The "Gowan & Marx."


Article appearing in Locomotive Engineering, March 1893, p. 98


In August, 1891, we published a description of the engine "Mercury," built in 1842, for the B. & 0., by the firm of Eastwick & Harrison, of Philadelphia, and that description told something the success made by this firm with the engine Gowan & Marx"; we did not know at that time that there was a picture of her in this country.


Recently one of the philosophers of this paper stumbled across a drawing of her in the office of the Wellman Steel Company of Philadelphia. The original drawing was made for Eastwick & Harrison by a mechanic, Enoch Lewis, now purchase agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad.


Some years ago Mr. Wootten, general manager of the Reading road (for whom the engine was built) found the drawing among some other old papers and sent it to Mr. Lewis. From this a photograph was made and framed by Mr. Lewis, who is in charge of the office of the Wellman Steel Company, and from it our engraving was made.


This engine was the first to have an . under the firebox, the first to have equalizers and the first to use a blower.


We can't describe her better than what was said in this paper on the date given:


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Late in 1836, the firm of Garrett & Eastwick, of Philadelphia, built an eight -wheeler, called the "Hercules," for the Beaver Meadow road (now the Lehigh Valley), in which an attempt was made to make the engine more flexible. Mr. Eastwick devised a separate frame with pedestals which the two pairs of wheels were placed. This frame vibrated upon a center ring, and could move as a truck does, except that it could not turn. This allowed it to adjust itself to uneven tracks, provided the unevenness was alike on both ides, otherwise it racked the framing; this frame was underneath and separated from the main frame by side bearing springs.


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This engine was so flexible that she could accomplish more work than the others in use, and more like her were ordered But in the meantime the firm took as a partner a young mechanic, Joseph Harrison, Jr., who set about simplifying the flexible engine, and the result was the invention of the modern equalizer, now universally used in this country and 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 top of the box; this can be seen very plainly in our illustration. 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 in the engines of Stephenson.


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In 1839, Eastwick & Harrison got an order from the Reading road for a then "big engine'; she was to weigh all of eleven tons, not less than nine tons to be on four drivers, and must burn anthracite coal in a horizontal boiler. This engine, when built and in service, made the fortunes of her builders.


In order to properly distribute the weight, the rear axle was placed under the firebox, just as they are now in mogul and consolidation engines; the boiler was a 'dome' or 'Bury' boiler with a, 5 foot firebox.


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"Two inch tubes were used, placed close together, and nearly filling the cylindrical part of the boiler.


"The cylinders were 12-1/2 x 18. There was no cut off used. The wheels were 42 inches in diameter. The exhaust was a box filled with numerous small jets, known as the Gurney exhaust, and the common blower was here used for the first time. When finished, this engine was named the 'Gowan & Marx,' after a London firm of bankers.


"This engine interested the whole railroad world by her great tractive power. On her trial, February 20, 1840, she drew from Reading to Philadelphia one hundred and four 4-wheeled cars of coal at the rate of 9.82 miles per hour   the road had a falling gradient of nearly 4 feet per mile, 27 miles of dead level, 9 miles of it in one place, and only one ascending grade of 26.4 feet per mile for 2,100 feet. This train weighed 423 tons, and, including weight of the tender equaled forty times the weight of the engine. That was the best ever done then, and is pretty hard to beat now.


"This remarkable work attracted no little attention at home and abroad, and among others who came to see and be convinced, were two colonels sent out by the Emperor of Russia to report on the best machinery and appliances for a road then projected between St. Petersburg and Moscow - the first in the empire. These officers reported in favor of engines built upon the general plan of the 'Gowan & Marx,' and in due course of time the Emperor Nicholas asked Eastwick & Harrison to visit St. Petersburg, with a view to contracting extensively for his government.


"In 1843 Mr. Harrison went to Russia, and formed the firm of Harrison, Winans & Eastwick, taking into the firm Mr. Thomas Winans, of Baltimore, and entered into a contract for building 262 locomotives and iron trucks for 2,500 freight cars.


"In 1844 they closed their place in Philadelphia, taking their tools and instruments to Russia, and established the Alexandroffsky Head Mechanical Works, where they completed their fat contracts.


"When the first engine was being built, Mr. Harrison designed and built a machine for accurately boring the holes for crankpins exactly at right angles to each other  - this is believed to have been the first quartering machine   a rude application of the principle had been used by him in Philadelphia in 1838. This contract was finished in 1851, but a new contract was entered into for repairing the rolling stock that kept the firm busy up to 1862, when they came home to America full of honors and shekels."