Riding the Limiteds' Locomotives by Hill

Riding the Limiteds' Locomotives by Hill

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Riding the Limiteds' Locomotives by Hill
 
Riding The Limiteds Locomotives By Colonel Howard Hill Dust Jacket  Copyright 1972  FIRST Edition 175 Pages
PREFACE
BREATHES there a man with soul so dead that he does not thrill at the sight of a modern steam locomotive at work? Somewhere in the breast of every normal homo sapiens there stretches a cord that vibrates only to the sight and sound of a fine steam locomotive. Even now, with airplanes and motors to bid against it in its own fields of romantic interest, the steam locomotive retains its fascination. There are probably a number of reasons for this. 1 can think of at least two - its unusually demonstative nature, and its extraordinary beauty.
Man has devised no other machine that expresses its feelings so frankly and unmistakably. A locomotive sighs, it pants, it coughs, it barks; it emits impassioned shrieks and mournful toots; it puts forth powerful staccato protests at hauling a heavy load or climbing a steep grade; it purrs ecstatically as it romps along the rails at a mile a minute; it can hiss and throb and snort and tinkle. And, in addition to all these auditory forms of expression, it has its visual signs: its plumes of steam, spelling surplus energy; its belching of black smoke, denoting determination; and its sparks at night, registering passion.
As for its beauty, I confess to a certain reluctance in directing attention to it. "I hope", wrote Elie Faure, the French critic, "that the American engineer will never take note of the beauty of the utilitarian structures that he builds. It could prove his undoing. For when the conception of the beautiful qualifies the conception of the useful, utility misses its mark, and beauty is done for." He is speaking of buildings, but his words apply equally as well to locomotives. The reason they have succeeded in becoming so beautiful is because their designers never thought of them as such. I repeat, the steam locomotive, especially in its latest phases, was beautiful, with a beauty of dignity and power and dash that made an unmistakable appeal.

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