Sunday, September 22, 2013

British Diesel 10000

A correspondent just forwarded me a link to a PR documentary on the construction of the first mainline diesel engine in England in 1947. The engine and locomotive are beautiful, and the documentary is fascinating. See also the Wikipedia page for gory details.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Using a Trolley Car as a Moving Van

The Conestoga Traction Company, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, made the not-so-obvious leap of faith that a trolley car could be put into service hauling furniture etc. for people moving house. It helps if your trackage covers the locality pretty densely; otherwise, you'll spend all your time loading and offloading to horse-drawn wagons. The comment about the market for this common carrier being "from some point in the city to the country or vice versa" seems to me to imply a fatally limited for an already questionable project. Click for larger.

Originally published in the July, 1908 issue of POPULAR ELECTRICITY.

Electric Locomotive from 1888

Another piece from POPULAR ELECTRICITY, this early design was built in Wisconsin and put into operation between Ansonia and Derby, Connecticut. Read the text; it's quite interesting (you can click the image to make it larger).

Original magazine publication: May, 1909. I think it's remarkable that as early as 1909, there were exhibitions showing early equipment; that's over a hundred years ago.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Travel in the Far Northeast

This time on a bigger railroad. One ad that captures all the vacation adventure of New England, in this 1905 advertisement for the Boston and Maine.

Originally published in PEARSON'S MAGAZINE in 1905. Click for larger version. Just imagine yourself among those mountains: hunting, fishing, boating with your sweetheart on the quiet lakes.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bridgton and Harrison Railroad Timetable, 1940

From far-off Maine comes this 1940 turntable covering the sixteen miles of two-foot gauge track, said here to be the last of its kind. I don't know where I got these, but it was probably from some fine eBay seller's listing, back in 2002. As always, click for better viewing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Edison's Electric Locomotive: 1880

I was unaware that Thomas Edison had built an electric railroad at his Menlo Park, NJ, research lab in 1880. Growing out of his work on electric motors, it ran for 90 rods and presumably contributed to the developments which would make electric traction a competitive technology. This short 1909 article from POPULAR ELECTRICITY, though aimed at children, provides the basic information. I've enlarged the picture of the locomotive itself, so that you can better see its odd configuration. It's interesting to consider that in 1909, the subject of the article was not even thirty years in the past; it's as if we were considering a technology from 1984 as ancient history.

As always, click an image to see a bigger version.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Mountain Trolley Line

The cover of the July, 1908 issue of POPULAR ELECTRICITY. Click for larger.

Many more covers from this magazine online on Bound volume run of the magazine on the Internet Archive.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some Rail Pictures from POPULAR ELECTRICITY 1908

I recently added a large number of cover images from the early tech magazine POPULAR ELECTRICITY to the site. Most of these were scanned for the site by Doug Bell at JPL, but I found that the Internet Archive has a complete run of the bound volumes, brought over from Google's book scanning project. You can find them easily at the Archive; good luck (and a dime for good measure) trying to find them in Google's appallingly bad indexing system.

The scans aren't great, but how else are you going to find these old magazines (unless you're Doug Bell)? I did some cleanup in Photoshop, and here are a few, with some more to come. Captions are from the original magazine appearance; filenames list issue and page number. As usual, click to see larger versions (larger dimension 1000 pixels).