Cooper, Peter

Cooper, Peter,

1791–1883, American inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist, b. New York City. After achieving success in the glue business, Cooper, with two partners, erected (1829) the Canton Iron Works in Baltimore. There he constructed the Tom Thumb, one of the earliest locomotives built in the United States. His success in trials on the Baltimore & Ohio RR probably saved that pioneer line from bankruptcy.

During the next 20 years, Cooper expanded his holdings, becoming a leader in the American iron industry, and in 1870 he was awarded the Bessemer gold medal for rolling the first iron for fireproof buildings. Cooper invented and patented other practical devices and processes. His faith in the success of the Atlantic cable led him to invest heavily in the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company after banks refused to finance the operation. He was president of this company for 20 years while he headed the North American Telegraph Company, which controlled more than half of the telegraph lines in the country.

An outstanding leader in the civic affairs of New York City, Cooper led the successful fight to secure a public school system and did much to improve several of the municipal departments. His lasting monument is Cooper UnionCooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,
accredited institution of higher education; in New York City; coeducational; chartered and opened in 1859. Founded by Peter Cooper, it pioneered in evening engineering and art schools; day schools were added in 1900.
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 in New York City, built after his own plans to provide for education for the working classes. He supported the Greenback partyGreenback party,
in U.S. history, political organization formed in the years 1874–76 to promote currency expansion. The members were principally farmers of the West and the South; stricken by the Panic of 1873, they saw salvation in an inflated currency that would wipe out
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 in national politics, and in 1876 he was the party's presidential candidate, polling over 80,000 votes. Many of his addresses were collected in Ideas for a Science of Good Government (1883, repr. 1971). Abram S. HewittHewitt, Abram Stevens
, 1822–1903, American industrialist and political leader, b. Haverstraw, N.Y. He became a lawyer, and friendship with a son and marriage to a daughter of Peter Cooper shaped his career.
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 was his son-in-law, Peter Cooper HewittHewitt, Peter Cooper
, 1861–1921, American scientist and inventor, b. New York City; son of Abram S. Hewitt and grandson of Peter Cooper. He invented a mercury-vapor lamp and a mercury arc rectifier.
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 his grandson.


See biographies by R. W. Raymond (1901), A. Nevins (1935, repr. 1967), and E. C. Mack (1949).

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Cooper, Peter

(1791–1883) engineer, manufacturer, philanthropist; born in New York City. With little formal education, he worked in various trades, laying the basis for his fortune by making glue and isinglass. In 1828 he started an iron works in Baltimore, Md., where he built the first steam locomotive in the U.S.A., Tom Thumb; although it lost a famous race with a horse-drawn train in 1830, Cooper helped advance the spread of railroads. His many business interests—mostly involving iron mining and manufacturing—included the telegraph company that laid the first transatlantic cable. Quick to adopt the latest technology such as the Bessemer process, he himself invented several labor-saving devices including a washing machine. Having greatly prospered, in 1859 he founded Cooper Union in New York City to provide free education to adults in art and technical-scientific subjects; it still functions as the Cooper Institute. He was active in civic affairs and in 1876 was the Greenback Party's candidate for president.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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STAR SHOT: The famous Oscars selfie with, front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyong'o Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o and Angelina Jolie.
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Also tributes to comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Peter Cook, Ken Dodd and Dudley Hall.
** COOPER, Peter The Ghost of Ping-Ling Scholastic (Tales of the Blue Jade Bk 1), 2012 372pp $17.99 pbk ISBN 9781862919181 SCIS 1542066
He's the full package, up there with the likes of Colm Cooper, Peter Canavan and Bernard Brogan.
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