appointed to study the causes of
the 1894 strike. It found Pullman's paternalism partly to blame and described
Pullman's company town as "un-American." In 1898, the Supreme
Court of Illinois forced the Pullman Company to divest ownership in
the town, which was annexed to Chicago.
Death and Burial
"Pullman died of a heart attack at the age of 66 in
1897, only three years after the strike. Fearing that some of his former
employees or other labor supporters might try to dig up his body, his family
arranged for his remains to be placed in a lead-lined mahogany coffin, which
was then sealed inside a block of concrete. At the cemetery, a large pit had
been dug at the family plot. At its base and walls were 18 inches of reinforced
concrete. The coffin was lowered, and covered with asphalt and tarpaper. More
concrete was poured on top, followed by a layer of steel rails bolted together
at right angles, and another layer of concrete. The entire burial process took
two days. His monument, featuring a Corinthian column flanked by curved stone
benches, was designed by Solon Spencer Bemen, the architect of the company town
Pullman was identified with various public enterprises,
among them the Metropolitan elevated railway system of New York. It was
constructed and opened to the public by a corporation of which he was president.
The Pullman Company
merged in 1930 with Standard
Steel Car Company to become Pullman-Standard, which built its last
car for Amtrak in 1982. After delivery the
Pullman-Standard plant stayed in limbo, and eventually shut down. In 1987 its
remaining assets were absorbed by Bombardier.
I am a proud member of the Universal Autograph
Collectors Club (UACC), The Ephemera Society of America, the Manuscript Society
and the American Political Items Collectors (APIC) (member name: John
Lissandrello). I subscribe to each organizations' code of ethics and
authenticity is guaranteed. ~Providing quality service and historical
memorabilia online for over ten years.~
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Inventor Industrialist George Pullman Train Letter Signed Engineer Fairlawn Nj : $154