Peter J. Gorman
Peter J. Gorman, chief engineer of the Coatsworth elevator, is probably as well known among steamboat men as the old-timers, from his association with them in machine shops, for he spent only a few seasons on the lakes as second engineer.
Mr. Gorman is the youngest of the seven children of Thomas and Bella (Ryan) Gorman, of Watertown, N. Y., where he was born January 6, 1860, and attended school until sixteen years of age. At that time, his father being a railroad engineer, our subject set out to master the same profession by entering the employ of the Steam Engine Works, of Watertown, where he learned the machinist's trade, serving an apprenticeship, and worked as a journeyman for four years. He then went to Chicago, where he worked about four and one half years at his calling, being with the M. C. Bullock Manufacturing Company, the A. Plamondon Manufacturing Company, Fraser & Chalmers and Warner & Swasey, after which he proceeded to Kingston, Ontario, to take a situation as tool maker offered him in the new engine works there known as the Kingston Locomotive Works. In this employ he continued two years, leaving to run an engine on the Canadian Pacific railroad for the next two and one-half years. In 1888 Mr. Gorman went to Austin, Penn., to work on the construction of the Sinnemahoning Valley railroad (now the Buffalo & Susquehanna), at which he was engaged about three years, and then coming to Buffalo went into King's iron works for a few months, from February to August. At this time he began steamboating as second engineer on the Codorus, on which he remained till the close of that season and the next two seasons as well. During the winters of those two years he was employed at the Snow Steam Pump Works of Buffalo, and the Davis machine shops, at Erie, Penn. After the close of navigation, for the season of 1894 he ran a stationary or hoisting engine for the city of Buffalo until August 6, 1895, when he was appointed chief engineer of the Coatsworth elevator, at Buffalo, the position he still holds.
During his long and successful career as a machinist and engineer, Mr. Gorman, like all other engineers, was bothered for the want of a good packing, and, after considerable study, he invented a perforated steam and water packing which is self- acting and expansive, thereby preventing any leaking, an advantage possessed by no other packing now on the market. It is now in use in several places in Buffalo, where Mr. Gorman is giving it a through trial, among them the Evening News Printing Office, Eastern elevator, Coatsworth elevator, Buffalo Dredging Company, and the steam drills used in deepening the Erie canal, where no other packing could stand the strain. He expects to have his packing on the market, and has now his letters patent. He has a contract with the Keystone Rubber Company, of Erie, Penn., to manufacture his goods, and he is putting them on the market himself. He has now also a cylinder oil pump of his own invention, which, for simplicity and durability, is surpassed by nothing now on the market.
Mr. Gorman was married June 10, 1890, to Miss Cora Robertson, of Saratoga Springs, N. Y., and they have three children, namely: Clara, now (1898) aged six; William, aged three; and Earl, aged one and one-half years. The family residence is at No. 12 Elm Street, Buffalo. Mr. Gorman is a member of the Buffalo Association of Stationary Engineers, No. 16, New York, of the National Association, and of Branch No. 20, C. M. B. A.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.