Daniel Pratt

*

1799-1873
Industrialist


By establishing industrial enterprises, including the manufacture of cotton gins and developing the mineral resources of the state, he laid a basis for the industrial growth of Alabama.


Daniel Pratt, Alabama's first industrialist, began his career as a carpenter and in succeeding years he helped Alabama achieve a place in the industrial world. In the process he made an indelible mark for himself in the history of the state.

Pratt had two basic convictions that were to mold the future of the Alabama. He was confident that the agricultural state could support an industrial empire, even though it was far from markets. And, he knew that if the state did not diversify its commerce, it could not survive. Pratt gambled his every resource on the strength of his convictions, not once but many times throughout his life. He split with his partner in the manufacture of cotton gins and brought his share of the material inventory, consisting of parts for fifty gins, to Alabama. As his factory prospered, he added new enterprises: a sawmill; a grist mill; a sash, door and blind factory; an iron foundry; and a woolen mill. He built a railroad, opened a bank and built the blast furnaces at Oxmoor, near Birmingham. He was also a major stockholder in the venture that saw the first successful manufacture of pig iron made with Alabama ore and coke from Alabama coal.

Pratt's establishment of an iron and steel industry, coming as it did in the immediate post-Civil War years, played an important role in the recovery of the state. Two cities bear his name: Prattville, near Montgomery, where he founded his empire, and Pratt City, adjoining Birmingham, which is located near the edge of the state's largest seam of coal, the Pratt Seam, named in his honor shortly after his death.

Elected 1953


Sources:
Alabama Hall of Fame, 1968


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Created: 1/18/96