A History of its Industries, Railroads and Inventions



Great Inventors
of New York's
Capital District

Author's note: This book was published by The History Press in June, 2010. It features inventors from the exciting industrial era of the Capital Region, from the mammoth foundries along the Hudson River, to the collar factories of Troy, to the General Electric complex of Schenectady, to the stove fabricators of Albany. Students of history will be pleased to find the inventors of the railroad air brake, the Schenectady Putter, modern toilet paper, incandescent light bulbs, and billiard balls.


Meneely foundry bell.


Table of Contents  


Working the Land 

Peter Dederick: Perpetual Hay Press
James Covert: Bolt Harness Snap
Lewis Aspinwall: Potato Planters and Diggers
John Griswold: Wire Straightener
George Westinghouse Sr.: Grain Separator
Seth Wheeler: Farm Machinery and Perforated Paper 

Hauling the World 

Barnabus Langdon: Horse-Powered Ferry
Francis Cole: Locomotive Superheater
Albert Pitkin: Compound Engine
James McElroy: Car Heating Systems
George Westinghouse Jr.: Railroad Air-Brake 

Heating the World

Eliphalet Nott: Anthracite Coal Stove
The Rathbone Family: Acorn Stove
Dennis Littlefield: Morning Glory Base Burner
Philo Stewart: The Stewart Stove 

Lighting the World 

Charles Steinmetz: Alternating Current
Ernst Alexanderson: High Frequency Alternator
William Coolidge: Ductile Tungsten
William Emmett: Electric Turbines for Warships
Irving Langmuir: Incandescent Light Bulbs
Joseph Henry: Electromagnet 

Fire and Water 

Lysander Button: Hand and Steam Fire Engines
George Eddy: Mohawk Hydrant and Eddy Valve
Henry Ludlow: Straight-Way Slide-Stop Valve
James Knibbs: The Knibbs Run Around 

Men of Steel 

Horatio Spafford: Iron and Steel Manufacture
Henry Burden: Horseshoe Machine
John Winslow: Armor Plating
James Blessing: Steam Trap

The Collar City 

Sanford Cluett: Preshrinking Cotton Fabrics
Howard Kennedy: Shirts and Collars
James Pine: Collar and Cuff Machines
Thomas Wiles: Ironing Machines 

The Spindle City 

Timothy Bailey: Power Knitting Loom
George Campbell: Winding Bobbin Machine
Luke Kavanaugh: Knitting Burr
Clark Tompkins: Upright Rotary Knitting Machine 

Arts and Entertainment 

John Hyatt: Celluloid for Billiard Balls
James Gray: Piano Attachment
Henry Miller: Sound Machines
The Meneely Family: Bells and Bell Fixtures
Arthur Knight: The Schenectady Putter 



Joseph Henry electromagnet


Peter Dederick hay press

Eliphalet Nott stove.