peter cooper was an inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist who believed that the wealthy have a duty to help society. before the age of 30, cooper made his fortune with a glue factory. about 1828, he built an ironworks in baltimore and began a second career in the iron industry. during his life, cooper produced many inventions, including a steam-powered locomotive and flavored gelatin, and he supported the development of the new telegraph network. he also helped to secure public education and improve sanitation in new york city. in 1859, he founded the cooper union, a university that gives all its students a free education.