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Steam Locomotive Builders

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on September 10, 2015.

Locomotive Builder Lists -- Information about purchasing from Robert Lehmuth (at minimal cost) copies of his lists of all locomotive builders (steam, diesel and otherwise).

Locomotive Builders, 1902 -- Scanned text from an article in the February and March 1902 issues of Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine.

Russian Iron -- Iinformation about Russian Sheet Iron, as used on steam locomotive boiler jackets, including D&RG/RGW/D&RGW.

Steam Locomotive Builders at steamlocomotive.com -- An excellent web site about steam locomotives.

Additional work is needed to correlate these builders with the locomotives furnished to Union Pacific and its predecessor and subsidiary companies.

American Locomotive Company (Alco)

Alco at steamlocomotive.com

Alco on Wikipedia

Baldwin Locomotive Works

Baldwin at steamlocomotive.com

Baldwin on Wikipedia

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

The Baldwin Locomotive Works were founded by Matthias W. Baldwin in 1831, when, after building a working model, he received an order from the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad Company. It was not until November 23, 1832, however, that the "Old Ironsides" was tried on the road. This was a four-wheel engine, the two 54-inch drivers being at the rear. Cylinders were 9-1/2 x 18 inches. Wheels had heavy cast-iron hubs, wooden spokes and rims and wrought-iron tires; frame of wood, outside the wheels. Boiler was 30 inches diameter and had seventy- two copper tubes, 1-1/2 inches by 7 feet long. The contract price was $4,000, but after some controversy $3,500 was finally paid.

The second engine was the "E. L. Miller," for the Charleston & Hamburg Railroad Company, and was completed February 18, 1834. This was for the same road as the "Best Friend," "West Point" and "South Carolina," mentioned in connection with the West Point Foundry. This engine (the "E. L. Miller") had cast-brass wheels but they soon wore out. The cylinders were 10 x 16 inches, the single driving wheels were 54 inches, and the front end was carried on a four-wheel truck.

Five engines were built in 1834, and in this year a part of the present site (Broad and Hamilton streets, Philadelphia) was chosen.

It is impossible to trace the interesting development of the Baldwin engine in this brief sketch, but it is interesting to note that in May, 1848, Mr. Baldwin filed a caveat for a four-cylinder engine, which was never built. In 1880--forty-one years later--these works began the building of what is now the best known four-cylinder locomotive in the world. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Brooks Locomotive Works

Brooks on Wikipedia

Cooke Locomotive & Machine Works

Cooke on Wikipedia

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

Danforth & Cooke, of Paterson, N. J., were well known among the early builders, and, after several changes, became the Cooke Locomotive & Machine Company, now one of the eight plants of the American Locomotive Company. Established in 1851, they were very prominent for many years, and a "Cooke engine" was often recommendation enough to a railroad man. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Grant Locomotive Works

Grant on Wikipedia

Various histories of Grant Locomotive Works show that the company started out as Swinburne, Smith & Co. in 1848. In 1851 it became New Jersey Locomotive & Machine Co. The company was also known as Smith & Jackson during this time period. In March 1866 it became Union Locomotive Works. In April 1867 the company became Grant Locomotive Works, a name it kept until after its move to Chicago in 1895. Since records for most of the Union Pacific locomotives do not show a specific month in either 1866 or 1867, the formal name of their builder could be either Union Locomotive Works or Grant Locomotive Works.

Swinburne is another name which is well remembered, but little actual knowledge can be obtained. It started as Swinburne & Smith, but the former soon withdrew and started Wm. Swinburne & Co., Paterson, N. J. This was short-lived, however, being crushed by the panic of 1857. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

The New Jersey Locomotive & Machine Company was changed to Grant Locomotive Works, 1866. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Hinkley & Williams

Hinkley on Wikipedia

The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in its Bulletin 142, published in 1980, included a list of all locomotives built by Hinkley & Williams. The article also shows that the records of the Hinkley locomotive works were mostly destroyed, and that *any* listing is a reconstruction from other incomplete material.

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

Hinkley Locomotive Works were established in about 1843, being first called the Hinkley & Drury Company. The "Lion," their first engine, has become historic, and for years a "Hinkley" was noted for its speed and other good qualities. They built the "C. P. Williams" for the Stoningtor Steamboat Express--an engine that made many fast runs. They also built two 6-foot single-driver engines, with 4-foot trailer, and 16 x 20-inch cylinders for the Erie. They met with several business reverses and finally built the "Shaw" balanced locomotive, "Henry F. Shaw," and one of Strong's freaks. The combination was enough to cripple a healthy locomotive works, and in this case it was fatal. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

(Read more about the Strong locomotive; includes photo)

Lima Locomotive Works

Lima on Wikipedia

Lima on steamlocomotive.com

Manchester Locomotive Works

Manchester on Wikipedia

Mason Machine Works

Mason on Wikipedia

National Locomotive Works - Dawson & Bailey

National Locomotive Works -- Information about the builder also known as Dawson & Bailey.

National Locomotive Works, of Connellsville Pennsylvania, also known between 1873-1875 as Dawson & Bailey.

The National Locomotive Works at Connellsville, Pa., were run by Dawson & Bailey in 1870. They were started for the purpose of building narrow-gage locomotives, a "mania" just getting hold of the railway world at that time. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

"Unfortunately, compiling a complete list of locomotives built by National/Dawson & Bailey is an impossible task. Most of the info on National comes from reports of sales in the old Railroad Gazette. Robert Brendel has the best roster and has researched them for many decades." (Don Hensley, Jr., email dated June 21, 2010)

Norris Locomotive Works

Norris on Wikipedia

Pittsburgh Locomotive & Car Works

Pittsburgh on Wikipedia

Rhode Island Locomotive Works

Rhode Island on Wikipedia

Richmond Locomotive Works

Richmond on Wikipedia

Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works

Rogers on Wikipedia

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

In 1831-2, under the firm name of Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor, Mr. Thomas Rogers established what is now known as the Rogers Locomotive Company.

The first engine was the "Sandusky," built in 1837 for the New Jersey Transportation Company, but sold to the Mad River Railroad after much persuasion. This engine weighed under 10 tons. It had six wheels, two of them being drivers. It had counterbalanced wheels and four fixed eccentrics, both innovations in locomotive building.

Rogers was also one of the first to advocate using the link motion, beginning in about 1850, and his wisdom is shown in its general use today. In 1842 they built he "Stockbridge," an engine with outside cylinders. The driving axle was in front of the firebox and a pair of trailers behind. In front was a full truck, making an engine of the "bicycle" type. Rogers adopted the American or eight-wheel design (patented by Henry R. Campbell, of Philadelphia) in 1844, and of course others did the same at various dates.

In 1848 they built some ten-wheel locomotives for the Savanilla Railroad of Cuba, with 15-1/2 x 20-inch outside cylinders. These are supposed to be the first ten-wheelers with outside cylinders.

Mr. W. S. Hudson, who was one of the best designers we have had in locomotive work, became superintendent of the Rogers works in 1852, and remained in that position until his death, in 1881, at the age of seventy-two. His many patents are interesting to study and embody many of the ideas in use to-day. This company is one of the few survivors and is now making extensive additions and improvements. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company

Taunton on the web site of Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Taunton on Wikipedia

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

The Taunton Locomotive Works commenced business in the early forties [1840s]. W. W. Fairbanks was the general agent and was later agent of the Grant Locomotive Works. P. I. Perrin was draftsman, and B. F. Slater foreman. The early Taunton locomotives were inside connected. Frames were made by riveting together two bars of iron 5 x 5/8 with one 2 x 2 between them at the top. The pedestals were of cast iron. The tops of them were reduced in thickness and entered the groove in frame, and were held in place by turned rivets. Castings to hold flanges of cylinders were fastened in the same manner. Valve gear had drop hooks, and the point of cut off was constant. Driving wheels were four-coupled, with a four-wheel truck under the smoke-box. Boiler was of iron; firebox, copper or iron, as directed; tubes, copper. Wood being the fuel, the chimney was double, with a large bonnet of fine wire. No steam gages or injectors were known. Water was supplied by pumps driven from the cross-heads. Tender was mounted on three pairs of 33-inch wheels; no swiveling trucks. Later they applied the V-hooks to the valve gear; still later a variable cut-off driven by a half crank or forward crank pin, and a V-hook working on a rocker. Steam pressure, 100 pounds, The time made by these locomotives between Boston and Providence was 1 hour 15 minutes, which has been reduced but 15 minutes in fifty years. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Schenectady Locomotive Works

Schenectady on Wikipedia

The following comes from Fred Colvin's 1902 history of locomotive builders, published in Railway and Locomotive Engineering magazine:

The Schenectady Locomotive Works, with one of the Norris family as president, were incorporated in 1848, and consequently rank among the oldest establishments of their kind in the United States. The history of their long and successful operation contains many items of interest and would not be complete without a reference to Walter McQueen, the first superintendent. As was customary in those days, the engines were known as McQueen locomotives. He had been with Seth Wilmarth and was a good designer. Later, in about 1874, he endeavored to start a locomotive works in Schenectady, but the panic prevented its successful existence. The works proper occupy 12-1/4 acres, compact, with no streets dividing, while 23 acres in all are owned by the company for all purposes. The works are connected by switches to the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, also the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company's Railroad, and have docks on the Erie Canal. The general plan of the works is arranged on the principle of the modern freight yard, so that material and complete locomotives and tenders are readily handled from one shop to another with switching locomotives. The works are at present employing over 2,250 men, and are one of the leading works of the American Locomotive Company. (Fred H. Colvin, "Locomotive Building in the United States" in "Railway and Locomotive Engineering," Volume 15, Number 2, February 1902, and Volume 15, Number 3, March 1902)

Additional Reading

The Steam Locomotive In America, by Alfred W. Bruce (W. W. Norton, 1952)

American Locomotives, An Engineering History, 1830-1880, by John H. White (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968, expanded 1997 edition)

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