Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Ross Winans (1796-1877)
MSA SC 3520-14472
House of Delegates, Baltimore City, 1861


Born October 17, 1796, in Vernon, New Jersey. Son of William and Mary Winans. Married (1) Julia De Kay (d. 1850), on January 22, 1820; (2) Elizabeth K. West, in 1854. Four sons and two daughters, including Thomas De Kay Winans, William L. Winans, and Julia Winans Whistler. Died April 11, 1877, in Baltimore, Maryland. Buied, Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

Inventor and mechanic. Served in the Maryland House of Delegates during special sessions held in the City of Frederick in 1861. During this time, federal troops arrested him twice because of his Confederate sympathies.

Winans gained fame during his many years of service with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. "As a member of the firm of Gillingham & Winans, about 1834 he took charge of the Mount Clare shops of the railroad company, devoting the next twenty-five years to the improvement of railroad machinery. He planned the first eight-wheel car ever built for passenger purposes and is credited with the innovation of mountian a car on two four-wheeled trucks."1 His most well know invention was the "camelback" locomotive. Winans retired from the railroad around 1860, and devoted much of his time to other pursuits. He published numerous pamphlets on topics ranging from problems with the Baltimore water supply to religion.

1. Dumas, Malone, ed. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 10 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), 371.

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