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date: 19 September 2019

Pullman, George Mortimerlocked

(b Brocton, NY, March 3, 1831; d Chicago, Oct 19, 1897).
  • Leland M. Roth

Extract

(b Brocton, NY, March 3, 1831; d Chicago, Oct 19, 1897).

American industrial designer and philanthropist. His father was a skilled house builder living in Albion, NY, on the Erie Canal. When the canal was widened, Pullman worked with his father, moving houses that were too near the new canal banks. He moved in 1855 to Chicago, then a small, fast-growing city built on mud-flats only slightly above the level of Lake Michigan. There were severe drainage problems, and the city authorities undertook to elevate existing buildings and build higher streets. In 1855 this work had just begun, and Pullman brought with him the expertise needed to move buildings. Within a year he had established a thriving business.

During the winter, Pullman returned to his family in Albion, experiencing first-hand the rigours involved in long-distance rail travel, and he therefore formed a partnership in 1858 to build railway sleeping-cars. The early models enjoyed modest success and encouraged him to produce a larger, more luxurious version. Built during the winter of ...

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Dictionary of American Biography (New York, 1928–)