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Horatio Allen LL.D (May 10, 1802 – December 31, 1889) was an American civil engineer and inventor.

Born in Schenectady, New York, he graduated from Columbia in 1823, and was appointed the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company (precursor to the railroad) chief engineer. In 1828 he was sent to England to buy locomotives for the canal company's projected railway. There he made the acquaintance of George Stephenson. In 1829 he assembled the first steam locomotive to run in America, the Stourbridge Lion, which ran successfully at Honesdale, Pa.

From 1829 to 1834 he was the chief engineer of the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company, at that time the longest railway in the world (about 136 miles/218 km). He was the inventor of the so-called "swiveling truck" for railway cars. He wrote: The Railroad Era; First Five Years of its Development (1884).

In his other activities, from 1838 to 1842 he was principal assistant engineer of the Croton aqueduct for supplying water to New York City; in 1842 he became connected with the New York Novelty Works, which furnished engines for nearly all the American and many foreign war vessels and steamships of the time; at various times chief engineer and president of the Erie Railway; consulting engineer for the Panama Railway and the Brooklyn Bridge; and in 1872 and 1873 was president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


  • Allen, Horatio. “Diary of Horatio Allen,” Bulletin [of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society] 89 (November 1953): 97-138.
  • M. N. Forney, Memoir of Horatio Allen (reprinted from the Railroad and Engineering Journal)
Preceded by
William Maxwell
President of Erie Railroad
1843 – 1844
Succeeded by
Eleazer Lord




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