“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Schenectady in Schenectady County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The “Works”

Schenectady Locomotive Works

The “Works” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel
1. The “Works” Marker
In 1847, master mechanic John Ellis and lawyer Platt Potter teamed up with the Norris brothers to brėng locomotive manufacturing to Schenectady. After raising $40,000 from progressive citizens to recruit the new ėndustry and $10,000 from the brothers, they opened the Schenectady Locomotive Engine Manufactory. Their eighth steam engine - the Lightning - was built in 1849 with a speed that was clocked at 13 minutes and 21 seconds over 16 miles, or 72 miles per hour.

While incredibly fast for the time, the Lightning was short-lived as its speed strained, and then tore up the rails. The Norris brothers abandoned the project but Schenectady's citizens raised additional funds, and on May 26, 1851, the new Schenectady Locomotive Works opened. Under the leadership of John Ellis, the Works went on to prosper during the Civil War building eighty-three locomotives for the government between 1861 and 1863. By 1865 it employed more than 500 men. After 1869, the year ėn which the Schenectady-made locomotive - Jupiter (#60) became one of two steam locomotives to ride the first Transcontinental Railroad, the Works'
The “Works” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel
2. The “Works” Marker
800 employees went on to produce seventy-six locomotives. In 1901, the Works merged with seven smaller manufacturers and became ALCO, the American Locomotive Company.

Illustration Captions:
Main Image: The President was a typical 10-wheel locomotive design by the Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1855. This is the draughtsman's drawing.

Bottom Left: The Lightning (above) was built for a cost of $15,800. It was retired in less than a year.

Bottom Center: The original notation (left) from the ledger of the Schenectady Locomotive Works for Jupiter, engine #60.

Main Image and Lightning: Schenectady County Historical Society
Jupiter ledger entry: Efner History Center

Erected by Schenectady County, ALCO.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars.
Location. 42° 49.444′ N, 73° 56.242′ W. Marker is in Schenectady, New York, in Schenectady County. Marker is to the rear of The Landing hotel on the bike path, and may be reached from River Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Schenectady NY 12305, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dewitt Clinton (a few steps from this marker); ALCo's Legacy
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(about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); "Jupiter" (about 700 feet away); Schenectady (approx. 0.2 miles away); Casey Jones (approx. 0.2 miles away); Streamliners (approx. 0.2 miles away); ALCo Site (approx. 0.3 miles away); "Big Boy" (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Schenectady.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 13, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 28 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 13, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 4, 2021