Cruising the past looks at rail travel in America aboard the Pullman Company sleeping cars – when trains were truly first class and cross-country rail trips were a cruise.
THE PULLMAN COMPANY
George Pullman was inspired by an overnight train ride from Buffalo to Westfield, New York to design an improved passenger railcar. He established his company in 1862 and built luxury sleeping cars which featured carpeting, draperies, upholstered chairs, libraries and card tables and an unparalleled level of customer service. Once a household name due to their large market share, the Pullman Company is also known for the bitter Pullman Strike staged by their workers and union leaders in 1894. During an economic downturn, Pullman reduced hours and wages but not rents leading to the strike. Workers joined the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs.
After George Pullman’s death in 1898, Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln became company president. The company closed its factory in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago in 1955. Pullman purchased the Standard Steel Car Company in 1930 amid the Great Depression, and the merged entity was known as Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company. The company ceased production after the Amtrak Superliner cars in 1982 and its remaining designs were purchased in 1987 when it was absorbed by Bombardier.
The original Pullman Palace Car Co., had been organized on February 22, 1867, and after buying numerous associated and competing companies, was reorganized as The Pullman Co., on January 1, 1900. [Read more...]