The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Ellet, Charles, Jr. (1810–1862)

  • Robert B. Ekelund
Reference work entry


American engineer and economic theorist, Ellet was born on 1 January 1810 at Penn’s Manor, Pennsylvania, and died on 21 June 1862, a victim of the Civil War. Ellet grew up on a family farm but showed little inclination for agriculture: at age 17 he joined a surveying crew. With no formal education or training, he soon became an assistant engineer to Benjamin Wright, chief engineer of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. With ability and hard work Ellet taught himself mathematics and French, earning the respect of influential engineers. Letters of introduction to Lafayette and the American ambassador helped secure Ellet a place at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, Dupuit’s alma mater, in 1830. On his return to America in 1832 Ellet became the premier suspension bridge designer in America, building in 1849 the (then) longest suspension bridge in the world across the Ohio River at Wheeling. Colonel Ellet designed, constructed and commanded the ram fleet of the Union forces at the naval battle at Memphis, Tennessee. He died as a result of a wound received in the heat of that battle.


Differential calculus Duopoly Ellet, C., Jr Firm, theory of Market area analysis Monopoly Price discrimination 

JEL Classifications

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  4. Viner, J. 1958. The long view and the short: Studies in economic theory and policy. New York: Glencoe.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Ekelund
    • 1
  1. 1.