T. H. Paul

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Thomas Haig Paul (March 10, 1820[1] -) was a locomotive manufacturer in Frostburg, Maryland, in the 19th Century. He is credited with building the first narrow-gauge locomotive in the United States in 1864.[1][2]


Born, one of nine children, to Agnes (née Haig) and Alexander Paul in New York City. His parents, and two older siblings, had come to the United States from Scotland in 1818. The family soon moved to Paterson, New Jersey, where he began his apprenticeship as a mechanic.[1]

He served as the "Master Mechanic" for the Mount Savage, Maryland, shop of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad from 1854 to 1855.[3]

Paul married Marian M. Neff (May 31, 1834 – May 15, 1890), daughter of Joanna (née Small) and John Neff, in Reading, Pennsylvania on November 7, 1854.[1] The couple had two children, John Thomas Haig Paul (January 30, 1856) and Ella Marian Paul (April 23, 1857).[1] Ella married, on April 8, 1885, Howard Hitchins, son of Adam E. Hitchins (co-founder of Hitchins Brothers Company, along with his brother Owen, a mercantile company in Frostburg).[4]

Opened Thomas H. Paul and Son Iron Works in 1855 to build mining cars and mining machinery.[5] The "son" was John Thomas Haig Paul.

Paul built a narrow gauge (three feet) locomotive weighing eight tons for the Franklin Coal Company in 1871.[6]

With the Depression of 1882–85 the company ran into financial trouble in early 1883.[7] The company moved from Allegany County to Baltimore in February 1883.[2] At the time the company owed Betts Machine Company approximately USD$5,000. Betts, falling into financial troubles of their own because of the depression, filled a lawsuit against Thomas H. Paul & Sons (including principals Thomas H. Paul and John T. H. Paul) to collect the money owed to them. Betts also accused Paul of transferring assets in order to hide them from creditors and hiding to avoid being served legal papers.[8] On May 10, 1884 the foundry in Frostburg was sold by the Allegany County sheriff's department.[9]

In June 1889 Paul traveled to Trinidad, Colorado, to see about either opening a branch foundry there or moving the company entirely.[10] Instead, a branch foundry was constructed in Sioux City, Iowa, in August 1889.[11]

The property for the foundry and residence of the Paul family was sold in February 1898.[12]

He received a patent, number 330,261, for a Planer-Chuck, to plane the edges on locomotive links, on November 10, 1885,[13] and then number 463,282, for a "Gas Stove and Radiator" on November 17, 1891.[14] Paul and his son obtained a patent (filed December 12, 1893), number 530,237, for a gas engine on December 4, 1894. The patent was unique in the use of rocker-arms and intake and exhaust values in providing a better and simpler value controlling mechanism.[15]

Marian M. Paul died of dropsy in Frostburg on May 15, 1890, at the age of 55.[16] Paul's son, John Thomas Haig Paul died in Chicago, Illinois, on March 4, 1929.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e Scharf, John Thomas (1882). History of western Maryland (Volume 2). Philadelphia: Lours H. Everts. pp. 1488–1489. 
  2. ^ a b "Business and Personal", Engineering mechanics, Progress Publishing Company: 88, February 3, 1883 
  3. ^ Stakem, Patrick H. (2002), Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad Revisited, Pat Stakem, p. 30, ISBN 978-0-9725966-0-2 
  4. ^ Thomas, James Walter & Thomas John Chew Williams (1969). History of Allegany County, Maryland. Regional Publishing Company. p. 565. 
  5. ^ White, John H. (1982), A short History of American Locomotive Builders in the Steam Era, Bass, p. 75 
  6. ^ Engineering: Volume 11, Design Council and Office for Advertisements and Publication: 443, June 23, 1871  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Legal Notice: In The Circuit Court of Baltimore City -- Ex Paste in the Matter of the Trust Estate of Thomas H. Paul & Son", The Baltimore Sun, p. 2, April 25, 1883 
  8. ^ Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Appeals of Maryland, Volume 61. John Murphy. 1884. pp. 172–184. 
  9. ^ Engineering and Mining Journal, Volumes 37-38, McGraw-Hill: 390, May 24, 1884  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Current News", The American Engineer, 17-18: 224, June 19, 1889 
  11. ^ "Current News", The American Engineer: 53, August 7, 1889 
  12. ^ "Real Estate Transaction", The Baltimore Sun, p. 8, February 22, 1898 
  13. ^ Patent # 330,261, United States Patent and Trademark Office, November 10, 1885 
  14. ^ Patent # 463,282, United States Patent and Trademark Office, November 17, 1891 
  15. ^ Patent # 530,237, United States Patent and Trademark Office, December 4, 1893 
  16. ^ "Paul", The Cumberland Times, May 16, 1890 
  17. ^ "J. Thomas H. Paul Died in Chicago", Cumberland Evening Times, p. Nine, March 7, 1929 

Stakem, Patrick H. T. H. Paul & J. A. Millhollland: Master Locomotive Builders of Western Maryland, 2011, PRRB Publishing, ASIN B004LGT00U.