Allen family.

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Horatio Allen, a noted civil engineer and inventor, was born in Schenectady, N.Y., on May 10, 1802. His father, Dr. Benjamin Allen, was then professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Union College.

Horatio graduated from Columbia College in 1823 with high honors in mathematics. Deciding upon a career in engineering, he spent a year on the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Around 1825 he joined the staff of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company as a resident engineer. When the company decided to import locomotives for use on its connecting railroad, Allen was sent to England in 1828 to procure them. Four locomotives were contracted for, the first in the United States. One, the STOURBRIDGE LION, was tested at Honesdale, Pa., on August 9, 1829, and Allen had the distinction of being the first man to operate a locomotive in the western hemisphere. However, the locomotives proved to be too heavy for the track structure and were not used in revenue service.

Upon completion of the Delaware & Hudson, Allen accepted the position of chief engineer of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, which was planning to build from Charleston to a point opposite Augusta, Ga. Allen pushed to have the company adopt locomotive power, and under his direction the West Point Foundry in New York City built the BEST FRIEND OF CHARLESTON, the first locomotive produced for sale in America.

Allen remained in Charleston until 1835, after which he and his new bride, Mary M. Simons, travelled abroad for three years. On their return, they settled in New York City, where Allen was named principal assistant engineer of the Croton Aqueduct. He was also serving as a consulting engineer to the New York & Erie Railroad. In 1842 he became one of the proprietors of the Novelty Iron Works, a noted builder of marine engines. Allen retired from active business in 1870, but continued with consulting work. In his later years he devoted much time to education, particularly the teaching of astronomy, for which he wrote a textbook and constructed several instruments. He died on December 31, 1889 at South Orange, N.J.

From the description of Papers, 1818-1925. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122333708

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Allen family. Papers, 1818-1925. Hagley Museum & Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albany Academy. corporateBody
associatedWith Allen, Benjamin, 1772-1836. person
associatedWith Allen Family Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Allen, George F. (George Featherstonhaugh), 1815-1863. person
associatedWith Allen, Grace B. (Grace Brown), d. 1854. person
associatedWith Allen, Horatio, 1802-1889. person
associatedWith Allen, Mary B. (Mary Benedict), d. 1828. person
associatedWith Allen, Mary L. (Mary Louisa), 1816-1861. person
associatedWith Allen, Mary M. person
associatedWith Allen, Rose A. person
associatedWith Allen, Theodore, b. 1800. person
associatedWith Allen, Thomas, 1698-1780. person
associatedWith Arctic (Steamship). corporateBody
associatedWith Benedict family. family
associatedWith Brown, James, 1791-1877. person
associatedWith Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Delaware and Hudson Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Loree, Leonor Fresnel, 1858-1940. person
associatedWith New York and Erie Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. corporateBody
associatedWith Panama Railroad Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Serrell, Edward W. (Edward Wellman), 1826-1906. person
associatedWith Seymour, Silas, 1817-1890. person
associatedWith South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Watkins, J. Elfreth (John Elfreth), 1852-1903. person
associatedWith West Point Foundry Association. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Croton Aqueduct (N.Y.)
Rhode Island
United States
New York (State)
South Carolina
United States
Civil engineering
Civil engineers
Fourth of July orations
Horatio Allen (Locomotive)
Stourbridge Lion (Steam locomotive)
Technology transfer


Active 1818

Active 1925

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SNAC ID: 67985881