Development of the Locomotive Engine

Angus Sinclair

Sinclair Publishing Co., New York, 1907.


Angus Sinclair


Angus Sinclair was the publisher of the periodical Railway and Locomotive Engineering – A Practical Journal of Railway Motive Power and Rolling Stock.  Sinclair later published his book,  Development of the Locomotive Engine which was a compilation of many articles printed in the periodical. The full text of that book is available here in pdf form, courtesy of Google Books. An annotated version of Sinclair’s book was prepared by John H. White, Jr. and published by the M.I.T. press in 1970. The following are excerpts from these related sources.


Locomotive Builders

The Philadelphia & Reading R.R. - Burning Anthracite Coal

The Lehigh Valley Railroad

The Beaver Meadow Railroad

The Hazleton Railroad

Locomotive Boilers

Garett & Eastwick/Beaver Meadow R.R.




From J. White’s Version:


About Angus Sinclair and Locomotive Engineering


Sinclair was born in Forfar, Scotland in 1841. As first son of a railway section foreman, it was natural that he sought employment on the Scottish Northeastern Railway. He first became a telegrapher, then on reaching manhood took to the footplate as an engine driver. A brief period with the British Customs Service prompted him to seek adventure abroad. He went to sea as a marine engineer, but returned to his first love, locomotive running, settling in the United States. After working a time on the Erie Railway, he went to Iowa to operate locomotives on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad. Bright and verbal, Sinclair grew weary of the limited prospect locomotive running offered. He took a night course in chemistry, was promoted to roundhouse foreman and 'chemist' for the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern. An interest in fuel economy and smoke prevention, supported by years of experience in engine running and the newly acquired smattering of chemistry, led him to write for several trade papers. These writings came to the attention of the editors of the American Machinist. The classic American success story followed. Sinclair was invited to New York in 1883 to join the American Machinist staff. At forty‑two, most men's working lives are fixed toward some foreseeable end, but Sinclair was entering a new career. He was a natural journalist blessed with a clear, engaging style. This gift together with his practical mechanics background insured a receptive audience with the shop‑oriented engineers of the day. While still working for the Machinist he completed his first book, Locomotive Running and Management ( 1885). A simple textbook aimed at the plain mechanic, it became an immensely popular work that went through twenty‑six editions.


Sinclair's employer decided a specialty magazine on locomotives was required. Locomotive Engineering was established in 1887 with Sinclair as assistant editor. His position within the profession was further strengthened during the same year by his appointment as Secretary of the American Railway Master Mechanics Association. He held this position until 1896. Four years later he was made treasurer of the association and continued in this office until his death. His close ties with the association's membership introduced him to every prominent locomotive builder and designer in the country.


In 1892 the managing editor of Locomotive Engineering joined Sinclair in buying the paper from American Machinist Sinclair became sole proprietor five years later. He found time after his editorial labors to produce several additional books: Combustion in Locomotive Fireboxes, Railway Man's Catechism, Twentieth Century Locomotives and of course Development of the Locomotive Engine. His contributions to railway literature were rewarded in 19()8 by an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Purdue University. His productive pen slowed during the last years of his life, though he enjoyed the novelty of seeing one of his texts translated into Chinese. Death came in New York City on January 1,1919.


Sinclair's interest in locomotive history was undoubtedly stimulated by his association with many early locomotive engineers and builders who lived into the 1890's. Sinclair met these men at the meetings of the Master Mechanics organization and through the columns of Locomotive Engineering. Here were the men who built and operated the first American locomotives, developed these small, elementary seven‑ton machines into thundering giants twenty times that weight. They worked in smoke-darkened shops with the great and near great creators of steam. Now approaching the end of life, many were given to recollection. But as mechanics they rarely put their thoughts on paper—this indulgence is left largely to retired politicians and generals. Sinclair did interview many of these pioneers, and an occasional letter would bring forth a nostalgic note from another railway ancient. Over the years an accumulation of articles and sketches, together with obituaries of passing pioneers, suggested a drawing together of all this information for a book. This was the announced basis of the book, but Sinclair also borrowed heavily from previous treatises on the locomotive engine. The works of Colburn, Holley, Clark, and others were scoured. Contributors were invited to produce several of the more technical chapters. The result was thirty‑three chapters and over six hundred pages of text and illustrations.



Americans Built Their Own Locomotives When Possible.

From J. White’s Version, p. 227


Very reliable evidence of the rapid progress in locomotive building in the United States is preserved. In 1838 an investigation was made by the United States Government into the number of steam boilers in use in connection with steamboats, locomotives and stationary engines, with the names of the makers, the time the boilers had been in service and other facts. This report gave particulars of 1,860 stationary engines, 807 steamboat engines and 345 locomotives. The locomotives were at work on fifty-six different railroads.


The report gives curious evidence of the numerous parties who had been smitten by the locomotive building infection. There had been 271 locomotives produced by American builders and 74 were built abroad.


This was surprising, considering that the report was made only eight years after the first locomotive had been turned out of an American workshop. The locomotives were built by the following firms:


American Locomotive Builders.




Boyden, S


Burr & Co


Davis & Gartner


Dunham & Co


Eason & Dotterer


Garrett & Eastwick


Gillingham & Winans


Locks and Canals


McClurg, Wade & Co


McLeish & Smith


Milldam Foundry Company


Newcastle Manufacturing Company




Otis, W. S




Rockwell, Hicks & Co


Sellers & Son


Smith & Co


Stevens, R. L


Sumner, Graves & Day


Walchman & Bratt


West Point Foundry Company





Foreign Locomotive Builders.


Braitwaite & CO.


Bury & CO.


English, makers unknown




Hicks & CO


Stephenson & Co


Tayleur, C., & Co


Young & Co





Some of these locomotives were built by railroad companies, but the collectors of the data put the names of those who had supervised the construction of the engines. R. L. Stevens, for instance, is representing the Camden & Amboy; Davis & Gartner the Baltimore & Ohio, and so on. Some makers have been omitted, such as the West Point Foundry, but there is no doubt that the report is substantially correct, for it bears the marks of painstaking accuracy.



Reading's Mark on the Locomotive

The Philadelphia & Reading.

From J. White’s Version, p. 280-290


The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad was one of the pioneers, having been chartered in 1833, and all through its history the various managements have displayed intelligent enterprise in the development of railroad motive power. The original charter gave authority to construct a line of 58 miles from Philadelphia to Reading and to extend towards Pottsville, provided the Board of Managers deemed such extension advisable. The company now operates 1,470 miles of track and has about 940 locomotives and 40,500 cars.


That long mileage is more concentrated than that of any other railroad on the American continent, twisting and turning in all directions, with Reading as a center. Its trackage touches all the coal lands in Pennsylvania and in no part does the distance much exceed one hundred miles from Reading.


No railroad ever was constructed with better prospects of a lucrative business than the Reading, but from a variety of causes the work proceeded slowly and it was five years after the charter was granted before any part was in operation. The road was finished to Reading in 1842.


Several railroads have trackage in the anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania and do a good business in handling that kind of coal, but the Philadelphia & Reading is par excellence the anthracite  coal road and it was for the purpose of developing the anthracite coal measures that the line was projected.


Burning Anthracite Coal.


As anthracite coal had the characteristics of an ideal fuel for locomotives, being cheap in the Atlantic Seaboard States, and free from smoke, there were naturally attempts made from the inception of railroads to utilize it. Yet twenty years after the first locomotive had been operated in the United States, wood was the fuel used by locomotives even when their principal work was hauling anthracite to market.


The Baltimore & Ohio had used anthracite to some extent with success in their locomotives with vertical boilers and forced draft. In fact, one of the early prejudices held by the public against railroads was based on the fear that they might poison the atmosphere by clouds of smoke. Peter Cooper used anthracite for fuel in the small engine Tom Thumb, which !he had built for the Baltimore & Ohio. It had been used on the Beaver Meadow Railroad and other short lines in Pennsylvania, but very little success had been achieved with it on engines doing hard, continuous work. Early experimenters with coal burning locomotives moved on the theory that concentration was necessary to maintain a very hot fire, and their tendency was to provide limited grate area. It took long years of failure to convince the men in charge of American railroad motive power that anthracite, being a slow burning coal, needed a much larger grate surface than wood or bituminous coal to produce an equal amount of heat.


The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad was the principal anthracite coal carrying line in 1850, but at that time nearly all Its locomotives burned wood. Various attempts had been made to burn anthracite but success was attained very slowly. The company had commenced operating with small four wheel Braithwaite engines, somewhat like the Camden & Amboy's John Bull, that had unusually small fire boxes, entirely unsuitable for the combustion of anthracite. For several years all the new engines put upon the road suffered from the defect of small fire boxes.


Gowan & Marx Class.


Although success in burning anthracite in locomotive fire boxes was slow in coming, the management of the Philadelphia & Reading acknowledged the importance of the matter, and as early as 1839 they contracted with Eastwick & Harrison for a locomotive that would burn anthracite coal. The engine built on this contract was the Gowan & Marx. The boiler of this engine was of the Bury type, and the fire box had then the unprecedented length of five feet outside. There was about 10 square feet of grate area, which was then considered very large, but it was not sufficient to generate all the steam needed when burning anthracite. The engine was four wheel connected and proved very powerful for its dimensions, which were cylinders 12.5 x 18 inches, driving wheel 42 inches diameter.


The engine hauled a train 40 times its own weight from Reading to Philadelphia over a level track, and that performance made it famous all over the world. Ten more of the same kind of engine were immediately built for the Philadelphia & Reading, but they had not been long at work when we find that the company were experimenting with engines having larger grate area. By that time the engineering world was beginning to realize that., with its slow combustion, anthracite required a furnace with abnormally large grate area.


Curious Anthracite Burning Locomotive.


In 1846 the operating of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad was in charge of G. A. Nichols, a civil engineer, who held advanced views concerning the proper means for burning anthracite. He patented a peculiar form of locomotive to embrace his ideas of an anthracite burning engine. Working out of the details was done by Lewis Kirk. Up to that time the only locomotives burning anthracite successfully had unusually large grates and forced draft. Nichols, thinking that the boiler connecting with the frame carrying the power transmitting machinery of a locomotive could not be made sufficiently large, designed a boiler to be carried upon a carriage separate from the engine. The locomotive was called the Novelty, and justified the name. The boiler like part of the engine was a steam reservoir which received the steam from the boiler proper through a jointed pipe. The cylinders exhausted the steam into a condenser and drove a, blower discharging into the ash pan. The boiler was of the return tubular form and had a large fire box with 36 square feet of grate area. The total heating surface was 1,085 square feet. The engine was a failure principally for want of the necessary adhesion, but the boiler details were badly worked out, for the fire could not be replenished while the draft fan was working, and it was necessary to stop to fire between stations. There have been few such glaring mistakes made in locomotive designing. Although the novelty was a failure it represented a most courageous attempt to reach a desired end.


Nichols’ Novelty Engine



Winans Designs an Anthracite Burning Locomotive.


This enterprising attempt of the Philadelphia & Reading to produce a special form of anthracite burning locomotive stirred up the emulation of Ross Winans, and he immediately built four anthracite burning engines to compete with the :Novelty. His engines, which were modified camels, had long overhanging fire boxes and they were not allowed to run on account of the excessive weight on the back wheels. Winans then applied a pair of pony wheels under the foot plate and the engines were accepted. They burned anthracite better than any locomotives previously tried and were really the pioneer heavy anthracite burning locomotives to do the work of train hauling regularly, the large grate, having 17.68 square feet area, being their principal merit.


Winans’ Firebox


Civil Engineer Employed to Advise on Burning Anthracite.


The management of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad were not entirely satisfied with Winans' design of anthracite burning locomotives, for we find that in 1849 George W. Whistler, Jr., a civil engineer of some repute, was employed by the president to investigate the question of anthracite burning locomotives. The report submitted was devoted principally to recounting the difficulties experienced in burning anthracite. In some respects his report bears a strong resemblance to others submitted years afterwards to the Railway Master Mechanics' Association by committees. Mr. Whistler reported that it was found anthracite made such a hot fire that it soon burned out the side sheets of the iron fire boxes. The iron not being free from seams, laminated and blistered so readily, that much expense was entailed. No remedy was suggested, but the company was advised to persist in the practice of using the fuel it was so much interested in carrying.


The employing of Mr. Whistler to report on anthracite coal burning was an act which testified to the influence of the civil engineer in those days. There was a strong tendency to place the knowledge of the man, whose principal experience had been the building of railroads and the digging of canals, above that of the mechanic who had designed, built and operated locomotives, even when it related to purely mechanical matters. The civil engineer's calling was old and that of the mechanical engineer scarcely recognized, so it was natural that the representatives of capital should show deference to the views of the civil engineer.


James Millholland.


At the time Whistler made his investigations, a master mind had been put in charge of the mechanical department of the Philadelphia & Reading, although his powers were not yet recognized. This was James Millholland, a master among the pioneer mechanics, whose labors have put an indelible mark upon the development of the .American locomotive.


James Millholland was born at Baltimore, in 1812, and had time to learn the machinist trade, and held the reputation of being a remarkable bright boy and an ingenious mechanic, when Peter Cooper, in 1830, was building his Tom Thumb locomotive. Millholland worked on that tiny engine, and he no doubt acquired a strong liking for railroad motive power, since he devoted his life to that line of work, at a time when working on railroad machinery had not become popular. He had no more than attained his majority when he was appointed master mechanic of the Baltimore & Susquehanna Railroad, at that time one of the most important railroads in the world. His success was so marked that in 1848 he was appointed master of machinery of the Philadelphia & Reading, with charge of all rolling stock. The road was then ten years in operation, having been constructed in a most substantial manner, with rails 45-1/8 pounds to the yard, and a most substantial roadbed, at a cost of $180,000 per mile. In spite of that enormous first cost, the road was doing a profitable business in 1850, for it was then carrying the heaviest traffic of any railroad in the country.

James Millholland


The engineering resourcefulness of Millholland may be judged from the fact that when he had charge of the machinery of the Baltimore & Susquehanna Railroad he resorted to the use of cast iron for cranks of inside connected engines. It was so difficult to make a good forging of a crank with the inferior tools used that breakages were of frequent occurrence, so he tried the weaker but sound material and it did not break.



Difficulties Millholland Overcame.


When Millholland took charge the rolling stock was in a decidedly unsatisfactory condition, particularly the motive power. He proceeded to carry out the necessary improvements, almost the whole of the required changes having been evolved from his own head. There was little experience of others to draw from, so he was forced to depend upon his own resources to produce the designs best adapted for the work to be done. His controlling idea seemed in the first place to be the production of a locomotive to burn anthracite satisfactorily and then to design an engine capable of hauling a heavier train than anything tried up to that time. He succeeded in both of these aims, but success was achieved over some serious failures.

 Miliholland's Philadelphia


Almost the first question put before Millholland was settling the fate of Nichols' Novelty. After making some tests with it he finally decided that the only purpose the engine could be used for to advantage was passing through the scrap heap, and this was done.


The first locomotive built by Millholland, about 1849, was the Philadelphia, a six wheel connected engine without a truck, in which no attempt was made to break away from the beaten path of early locomotive designing. His guiding idea was to produce a locomotive that would haul a heavy train of cars on a crooked track without undue resistance or injury to the track.


To attain these ends he placed the wheels as closely together as possible. The cylinders were secured outside of the smoke box and transmitted the power to the back pair of drivers, an arrangement that induced so much oscillation that the engine furnished good object lessons on defects to be remedied.


The fire box was the Bury style, which had been fairly satisfactory in the Gowan and Marx, the most successful of the first freight engines on the road; but it did not permit of more than 10 or 11 square feet of grate area, and hence was not well adapted to the combustion of anthracite. After obtaining experience with the Philadelphia new and original types were worked out.


Finding Out Fittest Forms.


Before building any more new locomotives, Millholland made a variety of experiments with old ones to find means of burning anthracite successfully. He rebuilt a Baldwin eight wheeler, the Warrior, and made radical changes upon the fire box. The furnace was kept within the frame line until it reached the back of the hind drivers, when it was spread, reaching about five inches beyond the rail on each side. There was a grate door in rear of the fire box resting upon the grates, and it carried two doors to fire through. This was the first locomotive ever built with the fire box extending outside of the driving wheels and was the forerunner of the Colburn, the Wootten and others. Many fire boxes of this type were afterwards applied to Belgian locomotives, and some of them may be seen at work today.


Milholland's wide fire box engine burned anthracite more successfully than anything previously tried.


Some of Millholland's Mistakes.


The stationary boiler and marine practice of the time led Millholland to believe that a long flame passage was necessary to effect combustion in a locomotive furnace, and he worked very persistently with various forms of combustion chambers until he finally became convinced that they were actually prejudicial to the efficiency of the boiler. One of his first attempts was to produce an anthracite burning fire box that would not damage the side sheets, and with this object in view he patterned in 1852 a boiler, the special features of which were the use of dust plates contracting the area, of grates for the purpose of preventing the overheating of the side sheets of the fire box, and the putting in of an intermediate or mixing chamber, into which the products of combustion passed from the fire box between water tables or vertical water spaces, and from which after mixing with fresh air admitted through small holes, they passed through large tubes to a second combustion chamber and thence into the smoke box.


Misleading Scientists.


The scientific engineering world was at that time very learnedly discussing the admixture of gases requisite to effect proper combustion of the fuel. Every engineering treatise of the time was loaded down with detailed directions for burning coal according to the most approved rules, and one injunction never neglected was, provide for a liberal supply of oxygen. This, no doubt, induced Millholland to provide for the admission of too much cold air.


The Lehigh Valley Railroad and Its Motive Power

From J. White’s Version, p. 311-325


Stupendous Undertaking.


When Hannibal undertook to cross the Alps with a great army, he entered upon an achievement in travel of unparalleled difficulty. If the great Carthaginian general had advisers they doubtless did their best to deter their chief from his purpose, and the lower elements of the army, who had not reached the dignity of being advisers, no doubt sneered at and criticized the enterprise, which they felt certain would end in disaster. Such is the reception given to all uncommon projects.


Early in the year 1852 a group of enterprising men entered upon the work of constructing a railroad through the Alps of America, from Mauch Chunk to Easton, Pa., an undertaking much more formidable than the work of transporting 100,000 soldiers over the Italian Alps. The railroad project was embarked in for the purpose of gathering some of the natural riches of the Lehigh Valley, but the ambition of the promoters received scant sympathy and small financial support. Building railroads through mountain obstacles had not yet become popular. A recent writer recalling the discouragement that depressed this enterprise, says:


Genesis of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


"The early days of the Lehigh Valley Railroad were days of tribulation. There was lack of encouragement and lack of financial help. Skepticism of the feasibility of the project ruled in Lehigh Valley communities, and both skepticism and ridicule were meted out to its projectors by outside critics. Expressions of good will and wishes for success were not entirely absent, but the helping hand was withheld."


The original preliminary survey of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad, under which name the Lehigh Valley Railroad was incorporated in 1846, was made by Roswell B. Mason for a number of citizens living in New Jersey. There was a vague idea among them that the railroad would be used to convey coal and merchandise to the four rivers named in the charter for transport to the ocean, thence to the world of commerce. When, however, the incorporators came to investigate the character of the country to be traversed by their railroad, they lost courage, and the scheme was abandoned and lay dormant for several years.


In 1852 the charter was secured by Asa Packer, who had an unwavering faith in the resources of the Lehigh Valley, with the inflexible determination to utilize them. His foresight and faith in the enterprise in the face of difficulties that would have appalled most men, were backed by splendid courage and a tireless energy, which won victory for him and the faithful band of brave spirits who cooperated with him. The name of the road was changed by act of legislature in 1853 to the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


Asa Packer and the Chief Engineer Robert H. Sayre were the active powers of the road. Upon their shoulders rested the responsibility and work. The two represented the functions of all the departments that make up a railway organization of today; the one, the executive and financing departments, the other, the construction and operating departments. The little as well as the big things demanded their personal attention, exacting of them eternal vigilance.


Mauch Chunk Inclined Plane.


New England is proud to claim the honor of having had within its borders the first railroad in America to carry wheeled vehicles. Pennsylvania comes next with its famous gravity railroad, opened in I827, from the Lehigh River to Mount Pisgah, a peak of 1,500 feet above sea level, in the heart of a rich anthracite region. This inclined plane railroad was built for the transportation of coal to the river. It is now operated as a scenic railroad and draws multitudes of visitors every summer.


When we come to regard its oldest member as an integral part of a consolidated railroad system we have to credit the short, tortuous, inclined plane of Mauch Chunk as being the most ancient part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


Beaver Meadow Railroad.


Another possession of ancient origin was the Beaver Meadow Railroad, which was projected in 1830 and put in operation in 1836. That was a famous little railroad in its day. Its purpose was to transport anthracite coal from the mines near Beaver Meadow in the Mauch Chunk region for shipment on the Lehigh Canal. Its location was through a remarkably rugged mountain district, where it wound by steep hillsides, over torrential streams, through swamps and forests by a route that involved the greatest difficulties of construction then encountered in railroad building. Although there was no direct connection between the undertakings the construction of the Beaver Meadow Railroad was a fitting introduction to the building of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


The Beaver Meadow Railroad was as famous for different locomotives it possessed, as was the Lehigh Valley for the novel forms its people produced, in developing locomotives adapted, to hauling heavy loads over steep grades.


The first locomotive that belonged to the Beaver Meadow Railroad was called the Samuel D. Ingham, after the president of the company, and was notable among the railroad motive power of that time. It was built by Garrett & Eastwick, of Philadelphia, was of the eight-wheel type, had a peculiar valve motion designed by Andrew M. Eastwick, reversing being done by a block sliding on the valve seats, and it was the first locomotive in Pennsylvania to be provided with a cab for sheltering the engine crew.


Extension and Consolidation.


The first section of the Lehigh Valley Railroad was no sooner opened than the company was flooded with business far beyond the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. At the head of the company were men of a pushing, enterprising character, who perceived the golden opportunities that their inroad into virgin territory had brought forth and they proceeded to make the best of them. A policy of extension and consolidation was adopted, and the management proceeded gradually to the absorbing of fragmentary roads calculated to be worked up into a great trunk line.


In l864 the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company absorbed the Beaver Meadow Railroad, an important move, for it took away a competitor and secured a valuable feeder from the richest anthracite regions. A few months later a consolidation was effected with the Penn Haven and White Haven Railroad. In 1866 another consolidation was effected, and the Lehigh and Mahanoy Railroad became part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. This consolidation gave the name to the type of eight-wheel connected and leading pony truck locomotive designed by Alexander Mitchell and built that year. At the same time was purchased the North Branch Canal, extending from Wilkes‑ Barre to New York State line, a distance of 105 miles, with the privilege of laying a track the whole distance. Other consolidation and absorptions followed, and now the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company operates about 1,400 miles of track, with about 80 locomotives and 40,000 cars.


Grice and Long Locomotives.


The principal freight handled by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company has always been coal and other minerals. The mechanical officials from the first displayed a leaning toward heavy motive power that would handle economically heavy freight over the steep grades. Before discussing particulars of their progress in this line, I wish to allude to a peculiar type of mine locomotives used on some of the branches. The figure below illustrates one of these Grice and Long locomotives, which was at work at Packer No. 4 Colliery at late as 1901.


Grice and Long Mining Locomotives


This was a four-wheeled locomotive, with built up frame. The boiler, which is of the internally fired, return tubular type, is placed over the front pair of wheels. The cylinders, which are placed nearly vertical over rear axle, are in the rear of the boiler. The connecting rods drive a cranked shaft on which a gear is placed. This gear in turn drives a pinion on rear axle. The wheels are inside the frame, and axles are cranked for parallel rods. Only the rear pair of wheels are equipped with springs. Shifting or so-called Stephenson link motion was used, and the lost motion in parallel rods was taken up on one end by taper key, on the other by a set bolt lock nut.


In spite of very persistent search, I have been unable to find out who designed these extraordinary locomotives, but it certainly was a man with some engineering ideas, the leanings being towards marine practice. They were evidently patterned somewhat after the Baltimore and Ohio Grasshopper engines, being made so short and compact that they would go round any curve, but the boiler was of a decidedly better form and the engine was likely to do its work on less steam, while it was very convenient for repairing.


Early Four Cylinder Engines.


Among curious locomotives possessed by the Lehigh Valley were two called the "Defiance" and the "Champion," built by the Niles Locomotive Works of Cincinnati, and purchased by the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company in 1857. They were designed for service on an inclined plane and had cog gearing for working on a rack rail. There were four cylinders, two inside and two outside, had four pairs of driving wheels connected outside, but no truck. They were equipped with the Walschaerts valve motion, or a radial motion of a similar kind, which was used all the time the engines were kept in service, probably twenty years. The engines were bought in Cincinnati at sheriff's sale, and were taken by river and canal to Penn Haven, thence to Weatherly by rail.


This information came to me from Alexander Mitchell, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., who was long an official of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and put a permanent imprint upon the motive power of the world.


The first passenger engines belonging to the Lehigh Valley from 1855-1859 were wood burners; all freight engines burned coal. Wood burning locomotives were in use on that system as late as 1869, a curious practice to exist on a strictly coal carrying railroad.


In 1856 three engines with Phleger patent boilers and Norris cut-off valve motion were purchased of Norris & Son, of Philadelphia. As an evidence of the satisfactory performance of these engines a record of tonnage hauled is taken from the president's report for the year ending January, 1858: "During the six months from April to September, inclusive, the engine 'Catasauqua' ran 11,236 miles, and hauled 11,231 loaded and 11,246 empty cars of 5 tons each. In the month of July the engine 'Lehigh' made 26 round trips with an average load of 535 tons of coal per day." It is interesting to compare the performance of these engines with the present rating of freight engines over this same division.


The "Catasauqua" and the "Lehigh" were six-wheel connected drivers with a four-wheel leading truck and weight about 46,000 pounds.


Company Builds Their Own Locomotives.


In 1867 the Lehigh Valley Railroad began the practice of building their own locomotives as far as their shop facilities would permit. Engines were built at Delano, Weatherly, Wilkes-Barre, Sayre and at the South Easton shop.


This practice adopted by the company to build their own engines as far as possible furnished abundant opportunity to develop individual ability, a practice that had decided disadvantages. Every division master mechanic became a law unto himself concerning what form of locomotive he should build. The theory was that each master mechanic was the best judge of the kind of engine best adapted for the physical characteristics of that part of the line where he had charge.


The result was great rivalry among the different master mechanics, with train men active partisans ready to abuse or praise the engines, and frequently to put at a disadvantage those they disliked. There were Hoffecker engines, Campbell engines, Mitchell engines, Clark engines, and Kinsey engines, all differing from each other, the motive of difference sometimes being merely dread of imitation.


An undeniable result of the system of making every master mechanic independent of the others was the accumulation of an assortment of patterns such as no other railroad company ever possessed.


There was quite a variety of odd locomotives built by the Lehigh Valley people—some of them marking progress, others marking things and practices that ought to be avoided.


Clark's Independent Cut‑Off Locomotives.


Prominent among those oddities were certain locomotives built by David Clark, with a link motion and independent cut-off valve. This gear had six eccentrics, straps and rods, four rock shafts, two reverse levers and rods, two additional valves, valve seats, valve stems and stuffing boxes. The motion is illustrated below. The engines produced what were probably the finest indicator diagrams ever made by a locomotive, but it did not effect any saving of fuel over a common link motion engine of the same class.


Clark’s Independent Cut-Off Motion


In 1871 the Lehigh Valley Company purchased Mason's "Janus", below, a double-headed engine of the Fairlie type. It did good work as a pusher, and was popular with the engineers, but it never was duplicated.

Mason’s Double-end Locomotive


Alexander Mitchell tried to advance on the consolidation with two engines called the "Ant" and the "Bee", below, which had five pairs of drivers connected and a pony truck in front. The engines gave some trouble on curves, so the back pair of drivers were taken out and a pair of small carrying wheels substituted, making the first of the 2-8-2, or Mikado type. Two engines were built by the Norris Locomotive Works, Lancaster, Pa., in 1867. Quite a number of this kind of engine is now used in mountain service.


Bee Locomotive, with Ten Driving Wheels


Searching for the Fittest.


Master Mechanic Philip Hoffecker attempted to improve on Mitchell's 2-10-0 engines by applying a four-wheel truck with all the wheels in front of the cylinders. Some of that class of engines are still in service, but they display no superiority over the consolation engine, Rogers people built some Moguls with a four wheel truck in front of the cylinders, but they never achieved popularity. Hoffecker also built 4-8-0 engines afterwards, known as twelve- wheelers, below.

Hoffeckers 4-8-0 Engine


Strong's Duplex.


In the search for a passenger locomotive which could make time over mountain grades, and also haul a heavy train. the famous "Duplex," No. 444, was developed. This engine was built at Wilkesbarre in 1886. It was the first engine equipped with the Strong twin fire boxes for burning anthracite coal. The boiler was 33 feet long, and was composed of an outer shell in combination with a fire box of two Fox corrugated flues side by side, joining into a combustion chamber. Although the Fox corrugated flue was found very frequently in marine practice, and had been to a limited extent adapted to locomotives in Germany, it has not been a success on American locomotives. The total length of fire box and combustion chamber was 16 feet 4-1/2 inches. The smallest diameter of flue was 38-1/4/ inches. The length of fire box was 8 feet 9 inches.


The engine was a failure, and was a good illustration of what an amateur will do when he undertakes to design a locomotive.


Strong’s Duplex Locomotive


Campbell's Audenried.


Another engine with a modification in the link motion was built by Mr. Clark in 1886. This was an eight-wheel engine, the "Audenried" below, later changed to "John Campbell, "intended for passenger service, was a sister engine to that with the independent cut-off built by David Clark, and had his cut-off valve placed above the slide valve. By means of this valve the cut-off could be varied. When it was not in use, the cut-off valve traveled the same path as the main slide valve. This cut-off valve rested on top of the main valve, which had steam passages through it and was operated by an extra eccentric placed on each side of the engine. The motion was transferred to the valve through the medium of a radius bar and slide block. This slide block on radius bar was connected to a lever in the cab by means of a lift shaft and reach rod. Here by means of a notched quadrant, the point of cut-off could be changed at will.


Audenreid with Clark’s Independent Cut-Off


The engine, like Clark's first, was celebrated for the beautiful indicator diagrams it produced, but it did not pull any more cars or burn less fuel than the other engines, so the independent cut- off with its extra attachments was allowed to fall into innocuous desuetude.


Since that time the Lehigh Valley Railroad people have been contented to follow the beaten path in locomotive designing. No better power is to be found in the country, and the company may of late years apply to itself the aphorism "happy is the country that has no history."


Having published the foregoing in Railway and Locomotive Engineering, I received the following additional facts from Mr. A. S. Littleton, Cleveland, concerning the


Early History of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


I read with interest the excerpt from "Development of the Locomotive" in your January issue of the most interesting railway paper published. I particularly noticed two things, the first was the omission of "Hazleton" from the list of shops, and later in the article you spoke of the "Audenried, later the John Campbell, having a valve motion like Clark's." Please correct these points. I am glad that I am able to give you the correct version, as well as a complete history of what is now one of the important divisions of the Lehigh Valley, organized and chartered as the Hazleton Railroad.


My informant was the late Ario Pardee, Sr., who organized the company, later leased it and then sold it to the Lehigh Valley. Another authority is a book written by the son of one of the members of the firm of Eastwick & Harrison, one copy of which is in the library of Swarthmore College. A third was the late David Clark, as well as various engineers of the road before the merger.


The Hazleton Railroad.


The Hazleton Company was chartered in 1836, built in 1837, and the shops were erected in 1839‑40, and the first engine was built there in r840. It was named the "Lehigh." The company had purchased a locomotive from M. W. Baldwin previously. This was named the "Hazleton," a single pair of drivers and in all respects a Baldwin of that date, except in one important feature, she was a hard coal burner. Mr. Pardee told me that the Hazleton road was the only road that never had a wood burner in service. There was no special arrangement of the boiler. The Lehigh was built on the same plan as the "Hercules" of the Beaver Meadow Railroad, which was the first locomotive to have an equalizer beam. A model of the Hercules was part of the Baltimore & Ohio exhibit at Chicago in 1892 and Mr. Pardee was the first to see the good points of this device (see Harrison's book).


David Clark Takes Hold.


Mr. Alexander McCausland was the first master mechanic of the Hazleton Railroad until 1840, then a Mr. Merkel, and from 1841 until 1855 Thos. Evans held the position. On September 2, 1855, David Clark was called to the Hazleton Railroad. Mr. Clark found the road equipped with Eastwick and Harrison's four drivers, Hercules type Baldwin single pair, E. L. Miller type, and several six and eight driver Baldwins with the well-known Baldwin truck arrangement, also several engines of the road's own build.


Mr. Clark at once caused predictions of dire disaster by building an engine, the "Superior," with six drivers rigidly fixed and no truck. Every mechanic and engineer held that the Superior would never pass a curve. She did, however. The Superior was a six-wheeler, about 14 or I5 x 22 inches, 44-in. drivers, boiler about 42-in., with swallow-tail fire box similar to Winans, but with fire door at the rear. She burned anthracite coal and was scrapped in 1885 or 1886. The "Oswego," built about the same time, was in service in 1895 at Easton.


Mr. Clark used the same arrangement of rods as Baldwin, that is, main rod to rear driver and all wheels coupled. Encouraged by the success of the Superior, he built engines with eight drivers, rigid base, and in 1867 built engines with 20 x 26 in. cylinders, something rather strenuous in those days.


The Hazleton road was merged with the Lehigh Valley on June 2, 1868, and Mr. Clark then leased the shops until 1871 or 1872, when the Lehigh again took the master mechanic until his retirement in 1892.


The Audenried.


The device on the Audenried No. 47I (changed to John Campbell because Mr. Campbell had renamed the "Delano" No. 66 the "David Clark") was not only like Clark's, but was Clark's. This device was patented in 1882 by David Clark and Thos. G. Thatch (now general manager Hazleton Iron Works Co.), and was first applied to the W. C. Alderson No. 400. This engine was built to run on the Easton and Amboy Division, Lehigh Valley Railroad and did make several trips in competition with the famous No. 171, Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the engine made as good time as was expected of her. The Alderson was withdrawn from this run because the Easton shops tried to improve the design and she finished her career climbing the mountains of Pennsylvania. Clark's valve motion was applied to the Wm. Brockie, No. 440 and the "Jupiter" No. 120, a ten-wheeler.


Clark built the first Wootten for the Lehigh Valley, the Jno. R. Fanshawe No. 357, which for some reason was rebuilt with fire box on top of frames. This engine for years pulled the fast passenger trains over the Wyoming Division and was one of the main reasons why the Duplex 444 was built—that is "Wilkes Barre" tried to get something to beat "Hazleton." The Fanshawe was the first of the "Campbell" type; many others were afterward built.


At the time of Mr. Clark's retirement the Lehigh had 659 engines in service. Of this number 450 were built at their own shops (six in number), and of these I30 were Clark's. The eight-wheelers were pulling the fastest passenger trains; the ten-wheelers the fast freights on all divisions, so that you omitted a shop that built 30 per cent. of their engines, while I6 per cent. was the expected quota.



Locomotive Boilers

From J. White’s Version, p. 385-389



Peculiar Forms in United States.


A great many peculiar forms of boilers were produced in the United States through efforts, first, to burn anthracite coal, and second, to use soft coal as fuel. The first recorded attempts of this character were made by Isaac Dripps, already referred to.


Boiler of  Nichols''`Novelty"



The small experimental engine which Peter Cooper had built for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad burned anthracite and several of the pioneer locomotives burned the same fuel, but they all suffered from contracted grate area. The first successful attempt to produce a locomotive to burn anthracite successfully was made by Ross Winans in some engines which he built for the Philadelphia & Reading in 1847. The boilers of these engines were 42 inches diameter with tubes 14 feet long. The grate area was 18 square feet and the total heating surface was 957 square feet The fire-box is illustrated in below, which was a sort of two-story box with two fire doors, but only one set of grates. That form of locomotive was gradually developed until it assumed the Camel type which burned any kind of coal successfully.


Winans’ Firebox


James Millholland, of the Reading Railroad, did valuable work in developing the anthracite burning boiler, particulars of his work being above. A boiler that Millholland condemned was the freak illustration, below, designed by G. A. Nichols for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad to burn anthracite coal. It has already been described.


Boiler of Nichol’s Novelty


In 1854 Zerah Colburn, mechanical engineer of the New Jersey Locomotive & Machine Works, designed some engines for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, one of which, the Lehigh, had a fire box 7 feet 6 inches wide and 6 feet long, full particulars being elsewhere. This was, no doubt, the progenitor of the wide fire box engine known among train men as Mother Hubbard, and of the Wootten.


The Wootten boiler which was patented by John Wootten of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad in 1877 differs from the Colburn boiler in being made to extend over the driving wheels while that of Colburn extended behind the wheels. There were also some minor differences in details.


A compromise between the Wootten and the ordinary locomotive boiler is that having a wide fire box extending outside of the frames first introduced in 1892 on Baldwin's Columbia, but better known in connection with Atlantic type engines.


Vanderbilt Boiler.


In 1899 Cornelius Vanderbilt made a bid for popularity and improvement with a fire box consisting of a single corrugated flue. Its chief merit was in doing away with the necessity for stay bolts. Several engines with that form of furnace were put into service but they proved short lived.


The purpose of Mr. Vanderbilt's invention was of the very first importance, and it would have succeeded under ordinary circumstances, but it would not endure the terrible usage it was subjected to. The boiler made steam so freely that the engine was forced in many instances to perform double service, with the result that the sheets were distorted from excess of heat. The merits of the boiler proved its undoing. It would endure excessive forcing without showing distress, where stay-bolt boilers would have displayed warming signs, so in some instances it was given double duty to perform. Because there was a limit to its endurance and because it departed from the stereotyped forms, it failed to achieve popularity.


Experience with the Vanderbilt boiler using liquid fuel, for which it was particularly well adapted, gave valuable experience lessons as to how far the ordinary fire box will withstand high temperatures long sustained. The Vanderbilt furnace did not collapse under extraordinary forcing of oil flame, and attempts were made to make stay-bolt fire boxes approach the performance of the corrugated furnace, with the result that they failed immediately. The inability of the ordinary fire box to withstand the heat of the high combustion is due to the fact that natural circulation will not cover the heating surface with water as fast as it is evaporated.


The lesson impressed upon railroad men was that boilers cannot be indefinitely forced with impunity.


Even more ambitious than the Vanderbilt experiment was that made by George S. Strong. His engine had two circular corrugated furnaces joined to what was called a breeches pipe, leading to a corrugated combustion chamber. The boiler was intended to burn anthracite but its performance was not superior to ordinary types made at one-third the cost.


What may be called the leading modern improvements on locomotive boilers have been the abandoning of crown bars for radial stays and the close attention given to riveted joints, which are
invariably of the butt joint type with welt strips for the longitudinal seams giving an efficiency of about go per cent. of the solid plate. This care in design and construction is rendered necessary by the high steam pressure that has become regular practice.




Garrett & Eastwick

The following was excerpted from  Railway and Locomotive Engineering, 1903, pp 398 – 400. The passages also appear in Sinclair’s book on pp. 142 – 149.



There were soon going to be plenty of competition in the business of locomotive building. In 1835, the year after Mr. Baldwin entered seriously into the work of locomotive building, the firm of Garrett & Eastwick, then making steam engines and light machinery, in Philadelphia, obtained an order to build a locomotive for the Beaver Meadow Railroad, the first section of what is now a branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.



The Beaver Meadow Railroad winded about the mountains and forests of the Mauch Chunk region, and was originally built for the transportation of coal for shipment on the Lehigh Canal. The construction of the line was a great enterprise as it involved the overcoming of greater engineering difficulties than anything previously encountered in railroad building. When finished the road was exceedingly crooked and hilly. It had one curve 300 feet long of 250 feet radius;  there were two grades 96 feet to the  mile, three-quarters of a mile each, and  one grade 80 feet to the mile, five miles  long, having several curves, one of them  being 550 feet radius.  The capitalists who undertook the construction  of that railroad were leaders  among the most enterprising gentlemen  in Pennsylvania at that time. They  spared no expense to make the railroad and its equipment equal to the best that  could be procured at that period.



The Beaver Meadow locomotive was  called the "Samuel D. Ingham," after  the president of the road. The engine  had the Bury boiler and inside frames  with outside cylinders, a style of construction  that had up to that time found  very little favor from locomotive designers.  The reversing gear invented by  Andrew M. Eastwick was entirely original,  and consisted principally of a sliding  block intervening between the valve  seat and the slide valve. Particulars will  be given in my article on locomotive valve gear. 



As Garrett & Eastwick had no experience  in locomotive building, they engaged  as foreman, Joseph Harrison, Jr., a young man who had worked for several  years in the Norris Works, where he  learned a great deal from the failures  and a little from the successes in locomotive  building. Harrison developed  into an excellent designer of locomotives,  and he invented a variety of improvements  which became permanent features  of the locomotive engine.  



The "Samuel D. Ingham" compared  favorably with any locomotives then in  use. The engine was noteworthy as  being the first built with the deck covered  to afford protection of the engine- men. It is said to have been a very crude cab, but it was a beginning of a very desirable improvement, that was soon acknowledged to be an absolute necessity for locomotives operating in the rigorous climate of the United States.



Early in 1836, Henry R. Campbell, a civil engineer on the Philadelphia and Germantown Railroad, secured a patent on an eight-wheel engine, Fig. 32, with 



one pair of driving wheels in front of the fire box and the other pair behind. It was the first of what afterwards became known as the American Locomotive, the pattern of which was copied more or less by all the railroads of the world.


In designing his engine, Campbell was influenced by the desire to produce a locomotive that would be easy on the tender track. Strap rails laid on wooden stringers were still the rule, and the Beaver Meadow road, recently opened, was considered particularly substantial with strap rails 2-1/2 x 5/8 inch.


The tendency towards the building of light railroads was due more to the poverty of the country than to want of foresight on the part of our railroad builders. The native furnaces could not produce but a small fraction of the iron needed for rails, and the import duty was about $25 a ton. As the building of a railroad provided with substantial rails was out of the question, the pioneer builders did their best with the material at their command.


One engine was built after Campbell's drawings in a shop in Philadelphia belonging to James Brooks & Co., and it was put to work on the Philadelphia and Germantown Railroad, but did not become popular. The principal objection to it was that it rode hard, due to the want of means for equalizing the weight on drivers.



Late in 1836 the firm of Garrett & Eastwick built an eight-wheeler called "Hercules" (Fig. 33), for the Beaver Meadow Railroad, in which an attempt was made to render the engine more flexible. Mr. Eastwick devised a separate frame with pedestals, in which the two pairs of wheels were placed. This frame vibrated upon the center bearing, and could move as the truck does, except that it could not turn. This allowed it to adjust itself to uneven track, provided the unevenness was alike on both sides, otherwise it racked the framing. This frame was underneath, and separated from the main frame by side bearing springs. This was better than the old rigid plan of Campbell's, but not very much better.





This engine "Hercules" was the first one to have bolted straps and half-boxes on the side rods, instead of a gib and key; the rods had no keys.


The "Hercules" weighed fifteen tons, and was to run on a very crooked and hilly road. This engine was so flexible that it could accomplish more work than the others in use, and more like it were ordered. But in the meantime, the firm took into partnership Joseph Harrison, Jr., their young foreman, who set about simplifying the flexible engine; and the result was the invention of the modern equalizer, now universally used in this  country and in most foreign countries.



Harrison's first equalizers were made  of cast iron, very heavy and clumsy and  were hung above the frame just as they are now in 8-wheelers, the ends bearing  on round pins that went down and rested  on the top of the box. Mr. Harrison's patent covered all the combinations of  equalizers now known, and also provided  one for the truck. This device made  it possible to use any number of driving  wheels on the roughest track, and was, up to that time, the most useful improvement made on the locomotive engine. 



The other builders condemned the use  of more than one pair of driving wheels,  and did not, for some time, credit the  equalizer with any merit. Mr. Baldwin  said he could not see how the engine  would curve without slipping some of the  drivers, and he thought it impossible  to maintain all four wheels exactly the  same size and thought them complicated;  but their good points were forced upon  him by their service, and, in 1845, he  bought the patent of Mr. Campbell's  8-wheeler, and that of the equalizer of  Eastwick & Harrison, and at once turned  out his first class "C' engine, and afterwards  said she was the best engine he  had then turned out.



In 1839, Eastwick & Harrison, as the firm was now called, received an order from the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad for a big locomotive to weigh all of eleven tons, not less than nine tons  to be on the four drivers, and it was specified that the engine must burn  anthracite coal in a horizontal boiler. The engine built upon this order was known as the "Gowan & Marx" (Fig. 34), which became one of the most famous locomotives ever built.


The engine was of the eight wheel type, and in order to properly distribute the weight, the rear axle was placed under the firebox, just as it is now placed under six and eight coupled engines. The boiler had a Bury dome firebox 5 feet diameter. Two-inch tubes  9 feet long nearly filled the cylindrical part of the  boiler. 




The cylinders were 12-1/2 x18 inches, and the driving wheels were 42 inches diameter. A blower for stimulating the fire was first used on this engine, and it was the first to be equipped with Harrison's equalizers.


When put in service the "Gowan & Marx" developed such extraordinary tractive power that the whole railroad would become interested and many individuals were incredulous. On one of its first trips in February, 1840, it hauled from Reading to Philadelphia a train of 104 4-wheel loaded cars, at an average speed of 9.82 miles per hour. The road had a descending gradient of nearly 4 feet per mile, 27 miles level, 9 miles of it in one place, and only one ascending grade, 26.4 per mile for 2,100 feet. This train weighed 423 tons, and, including, the weight of engine and tender, equalled forty times the weight of the engine.


In connection with the great amount of tractive power developed by the "Gowan & Marx," in proportion to its weight (forty times its own weight), it is curious to note that only ten years earlier, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, in offering a prize of five hundred pounds for a practicable locomotive, required that it should pull three times its own weight. The South Carolina Railroad Company, in ordering a locomotive from the West Point Foundry, in 1830, also specified that it must pull a train three times the weight of the engine.


The success of the "Gowan & Marx" promised to promote rapidly the business of the builders, but the personal good fortune brought to the firm deprived the United States of good locomotive manufacturers.


The remarkable performances of the engine attracted much attention at home and abroad. The Russian Government, on account of the work done by this engine, sent two engineers to the United States to verify the account and to report on the best machinery and appliances for the St. Petersburg and Moscow- Railway, then under construction.


The report of these engines was so favorable that Eastwick & Harrison were requested to visit St. Petersburg, with the view of making a contract for building locomotives and cars. The contract was made and the Americans established locomotive building works in Russia and shortly afterwards closed up their works in Philadelphia.


Before closing their works for good, Eastwick & Harrison built two passenger engines for the Baltimore & Ohio, which were as notable for fast speed as the "Gowan & Marx" was for load pulling. One of these, the "Mercury" (Fig. 35), in 1844 worked the great aggregate of 37,000 miles, the greatest annual mileage achieved by one engine up to that time.












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Rev .January 2011