Granville T. Woods (1856-1910)
Born on April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio, Granville Woods was the individual most responsible for modernizing the railroad. During his lifetime, Granville T. Woods earned over thirty-five patents ranging from a steam boiler furnace in 1884, an incubator in 1900, to the automatic airbrake in 1902. Many of his electrical inventions were sold to the American Bell Telephone Company and the General Electric Company. The Westinghouse Air-break Company eventually obtained his Air-break patent. His most noteworthy device in the area of electric railway travel was his induction telegraph, a system of communication for moving trains. Because of the many accidents and collisions which were occurring on the railways, Granville T. Woods invented his synchronous multiple railway telegraph for the purpose of averting accidents by keeping each train informed of the whereabouts of the one immediately ahead of it or following it, in communicating with stations from moving trains, and in promoting general social and commercial intercourse. The inventions of Granville T. Woods revolutionized the railway industry. He died on January 30, 1910 in Harlem Hospital, New York City.