The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Wheelwright, William
WHEELWRIGHT, William, an American capitalist, born in Newburyport, Mass., in 1798, died in London, Sept. 26, 1873. When 25 years old he commanded a trading vessel on the W. coast of South America, and in 1829 established a line of sailing passenger vessels between Valparaiso and Cobija. In 1835 he planned a line of steamers on the W. coast, which resulted in the foundation in 1838 of the Pacific steam navigation company, now (1876) running 54 steamers. In 1842 he suggested and afterward built a railway from Santiago to Valparaiso. In 1849-'52 he built the railway from the port of Caldera, which he created, to Copiapó, 50½ m., afterward extended to Tres Puntos. In 1855 he planned a railway from Caldera across the Andes to Rosario on the Paraná, 934 m. It was opened from Rosario to Cordoba in the Argentine Republic in 1870, and to Ensenada on the Atlantic in 1872. He also constructed the first telegraph line and the first gas and water works in South America. He was buried at Newburyport.—See La vida y los trabajos industriales de William Wheelwright en la America del Sud, by J. B. Alberdi (Paris, 1876).