Thomas Rogers was born in Groton, Connecticut, in 1792. Before moving to Paterson in 1812, he studied carpentry and blacksmithing. In 1832 he partnered with Morris Ketchum and Jasper Grosvenor to form Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor, building agricultural and textile machinery as well as springs, axles and other small parts for the first railroads of America.
In 1837 Rogers built his first locomotive, Sandusky, which became the first locomotive to operate in Ohio. Not one to just follow what other manufacturers were doing, Rogers implemented new features and innovations in his locomotives that were quickly adopted by other firms. He led Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor until his death in 1856.