Webster Wagner

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Webster Wagner (October 2, 1817 – January 13, 1882) was an American inventor, manufacturer and politician from New York.


Wagner was born near Palatine Bridge, New York. He developed a wagon-making business with his brother James. The business had folded by 1842, largely due to the Panic of 1837.[1] After serving as an employee for the New York Central Railroad, Wagner invented the sleeping car and luxurious parlor car. He also perfected a system of ventilating railroad cars. His inventions were first used on the NY Central and later spread to other lines. He founded the Wagner Palace Car Company, located in Buffalo, New York. Several legal battles with the Pullman Company failed to put him and his partners out of business.

He was married to Susan Davis, and they had five children.

He was a Republican member of the New York State Assembly (Montgomery Co.) in 1871; and of the New York State Senate from 1872 until his death, sitting in the 95th, 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, 101st, 102nd (all eight 15th D.), 103rd, 104th and 105th New York State Legislatures (all three 18th D.). He was killed in a rail accident while returning from Albany to New York City when two trains of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad collided in between the Kingsbridge and Spuyten Duyvil stations in The Bronx, two weeks into his sixth Senate term, on January 13, 1882.[2]

The Webster Wagner House at Palatine Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[3]


  1. ^ "Webster Wagner Wagon-making Papers, 1837-1842 (finding aid)". New York State Library Website. New York State Library. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Meeting a Terrible Fate – Nine Persons Crushed and Burned in a Collision – A Train Crashing Into the Rear of the Atlantic Express – Nine, Perhaps Twelve, Victims Caught in the Burning Cars – State Senator Wagner Among the Dead – Narrow Escape of Many Others – Terrible Scene at the Wreck". New York Times. January 14, 1882. p. 1. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.


External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
James Shanahan
New York State Assembly
Montgomery County

Succeeded by
William J. Van Dusen
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Isaiah Blood
New York State Senate
15th District

Succeeded by
Stephen H. Wendover
Preceded by
Henry E. Turner
New York State Senate
18th District

Succeeded by
Alexander B. Baucus