Matthias Forney, an American steam locomotive designer, was born March 28, 1835, in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He is most famous for his design of the Forney locomotive. Locomotives that Forney designed ran on New York City’s elevated railroads for many years.
As a young man, Forney apprenticed with Ross Winans, a well-known locomotive builder. He spent most of his life designing and building locomotives while employed by various railroad companies:
- Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O)–1855-1858
- Illinois Central Railroad–about 1861-1864
- Hinkley Locomotive Works–1865-1870
While working for the Illinois Central Railroad, Forney patented the first Forney locomotive, an 044-T.
Forney 044 locomotive
A Forney 044-T locomotive is on display at the Forney Transportation Museum in Denver, Colorado. The museum was founded by J.D. Forney, Matthias Forney’s second cousin. (Learn more about the Forney 044-T locomotive.)
Matthias Forney also authored the book Catechism of the Locomotive, first published in 1874. This book was considered an authoritative work on steam locomotive construction in the late 1800s.
Cover of Matthias Forney’s book, Catechism of the Locomotive
Forney later became an associate editor for the Railroad Gazette and quickly gained a reputation for being an expert in steam locomotive theory. He died January 14, 1908 in New York, New York.
Learn more about steam engines:
- AnimatedEngines.com–animated diagram of a steam locomotive engine
- HowStuffWorks.com–diagrams and explanation of how a steam engine works
- ExplainThatStuff.com–history of the steam engine, how a steam engine works with step-by-step information
Find more lessons about famous people born in March at iHomeschool Network!