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Creating an Industrial Empire in 19th Century Parallel World

Chapter 10 Axelsen & Nielsen Air Brake Company

Using the money they received from John Morgan, the two immediately set off to build their own company that they believed would propel them up to greater heights.

They set up their company in the city of Columbus in the state of Ohio. The name of their company is Axelsen & Nielsen Air Brake Company. their very first product born out of tragedy. They don't want train accidents like the one they witnessed three months ago.

They hired their first 100 workers, and almost all of them were their co-workers from various jobs in the last five years. Poul and Jonathan found them to be trustworthy and hardworking enough to get a job that pays 3 dollars per day.

In this era, the owners of factories and mines tended to treat their workers poorly. Industrial wages tended to be very low, which meant that only poor people worked there. Some workers were migrants from across the sea. Due to ethnic discrimination, many of these people were denied better-paying jobs. They worked long hours for little pay on the floors of the meatpacking plants and other factories. Industrial workers had no real opportunity to advance. Many of these workers paid exorbitant rent for apartments in the most downtrodden neighborhoods of cities. If they became injured on the job, their employers routinely fired them. The workers did not receive health insurance, worker's compensation, or retirement. If they could not work at the pace set by the employers, the bosses simply replaced the slow workers with younger, more productive ones. Because wages were so low, often entire families worked in factories. With more than one wage earner, a family could meet its basic needs. Not all people could afford land to become farmers, and industrial opportunities provided these people with the means to support themselves.

As time goes by, Poul and Jonathan know that the workers will organize themselves to cope with their circumstances and push reforms to improve their working conditions. Which already happened in some factories. To prevent it from ever happening in their fledgling company, they made a radical decision by implementing a six-day work week, eight hours shift, a standard in the modern era.

In the factory of the Axelsen & Nielsen Air Brake Company, built by Jonathan, overhead cranes with the logo of their company hoisted the very first air brake device and set it down in front of Jonathan.

"So this device stops trains?" one of the workers inquired curiously as he imagined the working process inside his head.

"Yeah," Jonathan simply replied. "Ah…where is Poul? He should be here."

"I'm here!" Poul raised his hand that carried a blueprint as he walked over through the crowd of workers.

"Sir Poul!" The workers cheered their boss's arrival. Most of the workers were Albians, meaning a native of his continent. The rests are migrants and locals.

"I apologize for arriving late. The process of applying for a patent in the United States Patent and Trademark Office took longer than I expected. But anyways, congratulations to us, we officially have a monopoly in air brake systems as well as the draft gear."

Alongside the air brake systems, Poul realized that safety is not only the thing that can be marketed but comfort as well.

Whenever he rode trains, his experiences were not smooth as there was nothing to cushion the pushing, pulling, and stopping force of the train. Passengers would often vomit due to motion sickness, even he, was not spared from that sickness.

"The only thing that we need is a demonstration," Jonathan said as he gave him a high-five.

"We just have to contact John Morgan to ask for an audience with his industrialist friends who own railroad companies, as they were our target," Poul said.

Railroad companies were one of the dominant industries in the late 19th century Avalonia. Not only that, they are the driving force of the economy. Trains are responsible for domestic trades across the country, delivering raw materials, foods, and machinery that helps drive the nation's economy. More importantly, it helps connect people between states. Before the invention of steam locomotives, people wouldn't travel five miles away from their homes, making a state or even the country an insular community. Now, they can hop on trains and set out to a new city or state that they think will bring opportunities for them.

All in all, the railroad industry is a lucrative business. And Poul and Jonathan's company would earn from it with their latest invention. As long as there are trains, they'll earn money. Once they earn enough money, they'll start a new venture, an electric distribution system. No one has yet done to light up the world with bulbs using electricity. Imagine the prospect of them becoming the first with the means to provide and introduce it.

"Then let's schedule a demonstration. You should be the one to demonstrate it, Poul, as you know the technology that I do. I'll stay here and manage our finances. To be honest, we have been losing money ever since we started this company," Jonathan said somberly as he looked down.

Poul laughed and patted him on the back with a force that knocked Jonathan a bit off balance. "Of course, it is to be expected! We don't have any customers yet. But once we get this baby out in the field and see its potential and uses, trust me, orders will fill up faster than we can create one."

"Ahh…fine fine. How many air brakes and draft gears would you need for the demonstration?" Jonathan asked.

"I want you to manufacture eight of them, each. Then I'm going to need twenty workers who have experience working in trains to help me retrofit trains with air brakes and draft gears," Poul answered.

"I'll send you the list of workers later," Jonathan said, writing Poul's orders in his pocketbook. "Anything else?"

"That would be all," Poul stretched his arms. "I'm gonna go upstairs and take a nap. My back hurts after that train ride,"

"Don't forget to contact Mister Morgan. He is our best shot into marketing this creation of yours," Jonathan said.

"It's not my original creation," Poul muttered softly as he stretched his neck and headed upstairs where his personal office is located.

Opening the door in his office, the cramped space welcomed him. The office contained a desk with piles of documents set atop it neatly, a drawer, and a sofa big enough for him to sleep on.

He placed the blueprints inside the drawer and locked it with a key before jumping on the sofa.

Exhaustion and weariness seeped out of his body, making him feel sleepy. His eyelids wanted to close but he remembered Jonathan's words.

"Don't forget to contact Mister Morgan."

Poul jumped out off the sofa and used a telephone that had a design similar to Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. It was quite a straightforward design. A cylindrical tube-shaped earpiece and a microphone for him to speak on. He dialed the number Morgan gave him and waited patiently to get his call.

Three months have passed and he is sure that they have returned from England after checking their daughter up with the best doctor there.

Ten seconds later, Morgan picked up the phone.

"Who is this?"

"Good afternoon, Mister Morgan. This is Poul Nielsen. I'm sure you know me as the one who helped your daughter Fiona during the train accident three months ago."

"Ah…so you really called. The doctor there praised you for performing first-aid on my daughter. Are you sure you are not a doctor," Morgan said in a friendly tone. It seemed as though his prejudices towards him were gone.

"As I said, I'm an engineer. I was just lucky back there. So, the reason I called is that we have a working prototype and we want to demonstrate it. I believe as one of the huge financiers in Avalonia, you have connections with railroad company owners who will be thrilled to see a new braking system that can be fitted on their trains?"

"Yeah, I do. You already have a working prototype huh? Does it have a patent?"

"I just applied for it," Poul answered. "So could you help me?"

"Let me talk to them, Poul. I'll give you a call once they agree," Morgan said.

"I appreciate your generosity, Mister Morgan," Poul smiled. "I believe that's all."

Poul hung up the phone and jumped back to the sofa again.

"Luck has smiled upon us today," Poul giggled and he drifted to sleep.

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