SEAVER, JOHN WRIGHT (8 Jan. 1855-14 Jan. 1911) designer and builder of large industrial and transportation structures, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Daniel M. and Charlotte Ann (Cook) Seaver. Educated in the public schools of Buffalo, New York, he also studied practical mathematics and mechanics with inventor Robert Stevenson. In 1869-80, Seaver was employed by the Shepherd Iron Works, the Howard Iron Works, and the Kellogg Bridge Co. as draftsman and later assistant engineer. Relocating to Pittsburgh in 1880, he worked at the Iron City Bridge Works for 4 years and spent 12 years with Riter-Conley Manufacturing as chief engineer, designing and contracting for a diverse line of industrial installations, including oil refineries and steel plants.
In 1896 he joined Charles H. and Samuel T. Wellman to form the Wellman-Seaver Engineering Company in Cleveland (later Wellman-Seaver-Morgan). The firm became well-known as consulting and contracting engineers, and Seaver achieved a world-wide reputation for his work. Among his accomplishments was the construction of a steel bridge across the Mississippi River—the longest steel bridge in the world at that time. He was the first designer of Gantry cranes and other materials handling and steel manufacturing machinery, compiling the first standard steel railroad bridge specification for major railroad companies.
Seaver married Mary Tassey Patterson 19 Feb. 1891, and they had 4 children, John Tassey, Charlotte deBeaumont, Hugh Davis, and William Patterson. He died at his home in CLEVELAND HTS. and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.