For more than a century, Peter Cooper (1791-1883)—philanthropist, industrialist and inventor—has watched over the park and school that bear his name. Cooper was a native New Yorker and workingman’s son with less than a year of formal schooling, who became one of the most successful American businessmen of his day. He made his fortune in iron, glue, railroads, real estate and communications. His inventions include the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and Tom Thumb, America’s first functioning steam engine. Cooper also invented Jello—with help from his wife, Sarah, who added fruit to his clarified gelatin.