As an 18-year-old boy,  Herman Haupt was the youngest person ever to graduate from West Point Military Academy. Much later, he was President Lincoln's choice as the right engineer to run the Union railroad system during the Civil War.

General Herman Haupt  was an air car advocate and civil engineer, a Civil War general who refused a wage for his service, an early pioneer of tunnel-making, and a railroad man who published extensively in technical journals. He spearheaded pneumatic street railway projects in New York, and lent his reputation and credentials to the pursuit of this clean, safe, and economical motive power for the good of all.

Herman Haupt, C.E.  was also the author of Street Railway Motors, a book comparing the relative advantages of various alternative energy media for transportation, including compressed air, which he favored without question. His book, which is available for download from this site, includes an 88-page section on air cars with information not published elsewhere in the technical press.

Herman Haupt, C.E., age 34
Herman Haupt, Brigadier General
Herman Haupt with white beard

From the introduction by Frank Abial Flower to Herman Haupt's Reminiscences:


GENERAL HAUPT, now in his 85th year and the active head of an important manufacturing enterprise in the United States, is one of the most interesting, as he certainly is one of the most remarkable, figures in our history.

Few men have participated in so much that has contributed to the growth and grandeur of our country, yet how little the world knows of his career, how reluctant the trumpeters have been to herald his achievements!

A designer and builder of roads and bridges; a constructor of railroads and tunnels; a professor and author; an inventor and master mechanic; a military strategist and civil counsellor; a railway manager and canal engineer; a manufacturer and organizer of great enterprises; a military and civil engineer, still up-to-date and a leader of progress, he links the old with the new, the slow and sleepy past with the swift and dashing present in a way that is entirely exceptional.

He was born in Philadelphia on March 26, 1817. His father, Jacob Haupt, died in 1828, leaving a widow and six children.

reprint of Haupt newspaper biography
Herman Haupt, age 84

Birth: March 26, 1817     Death: December 14, 1904

Haupt's signature from a signed copy of his Reminiscences