Online Highways Home > Illinois >

George Pullman

Search Visit Illinois

George Mortimer Pullman was born in Chautauqua County on March 3, 1831. His industious career began at the age of 14 when he signed on with a country merchant and at 17 began an apprenticeship in the cabinet-making business in Albion. At 22 he took advantage of the widening of the Erie Canal to contract the moving of large buildings.

In 1859 he moved to Chicago to work on the "railroad problem" which he'd been mulling over for the past year--passenger discomfort during longer journeys.

Pullman began by remodeling two old day-coaches of the Chicago and Alton Railroad into sleeping-cars, immediately finding favor with travelers and establishing a demand for improved traveling accommodations.

In 1863 he finalized his design for the "Pioneer" and began the construction of a sleeping-car which was destined to associate the Pullman name with railway comfort.