“Because of the success of Matthias W. Baldwin’s first locomotive, a small working model that ran on miniature tracks at the Philadelphia Museum in 1831, officials of the six-mile Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad (now part of the Reading system) ordered a full-size locomotive from him. Baldwin had so much difficulty in finding mechanics and securing tools to build her that he told a friend, ‘This is our last locomotive.’ But after completing the engine which was named Old Ironsides, he went on to new triumphs. Eventually he built locomotives for railroads all over the world, gaining a reputation as a builder second to none. Old Ironsides weighed 11,000 pounds, had a crank axle connected to two horizontal cylinders and made 28 miles an hour on a trial run, November 23, 1832, over trackage which previously mounted horse-drawn vehicles. – Reading Company”
Matthias William Baldwin (1795-1866) was an American inventor and machinist, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He was a jewelry maker and silversmith before partnering with machinist David Mason to produce equipment for printers and bookbinders. The need for more power to support the machine shop led to the building of steam engines, which led to the founding of one of the largest, most successful locomotive manufacturing firms in the United States: Baldwin Locomotive Works. A statue of Matthias Baldwin appears in front of Philadelphia’s city hall. Baldwin is also known for his support of charitable causes, was outspoken in his support to abolish slavery, and donated money to help establish a school for African-American children in Philadelphia.
The Reading (pronouncing “Redding”) Company was in operation from 1833-1976. Officially the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road (later Railway) and was one of the most successful railroad corporations in the U.S. This card is number four of a series, date printed unknown, possibly from the 1950s through the last possible year of 1976.