09 August 2022

Commerford B Martin (1911-1988),
engineer and original designer of
double-decker commuter train cars

Commerford Beckwith Martin (1911-1988) … engineer and the original designer of the double-decker commuter train cars

Patrick Comerford

Commerford Beckwith Martin (1911-1988) a well-known New York-born engineer and was an original designer of the double-decker commuter train cars.

Commerford B Martin was born in New York on 1 November 1911. His father, Thomas Commerford Martin (1856-1924), was an English-born pioneering electrical engineer, writer and journalist who worked closely with Edison and Nikola Tesla. His mother, Carmelita (née Beckwith) (1869-1947), was a writer too and was the co-author with Adele Marie Shaw of The Lady Of The Dynamos (1909).

Commerford B Martin took his first name from his grandmother, Catherine Commerford (1825-1882) , who married Thomas Martin in Thanet, Kent, in 1853.

Commerford B Martin studied engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. As a student, he was an active member of the Beta Chapter of the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity in Cornell University. Kappa Delta Rho (ΚΔΡ), commonly known as KDR, is a college fraternity with 84 chapters, 35 of which are active. These chapters are spread across the US, primarily in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Kappa Delta Rho’s open motto is ‘Honor Super Omnia’ or ‘Honor Above All Things.’

After graduating from Cornell in 1933, Commerford Martin became a well-known engineer, and he was the original designer of the double-decker commuter train cars.

He married Miriam Stearly Carr (1913-1987) on 9 March 1935, a daughter of Ernest Linwood Carr and Gertrude N Carr.

Commerford Martin died on 19 January 1988, aged 76, in Saint Louis, Missouri, and he was buried in the City Cemetery, Saint Louis.

His former fraternity, KDR, honours Commerford Martin with an annual scholarship awarded to KDR members. The Commerford B Martin Engineering Scholarships were endowed by his widow Miriam Martin.

Commerford Beckwith Martin and Miriam Stearly (Carr) were the parents of two sons:

1, Frederick Reynolds Martin (1937-1988) of Jersey City, New Jersey. He was born 18 May 1937 in Philadelphia. He married Kathryn Parry, and he died on 26 August 1988, aged 51 in Hudson, New Jersey. They were the parents of two sons:
1a, James Logan Martin, of Montross, Virginia.
2a, Alan Parry Martin of Norcross, Georgia.
2, Thomas Commerford Martin.

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