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Philly and Locomotive Manufacturing

Discussion in 'Railroads and Steam Locomotives' started by USS ALASKA, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA Sergeant Major

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    Locomotive Manufacturing
    By John Hepp

    For over one hundred and twenty years, railway locomotives were built in Greater Philadelphia. From the pioneering manufacturers of steam locomotives in the Spring Garden section of the city in the 1830s to the sprawling plant of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Delaware County in the twentieth century, the products, the companies, and the buildings were archetypes of Philadelphia’s industrial might at its manufacturing peak. Baldwin Locomotive became the largest producer of steam railway locomotives in the United States. By the mid twentieth century, however, even Baldwin could no longer compete in the world market, which had shifted to diesel and electric locomotives.

    The rise, dominance, and decline of locomotive manufacturing in the region had two complementary contexts, one local, the other transnational. In the late 1820s American
    railroads imported steam locomotives from Britain and, because the locomotives had to be partially disassembled for shipping, employed local artisans to put them back together. Because these imported locomotives were expensive and often too heavy and rigid for the poorly constructed track used in the United States, engineering firms on the East Coast quickly began to build local alternatives. In Philadelphia, entrepreneurs drew on the city’s broad engineering base and its skilled workforce to adapt the British technology.

    This first phase of locomotive building in Philadelphia lasted from the 1830s to the American Civil War and consisted of a variety of small-scale enterprises that tended to have difficulty surviving economic downturns, such as the Panic of 1837. In 1830, the American Steam Carriage Company was founded in Philadelphia and manufactured its first locomotive the next year. It failed. In 1831,
    Matthias W. Baldwin (1795-1866), a Philadelphia jeweler and machine maker, built a working scale model of one of these British imports for Peale’s Philadelphia Museum. That same year, he reassembled the English locomotives constructed for the New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Rail Road, Delaware’s first railway, and learned still more about the new technology. In 1832, Long & Norris, a successor to American Steam Carriage, and Baldwin built successful locomotives for the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad, the first line to open in the city.

    Norris Locomotive Works
    During this period the most successful builder in the city was the Norris Locomotive Works (the successor to Long & Norris, which operated under various names and differing partnerships). Norris produced nearly one thousand locomotives between 1834 and its closure in 1866 or 1867. The firm achieved success through engineering innovations (it substituted a movable truck or bogie for the standard fixed front axle on English locomotives, which worked better on the poor American track) and by generating publicity (on July 10, 1836, it operated a steam locomotive up the steep rope-worked inclined plane in West Philadelphia on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad). Its designs became so popular that it became the first American exporter of locomotives. By 1840, 30 percent of the firm’s production went to foreign markets. Norris locomotives operated in England, France, Prussia, Austria, Saxony, Belgium, Italy, Canada, Cuba, and Colombia. By the 1850s, Norris was the largest locomotive builder in the United States, but it closed shortly after the Civil War during a downturn in demand for steam locomotives.

    The second phase of railway locomotive production lasted from the end of the Civil War to the 1930s, a period when Philadelphia’s Baldwin Locomotive Works dominated the industry nationwide. With a plant located near the Norris Locomotive Works in the city’s Spring Garden section, in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, Baldwin, although less innovative than Norris, produced higher-quality products. This, combined with innovations in financing, allowed Baldwin to thrive in the second half of the nineteenth century. By 1870 (four years after the death of its founder), the Baldwin Locomotive Works was by far the largest producer of steam locomotives in the United States and one of the largest manufacturers in the world. It, like Norris earlier, also exported its products worldwide. The peak of Baldwin’s production in Philadelphia came between 1898 and 1906, before railway regulation under the federal Hepburn Act (and the Panic of 1907) slowed demand for locomotives nationally. In 1906 alone, Baldwin produced 2,666 steam locomotives and employed more than eighteen thousand workers. Although the locomotive manufacturers did not know it at the time, increased regulation, two world wars, a Great Depression, and technological change would mean that demand for steam locomotives would never again reach this high point.

    In the early twentieth century, as part of the
    City Beautiful Movement, Philadelphia and other American cities sought to relocate large-scale manufacturers like Baldwin away from central business districts and their peripheries. At the same time, Baldwin’s management desired a new and enlarged plant. The company acquired a large tract of land in suburban Eddystone, Delaware County, and slowly transferred all production there, completing the move by 1928. Constructed on a grand scale, the facility at Eddystone never operated at more than one-third of its capacity.

    Challenges of New Technology
    From the 1930s through 1956, Baldwin survived as not only the sole locomotive builder in Philadelphia but also as just one of a handful nationwide. Two technological changes in the first half of the twentieth century in the American railroad industry combined to decrease the demand for steam locomotives from Baldwin and its competitors. First came the electrification of commuter lines in New York and Philadelphia in the first three decades of the century. This eventually encouraged one of the railroads–the Pennsylvania–to electrify its busy main lines between New York, Washington, and Harrisburg. Then, although railroad electrification slowed, the development of diesel locomotives accelerated. First used in limited applications in the 1920s, by the end of the 1930s diesels operated as switch engines and on prestige passenger services, and by the 1940s were replacing steam locomotives in general service on most American railroads. Although more expensive than steam locomotives to purchase, diesels were cheaper and more efficient to operate.

    As late as 1937, Baldwin’s management thought its future depended on the production of steam locomotives, despite changing technology. The next year, when Baldwin emerged from its 1935 bankruptcy with new management, it finally began to develop the newer diesel locomotives on a much larger scale.

    During the Second World War, Baldwin continued to produce steam locomotives for both the United States and abroad and built tanks for the military at its massive Eddystone works. However, the War Production Board authorized Baldwin’s main competitors–the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors of La Grange, Illinois, and the American Locomotive Company (Alco) based in Schenectady, New York–to build diesels. This meant that Baldwin entered the postwar market in a weaker position.

    After the
    Second World War, Baldwin introduced a full line of diesel locomotives and merged with a smaller locomotive builder to form Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton in 1950. Despite continual improvements in the products, the company’s sales remained well behind General Motors and Alco. In 1956, when the usually dependable Pennsylvania Railroad decided to place a large order with General Motors instead of Baldwin, the company ended the production of locomotives, although it continued to make construction equipment until around 1970. Baldwin had built over seventy thousand steam, electric, and diesel locomotives since 1832. With the closure of the once-massive Eddystone plant, locomotive production ceased in the greater Philadelphia area after 125 years.

    Baldwin’s failed conversion to diesel production can be explained in part by the company’s late realization of the importance of the technological change, a policy offering custom-designed units in addition to a standard line, and its use of nonstandard technology (for example, electrical equipment made by Westinghouse instead of GE and, initially, its own form of multiple-unit control). On a global scale, however, none of the major steam locomotive builders that dominated the world market in the early twentieth century successfully made the transition to the construction of diesel and electric locomotives in the twenty-first. The new era simply required technology and skills that differed from steam locomotives. Baldwin, and with it the Philadelphia region’s role in locomotive manufacturing, became a casualty of massive industrial change in the second half of the twentieth century.

    John Hepp is Associate Professor of History at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and he teaches American urban and cultural history with an emphasis on the period 1800 to 1940.

    Full article with pics can be found here - http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/locomotive-manufacturing/

    Cheers,
    USS ALASKA
     
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  3. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA Sergeant Major

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    The Baldwin Locomotive Works

    The Baldwin Locomotive Works was founded in 1831 by Matthias Baldwin. The original plant was on Broad street in Philadelphia, PA where the company did business for 71 years until it moved in 1912 to a new plant in Eddystone. Various partnerships during this period resulted in a number of name changes. It was known as Baldwin, Vail & Hufty (1839-1842); Baldwin& Whitney (1842-1845); M. W. Baldwin (1846-1853); and M. W. Baldwin & Co. (1854-1866). After Baldwin's death in 1866 the firm was known as M. Baird & Co. (1867-1873); Burnham, Parry, Williams & Co. (1873-1890); Burnham, Williams & Co. (1891-1909); it was finally incorporated as the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1909. Westinghouse Corporation bought Baldwin in 1948. In 1950 the Lima-Hamilton Corporation and Baldwin merged. In 1956 the last of some 70,541 locomotives was produced.

    Baldwin made its reputation building steam locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.and many of the other railroads in North America and for overseas railroads in England, France, India, Haiti and Egypt.

    In the late 1940's it was very clear that the steam locomotive days were over and each of the big three steam locomotive builders were far behind EMD with diesel designs and customers. Lima merged with engine builder Hamilton in an effort to get a foot hold in the diesel market but made little progress. In desperation Lima-Hamilton merged with Baldwin in 1950 to become the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation. However, by 1956 BLH ceased production of common carrier size locomotives.

    In the later days of the steam era, Baldwin was in the forefront of locomotive construction with the many 2-8-2 Mikados it built and its ability to build small quantities of unique designs, such as the Cab Forward 4-8-8-2's it built for the Southern Pacific. Also it was involved with its various railroad customers to develop new and improved locomotive designs the last being the 4-8-4 Northerns.

    Most of the records of Baldwin were destroyed in 1954. What survived has found its way to the
    DeGolyer Library (Baldwin Records) at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. [Details] A few drawings are located at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, PA. The Builders Photos are located at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA.

    Full article with pics and links can be found here - http://www.steamlocomotive.com/builders/

    Cheers,
    USS ALASKA
     
  4. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA Sergeant Major

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  5. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA Sergeant Major

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    Matthias William Baldwin (December 10, 1795 – September 7, 1866) was an American inventor and machinery manufacturer, specializing in the production of steam locomotives. Baldwin's small machine shop, established in 1825, grew to become Baldwin Locomotive Works, one of the largest and most successful locomotive manufacturing firms in the United States. The most famous of the early locomotives was "Old Ironsides", built by Matthias Baldwin in 1832.

    During the middle 1820s demand for jewelry and silverware suddenly experienced a dramatic decline, forcing Baldwin to search for a new occupation. In 1825, Baldwin went into partnership with a
    machinist named David Mason to form a company which made industrial equipment for printers and bookbinders: tools, dies, and machines that had previously been exclusively imported from Europe. The pair became involved in the manufacture of printing cylinders and perfected an improved process for the etching of steel plates.

    The needs of the growing firm demanded both larger quarters and an improved power source. In 1828 Baldwin devised and constructed his first
    steam engine, a stationary device that produced 5 horsepower of output and remained in use in the shop for four decades. Baldwin's engine was not only the most powerful of its day but also incorporated mechanical innovation to power rotary motion, which ultimately came to have application in transport, including marine engine design. The original engine still survives in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

    Demand for steam engines proved to be great and Baldwin and Mason quickly supplanted their printing machinery business with an engine-making division. Within a decade the firm would be regarded as the top engine maker in the country.

    Baldwin put his knowledge of stationary steam engines to new use in 1831 when he constructed his first experimental steam locomotive. Based on designs first shown at the Rainhill Trials in England, Baldwin's prototype was a small demonstration engine that was displayed at Peale's Philadelphia City Museum. The engine was strong enough to pull a few cars that carried four passengers each. This locomotive was unusual for the time in that it burned coal, which was available locally, instead of wood.


    The next year Baldwin built his first commissioned
    steam locomotive for the fledgling Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad. This engine, nicknamed Old Ironsides, traveled at the rate of only 1 mile per hour (1.6 km/h) in initial trials made on November 23, 1832, but the machine was later refined and improved so that a peak speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) was attained. It weighed over 5 tons, with 54 in (1,400 mm) diameter rear wheels, 9.5 in (240 mm) cylinders with 18 in (460 mm) stroke and a 30 in (760 mm) diameter boiler which took 20 minutes to raise steam. This locomotive was a 2-2-0 (Whyte notation) type, meaning it had one unpowered leading axle and one powered driving axle. Although contracted for $4,000, owing to performance shortcomings a compromise price of $3,500 between the railroad and the budding Baldwin Locomotive Works was ultimately agreed upon and received.

    Baldwin was issued
    U.S. Patent 54 "Art of managing and supplying fire for generating steam in locomotive-engines" in 1836. As the text of the patent explained "The intention of this new mode of managing the fire is to enable me, at each water station, or any convenient place to have a clear coal fire waiting the arrival of the engine so that the grate or fire-place which has been in use, may be detached or slid out, and that containing the clear fire, made to occupy its place."

    In 1835, he donated money to establish a school for
    African-American children in Philadelphia and continued to pay the teachers' salaries out of his own pocket for years thereafter. Baldwin was an outspoken supporter for the abolition of slavery in the United States, a position that was used against him and his firm by competitors eager to sell locomotives to railroads based in the slaveholding South.

    Baldwin was a member of the
    1837 Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention and emerged as a defender of voting rights for the state's black male citizens.

    Baldwin died on September 7, 1866, at his country home in
    Wissinoming, today a Philadelphia neighborhood which was at the time located just outside Philadelphia proper.

    At the time of its founder's death, his Baldwin Locomotive Works had produced some 1,500 steam locomotives. The company would continue as a leader in this field, producing a total of approximately 75,000 steam locomotive engines before it terminated production in 1956. He is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.


    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthias_W._Baldwin

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    USS ALASKA
     

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