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Highway History

Chronology of the Life of Charles Henry Davis

On August 5, 1939, the Bureau of Public Roads Library logged in a copy of the following chronology of the life of Charles Henry Davis. The following reprint includes the original text. No explanation was provided for the gap from 1914 to 1927.

Charles (Henry) Davis

Bass River, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
New York, Philadelphia, Boston

1865    Born May 4, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
1871 Went to France-public and private schools.
1874 Returned to U.S.A.-private schools.
1876 Established his hand printing shop.
1881 Took entrance examinations to University of Pennsylvania, Towne Scientific School.
1882 Entered Columbia University, School of Mines, course of Mining Engineering. Class of '86. Later temporarily left.
1883 Re-entered Columbia. Class of '87.
1885 Changed to course of Civil Engineering.
1887 Graduated as C.E. at head of his class.
1887 Technical course Thomson-Houston Electric Co., factory Lynn, Massachusetts.
1888 Sawyer-Mann Electric Co., N.Y.C., Assistant to President. Manager Sales & Construction Departments. Later same with U.S. Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.
1889 Consulting Engineer, New York, Philadelphia, Boston to 1906 for electric lighting, power and railway plants, buildings, bridges, factories, highways, etc., etc., etc.
1889 To date Trustee various Estates. President, Treasurer, Director many mining, industrial and railway corporations.
1889 First to designate capacity of generators and motors by a heat limit above atmosphere-now universally called for.
1890 Designed first sky-scraper-30 stories, 12 was then the highest.
1891 First suggested double truck trolley street cars reducing operating cost 25%-equal to more than all other reductions combined.
1892 First concealed private electric lighting-residence George F. Baker, N.Y.C.
1892 First concealed public electric lighting-Carnegie Music Hall, N.Y.C.
1892 Built first high-speed cross-country trolley road.
1892 Designed first "panel board" distribution for lighting and power-now used in every installation thruout the world.
1892 First suggested iron pipe conduit interior wiring-now universally used.
1892 Designed saddle making underground trolleys successful.
1897 First suggested tunneling Hudson River.
1897 Designed first "stream line" railroad train-they will now soon displace others.
1887 Designed first electric signals and control for fast trains at close headway-used on N.Y. subway, could not otherwise run as fast and as close as they do.
1898 First to suggest what was to be the "Flivver"-but his people thought this was visionary and would not put up the money.
1902 Operated the only big anthracite coal mine to run thru the great strike from April 1 to October 23. Mother Jones and John Mitchell, the great labor leader of his times, failed to get the Davis miners out.
1905 Designed first fire-proof vertical filing units-now universal.
1911 First suggested NATIONAL HIGHWAYS-Roosevelt's message to Congress, on its opening 1935, advocating their building.
1911 Founded at Columbia University the first School of Highway Engineering raising $50,000 therefor.
1911 Founded "Davis Library of Highway Engineering and Transport." Now the largest of its kind in the world.
1911 To date suggested many of the advances in road building-
  1. Flat Roads
  2. Sea rules for roads
  3. Lighting Signals
  4. Two-ways
  5. Banked Curves
  6. Federal Aid
  7. Highway Road Exhibits
  8. A. Ass. S. Hy. Officials
  9. Mfg. Asso.
  10. U.S. Highways
1914 First color movietones-Broadway Theatre, N.Y.C.
1927 To date has sponsored at Columbia University, New School for Social Research, Long Island College of Medicine and thruout U.S.A. the new science of the mind "Individual Psychology" the laws of which having been discovered by Dr. Alfred Adler, the great physician, diagnostician, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, scientist, educator, philosopher of our times.
1931 Founder and Trustee "World Peace Monument" to be erected along side of the "Peace Portal" built by Samuel Hill in 1921 half in Canadian and half on U.S. soil in the State of Washington and Province of British Columbia overlooking the Pacific Ocean near the head of Peace River.
1931 Founder and Trustee World Unity-One Flag over U.S.A.-British Empire" to bring and maintain world peace.
1934 Founder and Trustee "Co-operative League of America" Road Owners and Wayfarers Department, American Road Builders Association.
1935 Founder and Trustee "Co-operators of America."
1936 Honorary Chairman "Institute of Transport," Washington, D.C. for research extension (planning) exhibition and education in highways, railroads, trolleys, waterways, shipping, telegraph, telephone, wireless radio, television, airways, express, mail, parcel post, etc., etc.
1936 Honorary President Educational Division, American Road Builders Association to which all schools of Highway Engineering (155) in U.S.A. and Canada have "Faculty Members."
1936 Honorary degree "Doctor of Engineering" University of Maryland.
1937 At St. Regis Reservation by the Grand Council at the Camp Fire Meeting, Long House of the Six Nations Iroquois (Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora) was created

Honorary Grand Sachem of the Six Nations Iroquois
"La-chea-ha-no-na" meaning "Watching the Council Fire."
"Gowana Har-Lasa-lones La-ta-le-yos Iroquois Davy" meaning
"Great Peacemaker and Warrior-Iroquois Davy"
Mohawk Chief "La-wa-ya-no-wa-na" meaning "He does enormous things"

Author of more writings on more subjects than most men
President various corporations-Trustee various estates.
Life Member many U.S. and Foreign engineering, technical, social and civic organizations such as:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
National Council for Protection of Roadside Beauty
British-Israel World Federation (Canada) Inc.
English-Speaking Union of the British Empire
The League of Nations Association (U.S.A.)
National Council on Outdoor Recreation
Society of American Military Engineers
Over-Seas League of the British Empire
All Peoples Association of the World
International Flag Day Association
Anglo-Saxon Federation of America
National Pedestrians' Association
Navy League of the United States
British-Israel World Federation
New History Society
Boy Scouts of America
British National Union
Source Research Council
World Conscience Society
International Travel Club
Woodrow Wilson Foundation
American Civic Association
American National Red Cross
Academy of Political Science
Friends of Canterbury Cathedral
The New Commonwealth (Life Founder)
British Empire Union (Life Supporter)
etc., etc., etc.

Founder:

National Highways Association
Individual Psychology Foundation
Davis Library Highway Engineering and Transport
Co-operation League of America
Co-operators of America
World Peace Monument

See:

Who's Who in America
Who's Who in the East
Who's Who in Commerce & Industry
Who's Who in Engineering
Burke's Landed Gentry
American Men of Science
Who's Who Among Association Executives
The National Cyclopedia of American Biography
American Elite & Sociologist
National News Association (in print)

Updated: 10/16/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000