Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story

Posted in Events, Past Events

Documentary presented in conjunction with Painting the Moon and Beyond

Introduction by special guest and filmmaker Janet Gardner

Saturday, March 26
2 p.m.
Trenton City Museum

Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story was originally broadcast on PBS — learn more here

Nineteenth-century inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Peter Cooper played an enormous role in fashioning Trenton into an industrial city, establishing Trenton Iron Works in 1845. Rising from humble roots, he bought and developed a glue factory, went on to patent gelatin for Jell-O, built the first small steam-powered engine for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and developed the I-beam that allowed architects to design skyscrapers.

Inspired by Quaker principles, Cooper sought to increase educational opportunities for the working class. He founded Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 1859 which promised a tuition-free education for students. Cooper chose to admit women and students regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.

Artists Lois Dodd and Mel Leipzig and documentarian Janet Gardner are all graduates of Cooper Union.