Southern Pacific 1892 Cooke 4-6-0 No. 314 at the Galveston Railroad Museum.

(Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works, located in Paterson, New Jersey, manufactured steam railroad locomotives from 1852 until it was merged with seven other manufacturers to form American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in 1901.


Aerial view of the Cooke Locomotive & Machine Company in Paterson New Jersey.

(See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The firm was established in 1852 by former Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works superintendent (and son-in-law of William Swinburne of Swinburne, Smith and Company) John Cooke and former Montreal resident Charles Danforth as the Danforth, Cooke, and Company, as a manufacturer of steam locomotives as well as cotton machinery. The company was renamed Danforth Locomotive and Machine Company in 1865, with Danforth serving as president until 1871, four years before his death in 1875. Cooke succeeded Danforth as president in 1871, continuing in such capacity until his own death in 1882, after which Cooke's sons, John, Frederick, and Charles reorganized the firm as the Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works, and continued operating the company as such until the merger in 1901.

In 1901, Cooke and several other locomotive manufacturers merged to form the American Locomotive Company; Cooke's plant becomes the Alco-Cooke Works, and locomotive production continued at the plant until 1926. Approximately 2600 locomotives were built by Cooke from 1852 to 1901, among the most notable engines produced by the firm are the C. P. Huntington, and the Western & Atlantic Railroad "Texas".


ALCO-Cooke builder's plate, 1910.

(The original uploader was Slambo at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



In addition to providing motive power for North American railroads, Cooke has also produced many locomotives for Central and South America as well as other parts of the world. Examples of exported locomotives include two 0-8-2 tank locomotives for the Port Talbot Railway and Docks Company, South Wales, in 1899, as well as Barry Railway's five class K 0-6-2T locomotives the same year. The firm also produced 2-6-2T locomotives for the War Department Light Railways to be used in France during World War I, preserved examples of which can be found on the Froissy Dompierre Light Railway and Ffestiniog Railway.


1877 advertisement of Danforth Locomotive and Machine Company.

(Poor's Manual, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Preserved Cooke locomotives

The following is a list of preserved locomotives built by Cooke before the ALCO merger in 1901. They are listed here in serial number order.

Serial number Wheel arrangement Build date Name Disposition
unknown 4-4-0 October 1856 Western and Atlantic Railroad 49 Texas Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia
277 4-2-4T October 1863 Central Pacific Railroad No. 3 C. P. Huntington, Southern Pacific Railroad 1 California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, California
1555 2-6-0 February 1884 Colorado and Southern Railway 9 Highline Park, Breckinridge, Colorado
1861 4-4-0 February 1888 Dardanelle and Russelville 8 Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, Nevada
2053 4-6-0 October, 1890 Union Pacific Railroad 1242 Lion's Park, Cheyenne, Wyoming
2054 4-6-0 October, 1890 Union Pacific Railroad 1243 Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
2197 4-6-0 April 1892 Texas and New Orleans Railroad 314 Center for Transportation and Commerce, Galveston, Texas
2202 4-6-0 April 1892 Texas and New Orleans Railroad 319 Riverdale, Georgia
2341 4-6-0 July 1896 Southern Pacific Railroad 2248 Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine, Texas
2360 4-6-0 March 1897 Southern Pacific Railroad 2252 Overlooking the Union Pacific classification yard, Roseville, California
2408 4-6-0 October 1898 Missouri Pacific Railroad 2522 Paris City Park, Paris, Arkansas

In addition to the above locomotives, the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad WP&YR owns and maintains a steam-powered snowplow built by Cooke in 1899. This unit is on static display in Skagway, Alaska.

The following is a list of preserved locomotives built at the Cooke factory after the ALCO merger.

Serial number Wheel arrangement Build date Name Disposition
28686 2-8-0 September 1903 Illinois Central 790 Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, Pennsylvania
55847 2-6-0 May 1916 Waynesburg & Washington 4 Greene County Historical Museum, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
57978 2-10-2 January 1918 Southern Pacific 975 Illinois Railway Museum, Union, Illinois
62624 2-8-0 November 1920 Arcade and Attica 18 Arcade and Attica Railroad, Attica, New York


Industry: rail transport
Founded as: Danforth, Cooke, and Company in 1852
Founders: John Cooke, Charles Danforth, John Edwards, and Edwin T. Prall
Defunct: 1901
Successor: ALCO
Headquarters: Paterson, New Jersey, United States
Products: steam locomotives and rolling stock, cotton machinery