Little is known of the builder of the Pioneer, Seth Wilmarth, and nothing in the way of a satisfactory history of his business is available. For the reader's general interest the following information is noted.
Seth Wilmarth was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on September 8,1810. He is thought to have learned the machinist trade in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, before coming to Boston and working for the Boston Locomotive Works, Hinkley and Drury proprietors. In about 1836 he opened a machine shop and, encouraged by an expanding business, in 1841 he built a new shop in South Boston which became known as the Union Works. Wilmarth was in the general machine business, but his reputation was made in the manufacture of machine tools, notably lathes.
He is believed to have built his first locomotive in 1842, but locomotive building never became his main line of work. Wilmarth patterned his engines after those of Hinkley and undoubtedly, in common with the other New England builders of this period, favored the steady-
While the greater part of Wilmarth's engines was built for New England roads, many were constructed for lines outside that area, including the Pennsylvania Railroad, Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Erie. A comparison of the surviving illustrations of Hinkley and Wilmarth engines of the 1850s reveals a remarkable similarity in their details. Notice particularly the straight boiler, riveted frame, closely set truck wheels, feed-
This is not surprising considering the proximity of the plants and the fact that Wilmarth had been previously employed by Hinkley. In 1854 Wilmarth was engaged by the New York and Erie Railroad to build fifty 6-