Robert Seaman Biography, Marriage to Elizabeth Cochran and Death

Robert Livingston Seaman (1822–March 11, 1904) was the husband of investigative journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran (better known as Nellie Bly) an American industrialist. Born in Catskill, Greene County, New York to William and Ellen Seaman, Robert made his fortune in the wholesale grocery business and started the Ironclad Manufacturing Company in 1869, manufacturing train milk cans, riveted boilers, tanks, and “The Most Durable Enameled Kitchen Ware Made.”

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Robert Seaman Biography

Robert Livingston Seaman (1822–March 11, 1904) was the husband of investigative journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran (better known as Nellie Bly) an American industrialist. Born in Catskill, Greene County, New York to William and Ellen Seaman, Robert made his fortune in the wholesale grocery business and started the Ironclad Manufacturing Company in 1869, manufacturing train milk cans, riveted boilers, tanks, and “The Most Durable Enameled Kitchen Ware Made.”

Robert Seaman

Robert Seaman Marriage to Elizabeth Cochran

In March 1895, at a dinner party or on a train, Seaman met journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran[1] and married her on April 5, 1895. An article that announced their marriage called him one of New York’s most carefully dressed men.

The loved ones of Seaman were suspicious, sure for his money she had married him. One magazine even questioned whether it was an example of her “stunt reporting” in which Nellie pretended to be married and then wrote about it.

They lived in his home on West 37th Street in New York City after their marriage. They traveled to Europe in 1896, returning in 1899 to New York to take care of his business problems.

Robert Seaman Death

On 6 February 1904, while crossing a street, Seaman was struck by a horse and a wagon and on 11 March 1904 he died of heart disease caused by his injuries. During his lifetime and for a number of years after his death under the management of his wife, Seaman’s business prospered.

Robert Seaman

At the Pan-American Exhibition in 1901, Iron Clad factories were promoted as “Owned exclusively by Nellie Bly –the only woman in the world to personally manage such large-scale industries.” His wife became the energetic and innovative president of his Iron Clad Manufacturing Company after his death in 1904.

However, subsequently, employee embezzlement destroyed the company. Iron Clad had 1,500 employees at its peak and was able to produce 1,000 barrels of steel daily, but then fraud charges led to bitterly contested bankruptcy proceedings starting in 1911. Eventually, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Company succeeded in debt, and Bly returned to newspaper reporting, covering women’s suffrage events and the wartime Eastern Front of Europe.