century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

Albert Fink


Centurion, 1881–1897

Born 27 October 1827 in Lauterbach, Hessen, Germany

Died 3 April 1897 in Ossining, New York

Buried Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Proposed by Charles Macdonald and Octave Chanute

Elected 2 April 1881 at age fifty-three

Proposer of:

Supporter of:

Century Memorial

Albert Fink was a leading engineer, and for a long time filled an extremely important position to the railroad world. He had all the advantages of the thoroughness of a German University education, and was trained in practical railroad service in the early history of railroads in this country. He designed, superintended and constructed the first important iron bridges in the country on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio and Norfolk and Petersburg Railroads.

During the war, as chief engineer and superintendent of the Louisville and Nashville Road, he rendered invaluable service to the Government in maintaining the road and repairing the damage occasioned by military operation.

His reports upon all railroad matters were notable for originality and thoroughness, and his publications upon the economics of railroading were invaluable to railroad men. He was a most efficient instrument selected by the presidents of the four great Trunk lines—Vanderbilt, Jewett, Scott and Garrett—in ending disastrous rate wars, and inaugurating a new era in rail way management in this country. For twelve years he was Commissioner of the Trunk Line Association, and although the Interstate Commerce Law, passed in an era of populist agitation, destroyed the system he built up, the wisdom and necessity of it is shown by the efforts to restore it as the only safety for the vast amount of capital invested in railroad securities. Mr. Fink was a man of most pleasing presence and genial disposition, and was respected and admired by all who ever knew him.

Henry E. Howland
1898 Century Association Yearbook