Pullman, George Mortimer

Pullman, George Mortimer,

1831–97, American industrialist and developer of the railroad sleeping car, b. Brocton, N.Y. As a young man he became a cabinetmaker, and after he moved (1858) to Chicago he began converting (1859) old railroad coaches in order to facilitate long-distance traveling. Some five years later he built the Pioneer, the first modern sleeping car. Gaining great wealth from his invention, he founded (1867) the Pullman Palace Car Company. The town of PullmanPullman.
1 Former town, since 1889 part of Chicago, Ill. It was founded in 1880 by George M. Pullman as a model community for workers of his sleeping-car company; all property was company owned, and administration policies were paternalistic.
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, now part of Chicago, was built (1880) for the company and its workers. One of the most famous of all U.S. strikes was that at Pullman in 1894.
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Pullman, George Mortimer

(1831–97) inventor, businessman; born in Brocton, N.Y. He spent 1848–55 working with his brother, a cabinetmaker in Albion, N.Y., before moving to Chicago. In 1858 he remodeled two of the day coaches of the Chicago & Alton Railroad into sleepers, a long-time dream of his. He remodeled a third in 1859. The three cars were popular with travelers but not with the railroads, so Pullman left for Colorado, ran a general store (1859–63), and continued revising his plans for sleeper cars. Back in Chicago (1864) he and friend Ben Field patented the folding upper berth, and built their first sleeping car, Pioneer (1865); its success led to their starting the Pullman Palace Car Company (1867). Other cars designed and built by Pullman and Field included a dining car (1868), the parlor car (1875), and the vestibule car (1887). Pullman plants were located in several cities, with headquarters in Pullman, Ill., a town built expressly for his employees (1881). (It is now part of Chicago.) For many years the Pullman Company built, staffed, and operated most of the sleeping cars on U.S. railroads and his cars were adopted by many railroads throughout the world.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.