Ed. Excerpts from pp. 422 – 424. The text is somewhat blurred – questionable values are marked: (?).  J. McV

 

The President laid before the Board a communication from W. K Huffnagle, Principal Engineer, enclosing the following report of M. Coryell, Assistant Engineer on the Delaware Division, on the performances of the Beaver Meadow Rail Road Company's Locomotive Engine, in which Anthracite coal is used as fuel, viz.


 

                                                                                                Easton, April 28, 1839.

 

"Mr. W. K. HUFFNAGLE, Principal Engineer.

 

"SIR: -- According to a resolution of the Board of Canal commissioners enclosed to me, and your directions, I beg leave to make the following report:

 

"That I went on to the Beaver Meadow Company's Rail Road, and examined the Locomotive Engine called Nonpariel. invented and constructed by Mr. Hopkins Thomas, master machinist, in the Company’s employ, and so highly recommended by the Hon. S. D. Ingham to the Board. The Engine has six wheels of 3 feet 8 inches diameter - 4 of them form a truck, and are placed forward, and are connected by rods 4 feet 8 inches long. The power is applied directly to the back driving wheels by rods 7 feet 5 inches long, and the main driving wheels are connected to the truck wheels by rods 7 feet 1 inch long, which makes them all equivalent to driving wheels.

 

"The connecting rods to the truck wheels, and the main drivers to the truck have socket joints, so that they follow the shortest curves on the road with facility, and retain an even bearing.

 

"The bearing boxes have one inch lateral motion on the axle, and also have a rolling motion that allows the wheels to pass over any irregularities of the rails entirely free from strain. The bore of cylinder is 12 inches diameter, and the stroke 18 inches. The exhaust steam is passed out in to the chimney by 18 inch tubes, 6 inches long, 1/2 inch diameter, so that the air may be entirely expelled from the chimney, and a greater draught created.

 

"The surface of the fire box is 3 feet 4-1/2 inches by 3 feet 9-1/2 inches, and the grate is composed of wrought iron bars 2 inches deep by 5/8 (?) inch thick and 1-1/2 inch apart.

 

"The engine was placed on the road about the 3rd September, 1838, and has made 150 trips, and has undergone scarcely any repair. Her tubes and boiler have suffered no perceptible injury from the fire. They dispense with the ash pan under the grate, but have wings to direct the coals that fall through on to the horsepath and from the rail. So long as they used the ash pan the grates would burn out, sometimes in one trip, but now they last a long time.

 

The engine weighs 28,800 pounds - tender, 7,720 pounds--and the entire cost is $8,575.

 

"PERFORMANCE.

 

"The engine in my presence took a train of 40 empty coal cars, weighing as they were marked 108,665 pounds, and a passenger car of 3,200 pounds, making 111,865 pounds, (independent of engine and tender) from Parryville to the foot of the planes, a distance of twenty miles in 2 hours and 22 minutes, at the rate of about eight miles per hour, passing around a curve of 320 feet radius with ease at the rate of about five miles per hour, and also ascended a grade of 96 feet to the mile at about the same speed, and worked under a pressure never exceeding 108 pounds to the square inch, and the only fuel used was anthracite coal except to raise the steam, when about an armful of wood was used, and as soon as the engine started the coal was thrown on, and in a very few minutes it was all ignited.

 

"At the foot of the planes the engine went  round a curve of 190 feet radius; the motion was not rapid, and there was but little friction an the flanges of the wheels.

 

"The engine remained there about two hours and blew off steam constantly, then took a train of forty cars loaded with coal, (her usual load) down to Parryville in 2-1/2 hours.

                        40 empty cars weigh,                                                 108,665   lbs.

                        Pleasure car,                                                                   3,200

                        40 cars, each carrying 6,110 lbs. of coal,                   244,400

                        Engine,                                                                         28,700

                        Tender,                                                                            7720

                        Equal to 196 tons,                                                      392,785   lbs. gross

 

The engine drew this enormous load around a curve of 390 feet radius, and only 4 feet descent to the mile.

 

"There is no difficulty in keeping up a good supply of steam with anthracite coal; the coal is spread evenly over the grate about six inches deep; the fireman watches it very closely, and whenever he perceives a thin place, as be expresses it, he immediately fills it up, and keeps a regular and even surface.

 

"A very wrong opinion is entertained of the anthracite coal generally. It is supposed that there must be a large quantity of coal to give out sufficient heat, and when once ignited must last a long time without any attention; experience proves that it must have constant attention, and be in thin layers, then the air passes freely through, but when the depth of coal is great it cannot.

 

"Perhaps it would not be irrelevant to mention a very valuable improvement on the car wheels made and patented by Mr. H. Thomas, of chill casting the hubs, and making them solid. This method finishes and completes the wheels, and does away the necessity of boring, banding and wedging, as formerly done. The saving 1 am informed is $8.90 (?) for each set of (4) wheels, and they resist the wear and tear much longer, and are not so liable to become loose as the other method.

 

"My time being very much required on the Delaware Division at present, I did not go into detail, and am aware have not done justice to the engine; but, if the Board require it, I can furnish them with a complete drawing of the engine, give her traction, quantity of coal used, and a profile of the grades and curves of the road: As Mr. Thomas and Mr. Van Cleve, agent for the company, to whom I am much indebted already for information, will give me every facility, and aid me is my researches.

 

                        "I remain with respect, &c.

                                                     "Your obedient servant,

                                                                        "MARTIN CORYELL,

                                                                         "Assistant Engineer Del. Div. Penn. Canal.'

 

Which was read and referred to the superintendent or Motive Power on the Columbia rail road, with directions to make an arrangement with the Beaver Meadow company to place one of these engines on the Columbia rail road, at their own expense is case of failure.

 

 

Return to the Hopkin Thomas, Master Mechanic Page

 

About The Hopkin Thomas Project

 

 

Rev. November 2011