History General Haupt

Limited edition models of American 19th century locomotives and rolling stock

William Mason, 1808-1883

The Builder

“…melodies cast and wrought in metal” M.N. Forney

William Mason, a long time manufacturer of machinery started his locomotive manufacturing in 1852 at his factory in Taunton, Mass. His first locomotive left the factory in 1853.  Mason started out his locomotive business with the desire to improve the design of the American locomotive. His designs were based on symmetry and simplicity and his locomotives quickly gained a reputation for their beautiful appearance as well as being well made. He made considerable improvements on the American 4-4-0 class and at the end of the 1850s his design had settled to the appearance that it would have for many years to come. One example is S/N 59 the Phantom from 1857 built for the Toledo & Illinois. Mason Machine Works put out its last locomotive 1890 by which time the ingenious Mason was long departed. After that the factory went into slow decline until it finally closed in the 1930s. Apart from the beautiful 4-4-0s the works also made the Mason Boogies of which the ones run by the Denver & South Park are among the most famous.

One of his first 4-4-0 locomotives, the “William Mason” Baltimore & Ohio R.R. no 25 is still preserved and can be seen at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This locomotive built 1856 with S/N 46 has through the years been altered from its as-built original appearance.

The Locomotive

S/N 124 the "General Haupt" outside Alexandria Roundhouse 1863

At the beginning of the American civil war in 1862, US Military Railroad ordered from Mason Machine Works seven standard gauge locomotives all identical except for the liveries. They were all elaborately painted and striped and named after prominent persons involved in the war effort. One of these, S/N 124 was the #72 General Haupt named after the prominent General Herman Haupt who was one of the key individuals in running the railroad operation during the Civil war. It was delivered in January 1863. It survived the war and was spared from taken as loot by the confederates. After the war it was bought 1865 by the B&O.

General Herman Haupt