Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story

Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story tells the story of Peter Cooper, one of the greatest leaders of the first generation of America’s industrial revolution — a self-made man who also became a great philanthropist, a social visionary and a popular hero.

He helped shape America in its transition from an agrarian to an industrial, then a consumer-oriented society, from an uncertain nation to one that was rich, strong, and confident.

His numerous innovations and public activities both reflected the changing American social order and transformed it in fundamental ways. When his business success brought him wealth and power, he used his position to foster economic and social justice.

Production Credits
  • Janet Gardner — Producer/Director/Writer
  • Elena Mannes — Writer/Consulting Producer
  • Kevin Cloutier — Director of Photography
  • Jessica Weiner — Editor/Coordinating Producer
  • Keith Yeager, Zelda Fazaeli Yanovich, Danielle Regis, Mitsuko Brooks — Associate Producers
  • C. David Thomas — Graphic Artist


  • Dr. Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
  • John Steele Gordon, Author/Business Historian
  • Dr. Peter Buckley, The Cooper Union
  • Dr. Barbara Balliet, Rutgers University
This film was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council For The Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this film do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


Click an image below to view its pdf in a new window.

The New York Times, The Week Ahead Dec. 26 - Jan. 1, Television, By Gina Bellafante, December 26, 2010
The Wall Street Journal - Repertory Film: "Masters of the Cinema Universe," By Steve Dollar, December 16, 2010
Newsday, Review: "Inventive life of a 'Mechanic to Millionaire',” By Verne Gay, December 23, 2010
Film Threat, "Mechanic to Millionaire: The Peter Cooper Story," By Phil Hall, November 27, 2010
Dayton Daily News: Former Local Filmmaker Gives Visionary His Due
The Cartwheel Blog, January 3, 2011, Peter Cooper: The coolest entrepreneur of all time

Photo Gallery

Click on photos to enlarge and view captions

Purchase and Streaming Options