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Rulers of the American Railroad
Rulers of the American Railroad
Rulers of the American Railroad

Rulers of the American Railroad

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12" Wooden Ruler made in U.S.A. of American-grown basswood.

Railroads changed America. Before the railroads, waterways were the only way to ship large amounts of goods over long distances. And unless you went to the enormous expense of digging a canal, many places in America could not be reached by water. In the early years of building railroads government support was crucial, specifically from the Army Corps of Engineers, as no other group in the country had as much civil engineering expertise.

This ruler focuses largely on inventors and builders who in the course of their careers improved the technology of transportation by rail.

The first American-built steam locomotive was named Tom Thumb, and was designed and constructed by Peter Cooper of New York City in 1830 to convince owners of the newly formed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to use steam engines. Cooper’s demonstration was successful, the railroad committed to the use of steam locomotion and held trials for a working engine in the following year.

George Pullman developed and built the Pullman sleeping card in 1864. When President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC the following year, Pullman arranged to have his body carried back to Springfield, Illinois on one of his sleeper cars. With hundreds of thousands of people lining the route in homage to Lincoln, many people saw the car, which became sought after as a result.

With the exception of the first entry, railroad millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt, our ruler lists the inventor or builder followed by their achievement and the year in which it occurred. The order of names is by date of each of those achievements.

The “head” image is that a stylized version of a classic American steam engine. 

If you like this ruler, you might also be interested in United States Rulers, Rulers of the North, or Rulers of the South.