American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed

American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed

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American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Ed
American Locomotives An Engineering History 1830-1880 Revised and Expanded Edition By John H. White Jr.
593 Pages Indexed
Hard Cover with Dust Jacket.  Copyright 1968, 1997

Table of Contents





Part 1 Era of Fundamental Locomotive Design



2. BRITISH IMPORTS           7


Regional Considerations 14

Regional Influences on Design 15

Manufacturing Facilities 16

Production 19

Business Aspects of Locomotive Building 23 Standard Design 25

Export of American Locomotives 27


Wood 30

Copper and Brass 30 Cast Iron 30

Wrought Iron 31 Steel 32


The 4-2-0 33 The 4-4-0 46 The 4-6-0 57 The 2-6-0 62 The 2-8-0 65 The 0-4-0, 0-6-0, and 0-8-0 66


Train Speeds 73

Locomotive Power 74

Annual Mileage 77

Performance Costs 77 Fuel Costs per Mile 77 Labor Costs 79

Repair Costs 79

Lubricating Costs 79

Operating Cost Trends 80

7. FUEL           83

Coal-Burning 86



Boilers 93

Boiler Construction 97

Boiler Tubes 99

Boiler Lagging and Jackets 100 Firebox Construction 102

Coal-Burning Fireboxes 105

Grates 108

Grate Area and Heating Surface 110 Smokeboxes 111

Blast Pipes 111

Variable Exhausts 113

Smokestacks and Spark Arrestors 114

The Bonnet Stack 117

The Centrifugal Stack 120

Perforated Cone Stacks 121

Smokebox Spark Arrestors 123

Feed-Water Pumps 124

Injectors 128

Gauge Glasses and Cocks 132

Steam Gauges 133

Feed-Water Heaters 137

Superheaters 142

Throttles 145

Safety Valves 146

9. RUNNING GEARS            151

Introduction 151

Suspension 151

Springs 156

Frames 158

Bar Frames 159

Riveted Frames 161

Slab-Rail Frames 162

Frame Construction 164

Trucks 167

Iron-Frame Trucks 169

Spread Trucks 172

Safety Trucks 173

Trailing Trucks 175

Driving Wheels and Axles 175

Iron Wheels 176

Cushion Wheels 177

Axles 178

Tires 179

Cast-Iron Tires 181 Steel Tires 182

Locomotive Brakes 184 Rods and Crossheads 184 Rods 184

Crossheads 186

Valve Gears 187

Independent Cutoffs 189 Variable Cutoffs 192 Link Motion 194

Radial Valve Gears 199 Corliss Valve Gears 201

Valves and Valve Ports 202

Valve and Cylinder Lubrication 204 Cylinders 206

Inside Connection 208

Compound Locomotives 209


Cowcatchers 211

Bells and Whistles 212

Headlights 215

Decorative Treatment and Finish 218

Cabs 221

Tenders 223

The Sandbox and Other Traction-Increasers 234


Stourbridge Lion, 1829 239

John Bull, 1831 248

Lancaster, 1834 269

Dunham, ca. 1837 280

Gowan and Marx, 1839 287

Winans' 4-4-0, 1843-49 297

Philadelphia, 1849 302

Copiapo, 1850 311

Four Fast Passenger Locomotives of the Hudson River Railroad 320

Champlain, 1849 322 Croton, 1851 328

Columbia, 1852 337

Superior, 1854 341

Susquehanna, A Winans Camel, 1854 347

Talisman, 1856-57 358

The Tyson Ten Wheeler, 1857 366 Phantom, 1857 383

Southport, 1857 392

The Flexible-Beam-Truck

Locomotive, 1857 396

A Rogers Mogul of 1863 407

The Erie Mogul No. 254, 1865 416

The Rogers 4-4-0, ca. 1865 422

Consolidation, 1866 427

The Baldwin Ten Wheeler, 1870 437

Summary 443


La Junta, a Cuban 4-2-2, 1843 449

The Stretch Planet, a Hinkley 4-4-0, 1845 454

Elephant, 1849: The First in the West 462

Sandusky, a Ten-Wheel Freight Engine, 1851 470

Lady Elgin and Two Lesser Sisters, 1852 476

Lisle, a Hinkley 0-4-0, 1853 483

Storey, a Western Mogul, 1869 486

Perkins Ten Wheeler, 1871 490

Some Four-Wheel Switchers of the 1870's 494

Marmora, an Eddy Clock, 1876 498

Forney Elevated Railway Locomotive, 1885 503




Appendix A: Biographical Sketches of Locomotive Designers

and Builders 537

Appendix B: Contract for the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad's

Experiment, 1831 547

Appendix C: Specification for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's

0-8-0, 1847 549

Appendix D: Specification of New York and Erie Engines,

1851, 551

Appendix E:  Specification for the Western and Atlantic

Railroad's General, Rogers Locomotive Works, December 1855 555

Appendix F:  Parts and Weight List for the Hinkley Locomotive

Work’s 4-4-0, 1865 556

Appendix G: Description of a Standard Grant Locomotive

Works 4-4-0, 1871 565

Appendix H: Chronology of the American Locomotive, 1795-

1875 573




In 1835, there were 175 steam locomotives in service in the United States. By 1900, that number had increased to 37,663. In this newly revised and expanded edition of his classic work, the renowned railroad historian John H. White, Jr., chronicles the explosive growth and development of the steam locomotive in America—from the first British imports to the New York Elevated locomotives of the 1880s—and adds more than ninety new pages of superb illustrations and text.

Beginning with the early era of locomotive design, White describes the background and methods of the first American builders, the special requirements of American railroads, construction materials, locomotive types, performance, and costs. He then turns to the development of individual components: boilers and running gears, headlights and cowcatchers, sandboxes, bells, and whistles. Throughout, remarkably detailed scale drawings—many reproduced from the original working drawings—illustrate design features and modifications.

Although there have been many romanticized treatments of the steam locomotive in America, this is the first comprehensive technical history of the early development of the machine. A major reason for this seemingly inexplicable gap has been the inaccessability of contemporary documents and drawings. Additionally, most of the surviving locomotives have been rebuilt so often that little of the original construction remains. Mr. White's task was therefore formidable, and he spent over seven years gathering information and illustrations for this volume. The result is a definitive reference work that will prove to be indispensable for anyone who wants to study the dimensions and evolution of the American locomotive.
The locomotives exported to this country in the 1830's were sophisticated mechanisms designed for use on carefully engineered and well-constructed railways. Conditions in America, including the shortage of investment capital, demanded a less sophisticated engine of greater power, durability, and stability. In the first part of his work, Mr. White traces the process of modification that produced the American locomotive. Ile is primarily concerned to describe the evolution of successful representative versions of this new type of locomotive, although he does not neglect some novel experiments that "failed" or engines that were developed for special purposes, such as for the coal industry. This general introduction contains material on the background and methods of the first American builders and evaluations of the efficiency of the major design innovations in terms of speed, traction, operating and maintenance costs, etc. Attention is also devoted to such neglected subjects as locomotive decoration and tenders.
Part II covers the evolution of locomotive component parts and their accessories. Each component part is discussed with reference to the various solutions tried by different designers, with the result that the reader receives a composite portrait of a widely scattered and individualistic industry. Wherever possible Mr. White identifies the origins of successful innovations, the most important of which are illustrated with line drawings and black-and-white photographs. Throughout the work, in fact, drawings and photographs are liberally used, and in some cases the author himself has reconstructed scale plans of engines for which no records have survived.
Case studies of over twenty of the more important locomotives of the period comprise Part HI. The author discusses representative locomotives from the early Stourbridge Lion, imported in 1827, to the later Baldwin Ten Wheeler, developed in 1870. Detailed appendices to the main text include biographies of many of the important locomotive designers and builders, examples of contracts and construction specifications, and a chronology of the American locomotive from 1795 to 1875. The volume concludes with an annotated bibliography.
The pioneer period of the American locomotive ended in about 1855. The machine had developed from a squat little boiler-on-wheels in 1830 to an elegant, well-proportioned mechanism. The pattern created by mid-century was so satisfactory that it underwent little change in the following twenty-five years. Much has already been published on this subject, but none of these accounts has, in my opinion, adequately treated the engineering history of the early American locomotive. The limited documentation makes this undertaking no simple task and it is difficult to offer more than conjecture or qualified guesses on many points.
The present study was written for those already acquainted with locomotive history and construction. It is hoped that the specialist will find new insights and materials not readily available elsewhere.  The general reader and those seeking an elementary treatise on the workings of the engine, the properties of steam, or a glossary of terms should consult the numerous books already published on the subject. These are available in most city or university libraries. I would recommend M. N. Forney's Catechism of the Locomotive for a sound introduction to the subject.
I have chosen to confine my remarks to the early period, with 1880 as the cutoff date. The second major phase of locomotive development, 1880-1910, when the machine underwent a dramatic growth in size, must be left for another time or another author. The final or modern era of development has been well covered by Alfred Bruce in his classic work The Steam Locomotive in America.

This book has three major sections. The first deals with the operating conditions that influenced the principal design concepts, the makers of locomotives, and the materials used. Part II covers the development of components. The third section is a series of case histories of representative American locomotives. Emphasis is on standard designs and practice.

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