1790: The World Debut of a Renowned Transportation Entrepreneur

July 28, 1790

James Goold, a renowned carriage-maker who manufactured everything from sleighs to stagecoaches, was born in Granby, Connecticut. He launched his own business in Albany, New York, in 1813. That firm, which became popularly known as the Albany Coach Manufactory, achieved an important milestone in 1831 when it was hired to build six coaches for the Mohawk & Hudson Rail Road Company. These coaches, which were pulled along by the famous steam locomotive DeWitt Clinton, constituted the first-ever passenger cars created for an American railroad. 

The 1850s proved to be an especially productive decade for Goold and his company. By that time, for example, he had earned acclaim for a few highly sought-after vehicles. One was the Albany Cutter, a stylish and lightweight horse-drawn sleigh that is widely viewed as Goold’s most significant contribution to vehicle design. The sleek and relatively small-sized Albany Cutter, which could accommodate two passengers sitting side-by-side and be drawn by a single horse, consisted of  barrel-chested coachwork that was meticulously matched up with the two long pieces (runners) allowing the sleigh to move; both the coachwork and runners were made using carefully steam-bent components. 

Goold’s other noteworthy vehicles included the lighter-than-average but sturdy stagecoaches that he manufactured starting in 1857 for the Butterfield Overland Mail Company in its pioneering role in the transcontinental delivery of letters, cargo, and settlers to California. He built at least 100 of those stagecoaches, which were called Celerity Coaches, for Butterfield. Goold, who was hailed by the Carriage-Builders’ National Association for “a life of remarkable activity and usefulness, protracted with almost undiminished strength of mind and body,” died in Albany in 1879 at the age of 89.

Photo Credit: Coachbuilt.com

For more information on James Goold, please check out http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/g/goold/goold.htm and http://carriagemuseumlibrary.org/home/library-archives/carriage-manufacturers/james-goold/

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