Wason Manufacturing Company

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Wason advertisement from 1903

The Wason Manufacturing Company was a maker of railway passenger coaches and streetcars during the 19th and early 20th century. The company was founded in 1845 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Charles Wason (b. 1816) and Thomas Wason (b. 1811).[1]

Wason advertisement from 1912

Wason clients included the Michigan Southern Railroad (1846–1855), Alton Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Boston and Maine Railroad. By 1867 the company had about 300 employees.[1] The company made the first passenger coaches used on the Transcontinental railroad. One of these became the personal rail car of Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific Railroad.

Around 1900 Wason concentrated on manufacturing streetcars and electrified railway cars. Clients included the Manhattan Railway Company. The company became a subsidiary of J. G. Brill and Company in 1906. It continued to manufacture both streetcars and conventional railroad cars until 1932, when the Great Depression forced Brill to close the plant.[1]

One of the only surviving examples of a Wason coach can be found at the California State Railroad Museum's Railtown facility in Jamestown, California, located in the Sierra foothills. Wason streetcars on display at museums include 13 streetcars, interurban cars, and rapid transit cars at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME; an 1896 model at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum (Mass.)[2] and a 1901 model at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mid-Continent Railway Museum. North Freedom, WI. "Wason Manufacturing Company." Builders of Wooden Railway Cars. Accessed 2011-01-18.
  2. ^ Barten, Alfred (1999). "Recalling the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway." Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.
  3. ^ Connecticut Trolley Museum. East Windsor, CT. "Our Collection - Streetcars." Accessed 2011-01-18.