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Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper (1791-1883) was an industralist and inventor.

He was born on February 12, 1791 in New York City. His parents were of Dutch descent and he had little formal schooling and worked in the family trade of hatmaking.

He worked as a coach maker's apprentice, then was involved in the cloth-shearing industry manufacturing and selling machines.

Later he started a glue factory which was a great success, before building the Canton iron works in Baltimore. He designed the first steam powered railroad engine in the USA, named Tom Thumb, in 1830. In 1854 he oversaw the production of the first structural iron beams.

He patented instant gelatine, later turned into Jello.

He founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

He ran in the 1876 presidential election for the Greenback Party.