Industrialist, US Congressman. One of the preeminent metal manufacturers of the 19th Century. Born in Madison, Connecticut, he left Lee's Academy at age 17 and moved to New Jersey, where he rose from humble teamster to wealthy merchant in little more than a decade. In 1839 he and his brother Selden ventured into iron production and the following year they founded the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Co. (later Lackawanna Steel) on 500 acres near the village of Slocum's Hollow, Pennsylvania. Scranton is credited with developing the use of anthracite for smelting ore, but his fortunes really rose with the upsurge of railroad construction in the late 1840s. The Lackawanna Co. became the first American mass-producers of T-rails, which previously had to be imported from England, and this had a huge impact on the development of rail transportation in the US. In the process the Lackawanna Co. became the second-largest steel manufacturer in the world. To better export his product Scranton established (through merger) the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (1853) and was its first president. He founded and laid out the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1851; it was subsequently incorporated as a borough (1856) and a city (1866). In 1858 he was elected as a Republican to the US House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 12th district, and served two terms, from 1859 until his death in office. There is a cenotaph for him at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. The Lackawanna Steel Co. was acquired by Bethlehem Steel in 1922 and continued as a subisidiary until it was phased out in 1982.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Jane Hiles Scranton