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The Mason Machine Works.

The Mason Machine Works was founded in 1842 by William Mason (1808-1883), of Taunton, Massachusetts - engine builder, machinist, and manufacturer of locomotives and cotton machinery. Starting with "Mason's Self-acting Mule" the company would go on to produce cotton machinery, woolen machinery, machinists' tools, blowers, cupola furnaces, gearing, shafting, car wheels made with spokes, and after 1852, locomotives.

Mason wanted to improve the symmetry of the American locomotive. A first engine was turned out in 1853. In 1857 his firm failed but he managed to reopen the plant soon afterwards. The textile business recovered rapidly but the locomotive business was less prosperous. By 1860, he had produced a total of only 100 engines. The figure was doubled by 1865 due to the wartime demand and the pace continued for the next several years.

Mason's innovative locomotive designs quickly drew praise from railroad engineers and operators, and were known to be the easiest engines to repair. His ideas and improvements would later be adopted by other locomotive builders. The company would construct 754 steam locomotives between 1853 and 1889. However, after William Mason's death in 1883, the firm would mostly concentrate on its core business of textile machinery.


Collected Mason Locomotive Photographs.
Images collected from private collections, libraries and historical societies.

Paint Information

The South Park Bogies by David Fletcher.
A summary of the Denver South Park & Pacific Mason Bogies including color illustration of #6 "Ten Mile" as Built. From Narrow Gauge Down Under April 2009.

Reference Data Available Online.

Mason Locomotive Builder List. Records of the Mason Locomotive Works Taunton, Massachussetts. Researched by Michael Havron.

Mason Bogies - Complete Builders List.

Catalog of Mason Cotton Machinery for 1898. Note: Does not include any railroad equipment.
Courtesy Archive.Org

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