Peter Cooper, date unknown, from GVSHP’s Historic Image Archive, www.archive.gvshp.org.
Born on February 12, 1791, Peter Cooper left his mark on the world as a pioneering industrialist and inventor, and his mark on the Village as a great philanthropist. Cooper began his career as a coachmaker’s apprentice, although he had only one year of formal schooling. He also worked as a cabinet maker, hatmaker, brewer, and grocer. From these humble beginnings he became one of the great American businessmen, innovators, educators, and humanitarians of the 19th century, leaving an enduring legacy which lives on to this day.
In 1824, Cooper purchased a glue factory on Sunfish Pond in Kips Bay in Manhattan, successfully developing new ways to produce glues, cements, gelatin, and other products. In 1828 he used profits from the factory to purchase 3,000 acres in Maryland, which he believed would skyrocket in value due to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. As he drained the swamps and flattened the hills, he discovered iron ore on his property and founded the Canton Iron Works in Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »