Henry Gilbert Ludlow
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

HENRY GILBERT LUDLOW—From his English Ludlow ancestry and from his Scotch Douglas forebears, Henry Gilbert Ludlow inherited that inventive genius, commercial ability, keen business sense and shrewdness that distinguished him and made the inventor of the Ludlow valve one of Troy's most noted mechanical geniuses, and one of the city's most successful manufacturers. The Ludlow valve was a valuable contribution to mechanical inventions, a straight-way stop valve, with sliding gate and separate wedge, useful in regulating the flow of gas, water, steam or oil. This invention made Mr. Ludlow famous in the world of invention, and later, as executive head of the Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company, which he incorporated to manufacture the Ludlow valve, he became widely known as a business man of great ability. He was a man of high character, honorable and upright in all the afifairs of life, quiet and lovable in disposition, always doing good unto others as he had opportunity, his life one of usefulness and blessing. He was long identified with the best interests of Troy and Rensselaer county, his lovevfor his native country increasing with his ability to be of service to her institutions and people.

Henry G. Ludlow descended paternally from ancient and honorable English, and maternally from that most famous of Scottish clans Douglas—his maternal American ancestor being William Douglas, who came from Scotland in early New England days and located in New London, Connecticut. Henry Gilbert Ludlow was a son of Samuel B. Ludlow, a noted lawyer and jurist, who died April 12, 1882, being the oldest graduate of Union College, he having entered that college in 1809, at the age of fourteen. In 1812 he was admitted to the bar, and for a time practiced in Nassau, Rensselaer county. New York. He did not adhere closely to the law in those earlier years, but drifted into journalism and made such an impression that he became the editor of a religious paper published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, called "The Philadelphian." In 1836 he located in Oswego, New York, where he was secretary of the Northwestern Insurance Company. In 1841 he was made judge of the Oswego County Court of Common Pleas, holding until 1847. He was one of the organizers of the Oswego Gas Company, and had other business interests with which he was identified until his passing, April 12, 1882. Judge Ludlow married Nancy Douglas, and they were the parents of Henry Gilbert Ludlow, the principal character of this review.

Henry Gilbert Ludlow was born in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York, March 28, 1823, and died December 26, 1904. He prepared in county schools, then entered Union College, also his father's alma mater, and there was graduated A. B., class of 1843. He was a natural mechanic, and immediately after graduation, sought a place in keeping with his natural tastes and talents. He became interested in the construction of gas plants, and soon after graduation he obtained a position with the gas works then supplying the city of Philadelphia. There he became expert in gas manufacturing from its mechanical side and embarked on a career of gas plant construction. During that period of his life Mr. Ludlow built gas plants at Hartford, and New Haven, Connecticut; Poughkeepsie, New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Oswego, New York; and Burlington, Vermont, being engineer in charge of the erection of each of these plants. Later, the firm, Dungan, Steener & Company, was formed, Mr. Ludlow's ability gaining him equal partnership in that farm and entire responsibility in the erection of gas plants.

Several years were spent in the construction and equipment of gas manufacturing and distributing plants and during those years there was forced upon Mr. Ludlow the conviction that the greatest need of the gas plants was a straight stop valve that would effectively regulate the flow of gas. Finally, he addressed himself to the task of inventing such a valve as he felt was needed and he produced the Ludlow Valve, the principal features of which were a sliding gate with separate wedge, making a perfect straight-way stop valve. This valve known then and since as the Ludlow Valve, named after its inventor, was first and thoroughly tested at the Poughkeepsie Gas Works, and pronounced a perfect regulator of not only gas, but of steam, hot water and oil.

Mr. Ludlow manufactured the Ludlow Valve in a small way in different plants until 1866, when the demand became so heavy that he came to a full realization of the fact that he had given the world an appreciated invention and must prepare himself to supply the demand he had created. In 1866 he formed and incorporated the Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company and began making valves in a plant at Waterford, near Troy, New York. He met the demands for Ludlow valves at the plant in Waterford until 1872, although several increases in the plant were made. In 1872 the plant was removed to Lansingburg, opposite Troy, and there for fourteen years Ludlow valves were made for world consumption. In 1896 the entire plant of the Troy Steel and Iron Company was bought by the Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company, and remodeled to their uses and that has since been the home of the Ludlow Valve. The plant has been added to as the years have increased the popularity of the valve until it is now one of Troy's largest plants. In 1891 Mr. Ludlow retired from the management of the great business he had founded and developed, and others have since been responsible for the manufacture and sale of this child of his brain, the Ludlow Valve.

Mr. Ludlow's name in Troy as a citizen rests upon an equally strong foundation, for he was always solicitous for the welfare of that city and keenly alive to his responsibilities as one of the influential men of that city. He strove to secure to Troy the benefits of good government, although he never personally sought nor held public office. He liberally supported the charities and philanthropies of the city and generously supported every good cause, aided, abetted and encouraged by his wife. He was an elder of the Second Street Presbyterian Church ; a governor of Marshall Infirmary; a trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Troy Orphan Asylum; the Emma Willard School; and the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society. These all benefited greatly by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Ludlow, but he was very liberal in his giving to other Troy institutions. Spotless in reputation, honorable in every transaction, always doing good and striving to be useful, the life of Henry G. Ludlow is one to be admired and emulated.

Mr. Ludlow married Harriet M. Shattuck, of Burlington, Vermont, and to them was born a son, Henry Shattuck Ludlow, president of The Troy Record Company and interested in Troy manufacturing.

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