b. 1836 d.1900
Andrew S. Hallidie invented the cable car
and held numerous patents
associated with mining, bridge building, metal wire rope
, and cable cars.
He was born Andrew Smith in London and emigrated to the U.S. with his father in 1852. He adopted the lastname Hallidie in honor of Sir Andrew Hallidie a physician to King William IV and Queen Victoria -- and his godfather and uncle.
After arriving in California Andrew and his father experienced disappointment in several mining and real estate ventures. His father quickly returned to England, but Andrew stayed. He supported himself variously (and barely) by mining for gold, blacksmithing, and running a restaurant.
He first made a name for himself with the construction of numerous bridges in the mining regions of California. His patents for metal wire rope also found application in moving cars of ore more easily and safely. Eventually he hit upon the idea of the cable car.
He completed the first cable car in San Francisco on August 1st, 1873. The royalties from the cable car patents would eventually make him a wealthy man.
Hallidie used his money and status to promote education and progress throughout the rest of his life.
Source: Museum of the City of San Francisco