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New Jersey Railroad Information
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New Jersey's Locomotive Builders

In addition to New Jersey's contribution to Railroad operations, New Jersey also built locomotives.  In Trenton & Patterson, many of the early iron horses were built.  Eventually, they folded or were purchased by the larger companies, but in the 1800s....

The Danforth & Cooke Locomotive and Machine Co. - Paterson, NJ

The Danforth & Cooke began operations in 1852.  In spite of the 20-year head start that Rogers had,  Danforth & Cooke grew very quickly. Orders for its locomotives were on the rise through the Civil War and into the 1880s, much like the rival Rogers.  But, Cooke took a market lead, that it would hold until its end - the building of Rotary Snow Plows.

The D&C was the largest supplier of these most efficient of plows.  Most of them went to the Western Railroads where the need was greatest.  This was to prove an embarrassing irony when the blizzard of 1888 hit New Jersey.  Those plows would have been a big aid, but none were owned by the railroads in the state.

The Danforth & Cooke continued to operate even after it was purchased by the American Locomotive Company in 1902.  Although, under the control of Alco, it mainly built Plows or specialty engines for foreign companies.   The Danforth & Cooke turned out its last locomotive in 1926. I believe that the building is still standing.

The Grant Locomotive Works - Paterson, NJ

Grant was the smallest of the Paterson-based companies.  It was formed in 1867 after its predecessor company, The New Jersey Locomotive Company, passed into the hands of Oliver Grant.  Like the other companies, the Grant engines was quality machines.   

The most famous construction of Grant was the locomotive "America".  This American-type engine was displayed in Paris and probably on every piece of advertising the company produced after that.

Grant's presence in New Jersey ended in 1885, when the company left the state following a crippling fire.

The New York Locomotive Works - Jersey City, NJ

This company had a very short life.  It was opened 1854 and closed in 1857. The short life of the company was not related to the quality of the engines, but the default of payment from many of the railroads that ordered the engines.

The Rogers Locomotive Works - Paterson, NJ

The Rogers Locomotive Works started its production in 1832, under the name "Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor".   It wasn't originally formed to build locomotives, and didn't unveil its first locomotive until 1837.  The Sandusky was its name, and it was built for the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad.  From this small start, the Rogers grew to build 550 of them by 1854.

The original factory was destroyed in a fire and a new factory was built on the corner of Spruce & Market Street.  This building is still there.  Things continued to go well for Rogers through the Civil war and into the 1880s.  The Rogers name had become well known and respected.

By the time that Rogers stopped building Locomotives, it had built 6,200 units.  But, the difficulty of delivering the engines, along with the Philadelphia builders' proximity to the Coal and Iron needed, gradually cut into the Paterson locomotive builders.  The Rogers Company closed its doors in 1904.

The Trenton Locomotive Works - Trenton, NJ

Trenton was once a major manufacturing center in New Jersey.  Some of this is still visible on a bridge near Trenton, where the phase "What Trenton Makes, the World Takes" is still printed.

One of the companies that was in existence at that time, was the Trenton Locomotive Works. Of all the New Jersey locomotive makers, this one was the smallest.   This company only lasted from 1854-1857.

For more information:

There is an entire chapter in the John Cunningham book: "Railroads in New Jersey: The Formative Years"

Paterson, The Locomotive City - I haven't read this one yet, but it looks good.

(c) 2000 - Phil Paone