[RailTransportation] TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS: HISTORY: Brill Co. Trolleys Traveled the World

 

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TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS: HISTORY:

Brill Co. Trolleys Traveled the World

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Brill Co. Trolleys Traveled the World

Updated: October 23, 2016  3:01 AM EDT

Philly.com

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/ 20161023_Brill_Co__trolleys_traveled_the_world.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/jxv9kqz

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Philadelphia boasts the largest trolley network in the United States, serving more than 31 million passengers a year on 68 miles of track. As SEPTA plans a $700 million upgrade, consider the John G. Brill Co., one of the largest manufacturers of streetcars in the world.

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Brill’s story began with the arrival in Philadelphia of a 30-year-old German immigrant, cabinetmaker Johann Georg Brill. After working at a local railroad car firm, Brill and his son struck out on their own. Americanizing their name, the pair founded the eponymous company in a rowhouse at 31st and Chestnut Streets in 1868-69.

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Many of Brill’s initial designs were for horse- or mule-drawn streetcars, with ungulates still the machine’s motive force. With the electrification of streetcars, Brill presciently pivoted toward trolley manufacturing.

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The company’s reputation for quality and innovation soon traveled far beyond Philadelphia. Its first foreign sale in 1873, to Mexico, marked the beginning of Brill’s global reach. At its zenith, the company manufactured more than one-third of the United States’ trolley cars, and was one of the world’s largest producers of undercarriages. The only continent without a Brill customer was Antarctica.

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Salesmanship was not Brill’s only asset; quality and innovation were what he was known for. The company, its engineers, and its employees held hundreds of patents on everything from signal bells and door-opening mechanisms to full car designs.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
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jwne@temple.edu
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[RailTransportation] TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS: HISTORY: Brill Co. Trolleys Traveled the World

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