The Pennsylvania Railroad was incorporated by Philadelphia businessmen in April 1846. Realizing the futility of depending upon the state canal system and seeing the commercial menace of the Erie taking shape to north and the Baltimore & Ohio to the south, the merchants of Philadelphia decided to build a line to Pittsburgh. Under the strong, sure guidance of John Edgar Thomson, they completed, by 1850, a 137-mile road west from Harrisburg to Altoona, to connect with the state-owned inclined-plane railroad near Hollidaysburg. The Pennsylvania went through rapid growth, acquiring some of the oldest lines in the States, including Camden and Amboy, the Philadelphia and Columbia and the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown. In 1884, the Pennsylvania adopted use of the automatic coupler, the brainchild of Eli H. Janney, a former major in the Confederate Army. Later, the company built tunnels under the Hudson River and built Pennsylvania Station, in direct response the New York Central’s Grand Central Terminal. The two fabled lines competed vigorously, especially along the NY-Chicago route, where the Pennsylvania’s Broadway Limited competed with the Central’s Twentieth Century Limited. Ironically, the two companies eventually merged in 1968 to form the Penn Central; which went bankrupt in 1970. Over the lifetime of the company, numerous other lines were controlled by the Pennsylvania, including the Norfolk and Western, the Wabash, the Long Island, the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton, and the Toledo, Peoria and Western (which was jointly owned with the Sante Fe). At its peak, the Pennsylvania was the largest railroad in the United States in terms of revenue and tonnage. Its management felt more than justified in calling the Pennsylvania;The Standard Railroad in the World.
For a more detailed history on the Pennsylvania Railroad, click here.
Capital Stock Certificate, issued in the 1960’s
Printed by the American Bank Note Company
8” (h) x 12” (w)
This certificate has vertical fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and body, and some toning and edge faults from age.