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date: 23 August 2019

Johnson, Tom Loftinlocked

(18 July 1854–10 April 1911)
  • Jon C. Teaford


Johnson, Tom Loftin (18 July 1854–10 April 1911), street railway magnate and municipal reformer, was born near Georgetown, Kentucky, the son of Albert William Johnson and Helen Loftin. His father was a slaveholding planter who served as a colonel in the Confederate army. Impoverished by the Civil War, in 1868 the family settled outside of Louisville, Kentucky, near supportive friends and relatives. Before Tom was fifteen he secured an office job with a Louisville street railway company that had recently been purchased by close family friends Alfred V. and A. B. du Pont. This was the beginning of Johnson’s long business relationship with members of the wealthy family of explosive manufacturers. In 1873 Tom Johnson became superintendent of the streetcar company after having already patented the first coin fare box for streetcars. During his lifetime, the inventive Johnson was to obtain thirty-one patents....

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