Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Wagner, Webster

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WAGNER, Webster, inventor, b. near Palatine Bridge, N. Y., 2 Oct., 1817; d. near Spuyten Duyvil, N. Y., 13 Jan., 1882. He received a common-school education and became a wagon-maker. Subsequently he received the appointment of freight agent on the New York Central railroad, and then invented the sleeping-car. In 1858 he had four of these cars in operation, and their use gradually extended until they were adopted on all the lines of the Vanderbilt system. In 1867 he manufactured the first drawing-room car, and founded the Wagner palace-car company, of which he was president until his death. He also invented the oval car-roof, and patented the elevated panel. Mr. Wagner was elected as a Republican to the New York assembly in 1870, and from 1871 till 1882 he was state senator. In 1880 he was a delegate to the Republican national convention. He was killed in a railroad disaster on the Hudson river road.