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Matthias William Baldwin was an American manufacturer of steam
locomotives. He opened his machine shop in 1825. The business grew
to become Baldwin Locomotive Works, one of the most prolific and
successful locomotive manufacturing firms in America. Baldwin was
born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the third of five children to a
successful carriage builder. His father, William Baldwin, died in
1799. In 1811 he entered an apprenticeship in Frankford,
Pennsylvania, to learn jewelry making; he changed employers in 1817
to work with the company of Fletcher and Gardner in Philadelphia.
Two years later, in 1819, he had used his jewelry-making knowledge
to devise and patent a method for gold plating which has since
become the standard method.
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