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Baldwin Locomotive Works: Evolution of the American Locomotive, 1907

Large-Scale Production

In 1833, Baldwin visited the Mohawk and Hudson Rail Road to examine a recently acquired Stephenson locomotive and realized he could make a better version. He did so with a model he sold in February, 1834, at the same time obtaining a U.S. patent for its "half crank" feature. Now each locomotive produced by the Baldwin Locomotive Works improved progressively and their manufacture became its central aim. By 1837, the company employed three hundred skilled artisans and produced forty locomotives annually.

The Works' progress moved in tandem with burgeoning U.S. railroad expansion. All aspects of a large manufacturing plant were being invented as required: the logistics of fuel and raw materials supply from the coal and iron mines of Pennsylvania to the supply or manufacture of suitable tools, both hand and machine. The processes of large-scale industrial production were being discovered and established at the company, which would be the largest locomotive manufacturer in the world.