Member Biography

Eckley Brinton Coxe 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1881-1882       21 Democrat
1883-1884       21 Democrat

COUNTIES: Luzerne  


06/04/1839 - 05/13/1895

Eckley Brinton Coxe (D21) Luzerne (Part) County 1881-1884

Early Life: 

Eckley Brinton Coxe, born June 4, 1839, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; son of Charles Sidney Coxe and Anna Maria Brinton; University of Pennsylvania, Department of Arts, 1858, Chemistry and Physics degrees; Civil War, staff, Major General George Meade; lecturer; mining engineer; inventor; coal baron, philanthropist; married, Sophia Georgina Fisher, 1869, no children; elected, Democratic, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1881-1884; chairman, Pennsylvania delegation, Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1884; inducted, National Inventors Hall of Fame, 2006; died, May 13, 1895 (age 55 years, 343 days) pneumonia, Drifton, Hazle Township, Luzerne County Pennsylvania; Interment, Saint James Episcopal Churchyard, Drifton, Hazle Township, Luzerne County Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Traveled to Europe, studied 1860 for two years, Ecole des mines, Paris, France and Freiberg Mining Academy, Freiberg, Saxony. Spent an additional two years studying, mines, England, and continental Europe, then returned, United States, 1864. 

A founder, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, mining school, 1865; founded, Institute for Miners and Mechanics, 1879, Freeland, Pennsylvania.

Coal was found on land purchased by grandfather, Tench Coxe; Coxe Brothers and Company mining company, founded, 1865, first mine opened, Drifton, Pennsylvania. By the late 1800s, the company was the largest independent producer of anthracite coal with nearly 4,000 employees, coal shipments more than 1.5 million tons and land assets valued at $10 million. 

Organized, president, Delaware, Susquehanna and Schuykill Railroad, 1890.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

 Member, American Society of Civil Engineers; member, American Philosophical Society; founders, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1880; president, American Institute of Mining Engineers, 1878-1880, vice president, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1880-1881; Lehigh University, board of trustees, 1865-1895. 


Translated, first volume, Julius Weisbach's "Mechanics of Engineering and Construction of Machines" from German to English, 1872.

Eckley B. Coxe. "A Furnace with Automatic Stoker, Travelling Grate and Variable Blast, Intended Especially for Burning Small Anthracite Coals." Transactions of the American Institute of Mining. 1895.

"Mechanics of Engineering: Theoretical Mechanics, with an Introduction to the Calculus", D. Van Nostrand Company, New York, 1889.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Democratic, Pennsylvania State Senate, 21st district, Luzerne (Part) County, 1881-1884, committee assignments, Education, Finance, Library, Mines and Mining and New County and County Seats.    

Chairman, Pennsylvania delegation, Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1884.


Granted over 100 patents, developed a long steel tape for the measurement of land by surveyors and the traveling grate, patented, #510,565, 1893; inducted, National Inventors Hall of Fame, 2006.

His great-great grandfather, Daniel Coxe; grandfather, Tench Coxe; cousin, George B. McClellan, Commanding General, United States Army, 24th Governor New Jersey.

Eckley Miners' Village, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, named for him, 1857 by his father. Since 1970, Eckley, has been owned and operated as a museum by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. 

Eckley Brinton Coxe Hall Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, originally built (1910) as a mining laboratory. Construction, funded by his wife Sophia G. Coxe. Both were major contributors to the university, during the difficult times of the 1890s. The building completed massive renovations in 2004, turned into the Baer International Center, housing the English as a Second Language Department (ESL), Global Union and the Study Abroad offices. 


Cox, Harold "Senate Members "C"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1883). Smull, W.P., (Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 764, 770-772, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 730.

List of National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees - Wikipedia

New York Times May 14, 1895. 102457451.pdf ( 

Eckley Brinton Coxe (1839-1895) - Find a Grave Memorial