You've probably heard the tale of B&O's Tom Thumb racing a horse, but do you know where the story came from? The 1893 Columbian Exposition was a world’s fair that celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in America. Being the oldest main-line railroad in the country, the Baltimore & Ohio endeavored to create a vast transportation exhibit for the Fair showcasing not only their own early locomotives, but also the pioneer engines of other nations, with America’s railroad industry (and especially the B&O) depicted as the epitome of humankinds’ progress. The creator of this massive exhibit was “Major” Joseph G. Pangborn, the B&O’s assistant general passenger agent. Formerly an advertising agent for the Santa Fe, Pangborn was hired in the 1880s to serve as the B&O’s first public relations director. The consummate showman, Pangborn’s exhibit, entitled “The World’s Rail Way,” went to great lengths to enthrall the public with an oft-romanticized retelling of early railroad history while at the same time fostering the historical culture of the Baltimore & Ohio, which he actively promoted (right or wrong) as “America’s First Railroad.” The show was a detailed history lesson cleverly designed to build up B&O’s corporate culture – and it proved to be a public relations coup at a time when railroads had lost favor with the general public. But unfortunately Pangborn rewrote history to suit his needs. An good example is illustrated with the two replicas here: the famous “race” between the Tom Thumb and a horse drawn rail car. No doubt, there was probably a chance encounter between Cooper’s Engine and a horse drawn rail car during Tom Thumb’s trial run – a tale not recounted until many years after the fact – which Pangborn embellished into a mythical “race” that has since been repeated in hundreds of history books. This operating replica of the Tom Thumb, built in 1926, is based on a wooden model Pangborn created for the 1893 Columbian Exposition.