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 Thaddeus S. C. Lowe

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Thaddeus S. C. Lowe

Lowe's first claim to fame is that he was a direct descendant of Peregrine White who was born on the Mayflower as it lay at anchor in Cape Cod Harbor in 1620. Lowe was also an entertainer and showman, performing magic and chemistry exhibitions; first as the assistant to Professor Reginald B. Dincklehoff and then on his own under the name of Professor Carlincourt. Lowe was a balloonist. He became interested in ballooning when he heard news about the great airship Victoria making a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from Wales to North Carolina. This was impressive news for these times. It turned out that the story of the Victoria phony, just a fictional work done by Edgar Allen Poe, mistakenly printed by the newspapers as truth. Not to worry; Lowe was still fired up. Sometime later, after his skills and knowledge in the area had increased, Lowe was able to impress President Abraham Lincoln with the potential that manned balloons offered in connection with intelligence gathering. Lincoln appointed Lowe chief of army aeronautics in 1861, during the civil war. By the time he resigned his post in 1863, Lowe and his crew had made more than 3,000 flights over enemy territory. Lowe is considered by many as the "father" of aerial reconnaissance. Lowe was an inventor. He invented a machine for making ice, equipped a steamer with refrigeration for haulage of perishable food, and built regenerative metallic furnaces for gas and petroleum and a coke-oven system for simultaneously producing gas and metallic coke. Lowe was an extraordinary entrepreneur. After moving to Pasadena, California, Lowe developed and built the Mount Lowe Railway. This exotic 1890s railway once provided trolley and cable service for Los Angeles residents to nearby mountain resort areas, the components of which were also developed by Lowe or, at least, influenced by him. The railway carried its passengers up to a small city on Echo Mountain that included two hotels, a casino, an observatory, residences, gardens, a small zoo, and a power plant. Lowe built another hotel complex further into the mountains that was connected to Echo Mountain by another railway, 3.5 miles long. As a result of fires, landslides, windstorms and other disasters, all of this had gone to ruin by the 1930s. All that remains today of these once bustling places are foundations and walls.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Aug 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11868
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thaddeus S. C. Lowe (20 Aug 1832–16 Jan 1913), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11868, citing Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, Altadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .