Philanthropist, industrialist and inventor–Peter Cooper (1791-1883) was a native New Yorker and workingman’s son with less than a year of formal schooling, who became one of the most successful American businessmen of his day. He made his fortune in iron, glue, railroads, real estate and communications. His inventions include the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and Tom Thumb, America’s first functioning steam engine. Cooper also invented Jello–with help from his wife, Sarah, who added fruit to his clarified gelatin. Despite his many successful ventures, Cooper captured only 81,737 popular votes in his 1876 bid for the presidency as a candidate from the Greenback Party.
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