American Locomotives in Historic Photographs: 1858 to 1949


A rare collection of 126 meticulously detailed official photographs, called "builder portraits," of American locomotives that majestically chronicle the rise of steam locomotive power in America. Railroading expert Ziel's introduction and captions provide readers with a brief history of railroading in America, the art of the builder portrait and key details on each locomotive depicted.

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American Locomotives in Historic Photographs: 1858 to 1949

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A rare collection of 126 meticulously detailed official photographs, called "builder portraits," of American locomotives that majestically chronicle the rise of steam locomotive power in America. Railroading expert Ziel's introduction and captions provide readers with a brief history of railroading in America, the art of the builder portrait and key details on each locomotive depicted.

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Editorial Reviews

Spectacular album of 126 "builder's photographs" ("portraits," more precisely) of the locos as they came out of the factories--chiefly Baldwin and Lima. These exquisitely detailed photos--most from the Rogers Collection which was acquired by Hayward Cirker, publisher of Dover books--were submitted to Ron Ziel, a great RR historian, for selection and captioning. Captions are extensive and deeply informed. For history, industry, and photography collections (as well as being a celestial delight for the rail fan and modeller). Also perfect for paupers--a great book, well-produced, an original at $13! Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486273938
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 1/14/1993
  • Series: Dover Transportation Series
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 991,125
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Read an Excerpt

American Locomotives in Historic Photographs

1858 to 1949

By Ron Ziel

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1993 Ron Ziel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-13619-6



One of the earliest builder photographs is also of a primeval export locomotive: a diminutive narrow-gauge 0–4–0 tank engine that was built for the government of Spain in 1858. The tapered balloon stack is a good indication of its age, for this style was pretty well outdated by 1860. A most basic locomotive, España was equipped with an early injector just forward of the cab, as well as a crosshead-mounted water pump, and the steam dome was placed above the firebox, inside the cab, with safety valve and whistle protruding through the roof.


Pennsylvania Railroad No. 1

By 1860, the 4–6–0 ten-wheeler locomotive, larger and more powerful than the 4– 4–0, or "American Standard," type, was being built, initially as a heavy (for that time) freight engine. With no. 1 of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Mathias W. Baldwins factory had already been well established, this being his 1,009th locomotive, which was turned out in September 1861, just a few months after the outbreak of the Civil War. Railroads often do not number their engines consecutively, so the P.R. R., which was chartered in 1846, had had at least one previous no. 1. A cast plate, usually of brass, was affixed to each side of a locomotive, giving the name of the builder, the serial number, the date of construction and, usually, the location of the foundry. Some early Baldwins, such as this one, had two plates, ornately displayed between the driving wheels: the front one said "M. W Baldwin & Co. 1009"; the rear one, "Philadelphia 1861." The Baldwin Locomotive Works, as it was later known, went on to erect nearly 75,000 locomotives—including some very impressive diesels—before all production ceased in the 1950s.


Pennsylvania Railroad No. 216

Pennsylvania Railroad 0–6–0 no. 216 emerged from the erecting hall at Baldwin in August 1861 as a fearsome apparition of Gothic character, with its bulky components, massive smokestack, high-mounted canted cylinders and awkwardly positioned wheels. The box of a water cistern slung over the boiler and the massive dome scrunched up against the pin-striped cab did nothing to detract from the ungainly visage of this early switch engine. Certainly at this stage of development, the steam locomotive was still experiencing aesthetic growing pains. Within a decade, however, it would mature into an embodiment of elegance and refinement that in taste and proportion would rival the clipper ship and Federal architecture. Such details on no. 216 as the one-piece molded fender over the wheels, the wrought-iron bell cradle and the paint trim could only hint at the princely splendor of the typical steam locomotive later in the nineteenth century.


Eastern Pennsylvania Railroad No. 7

Baldwin's 1, 114th locomotive was a utilitarian 4–6–0 built for the Eastern Pennsylvania Railroad in June 1862. Instead of mounting a cast plate itemizing the builder's information, that data was cast directly into the bottom of the valve chest above the cylinder. Locomotives of this period mounted enormous headlights on a platform directly in front of the smokestack, which housed a large reflector to magnify the weak oil flame that provided the illumination. Often, the railroad itself supplied the headlight—sometimes exquisitely decorated, including pastoral scenery or a portrait of the person for whom the machine was named—so many of the factory photos show engines devoid of the lamps. Barely three decades after the power of steam locomotives first proved practical as a successor to that of animals, engines such as no. 7 shown here had already attained a technological sophistication that was recognizable even in its gigantic descendants in the twentieth century.


Union Pacific Railroad No. 90

A year and a month prior to the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah Territory, on May 10, 1869, Baldwin completed a brutish 4–6–0, no. 90, for the Union Pacific. It would be a month before the ten-wheeler arrived on its owners property in Omaha, Nebraska, and went to work hauling freight—much of it construction materials for the U.P.—to help complete the epic labor of the first transcontinental line. Typical of the 4–4–0s and 4–6–0s of its era, no. 90 had a wide space between the rear sets of driving wheels, to allow room for the firebox to be mounted between the axles. The biggest improvement in locomotive design occurred in the 1890s when trailing wheels enabled the firebox to be carried above the frame. This enabled fireboxes to be increased enormously in size (in both width and length) and ultimately resulted in the high-horsepower steam-generating boilers of the 1900s.


Broadway Railroad No. 4

Street railways, utilizing horses to power small passenger cars, began to appear in American cities even prior to the War Between the States. Most of them retained equine energy until they were electrified, beginning in the 1890s, heralding the advent of the trolley or tram lines. The inherent economics and improved performance of steam on the railways soon became obvious to the horsecar line operators, but running steam locomotives down city streets presented problems. Hissing steam, oscillating, clanking machinery and belching smoke frightened horses and children, disturbed peaceful neighborhoods and blackened washlines. The solution was to hide the steam engine, to make it appear little different from the familiar cars it was replacing. The resulting steam cars, while never widely accepted in the United States, were nevertheless to become a common sight in cities around the world, the last operating in Indonesia in the 1970s. Powered by diminutive wash boilers, the steam tram lines either used "dummy" locomotives decked out to resemble horsecars to pull a passenger car, or, in the larger versions, had a passenger compartment that shared the car with a partitioned-off boiler. Broadway Railroad no. 4 was of the former type. Built by Baldwin in 1868, it ran in the city of Brooklyn, New York, from the Roosevelt and Grand Street ferries on the East River, out to East New York. With a car body completely enclosing the locomotive—even the wheels were covered—the engine was indistinguishable from a small horsecar.


Chimbote Railway "Emilia"

One of the most fascinating and affable of all the little inspection engines built for the use of company officials was the Chimbote Railway 2–2–4T, named Emilia, dating back to 1868. The boiler, with its incredibly slender diamond-capped stack, minuscule cylinders and tall domes, was entirely exposed, while the cab was extended back to include a completely separate compartment for the company "brass" to ride in style while inspecting the track and facilities. With wainscotted paneling, arched windows, clerestory roof, open rear platform and ornate gold-leaf trim, this was more than a mere locomotive—it was truly a masterpiece of art, in the highest sense of the term.


Chicago & North-Western Railway "Alexander Mitchell"

The Chicago & North-Western began building in the 1840s. Within twenty years it had pushed its rails westward into Sioux Indian territory, utilizing high-drive-red 4–4–0s that were quite sizable for their time. Built in December 1869, the diamond-stack American named Alexander Mitchell is seen here posed outside of the Baldwin factory in low winter sunlight. About the only parts of these primeval steam locomotives of the 1860s that would remain virtually unchanged seventy years later were the bell and the builder's plate; each and every other component would undergo a metamorphosis in size, shape and technological improvement comparable to that experienced by all other forms of mechanical endeavor during that period.


Southern Pacific Railway No. 1008

Another aesthetic calamity of an 1860s-era locomotive was Southern Pacific 4–4–0T no. 1008 which apparently began life as a conventional tender-equipped road engine, then was downgraded to work-train and switching service. This, in effect a "rebuilder" photograph, was taken upon the hapless machines emergence from Espee's Sacramento Shops about 1890. With a cumbersome crane mounted on the pilot beam and tiny fifty-gallon-capacity water tanks under the cab, this engine could not wander far from the shops area. The fluted cap on the sandbox reveals that she was built by the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works of Paterson New Jersey, long regarded as having been perhaps the most quality-oriented of all American locomotive manufacturers—although she hardly looks it in this picture!


Glendon Iron Co. "Alert"

Little narrow-gauge industrial tank engines have rarely been accorded more than passing acknowledgment by most railway historians, since they have been generally plain, awkward and even comical, compared to their larger main-line cousins. However, back in the second half of the nineteenth century, locomotive builders lavished great care on the construction of even the smallest and most obscure of engines. Probably, they felt—rightly so—that when their builders plates were affixed to a machine, it became a representative of the firm's handiwork and worthy of the attention paid to all of the company's products. No doubt the tiny Alert, shown posed on a standard-gauge track with a timber supporting the near wheels (why the timber wasn't used instead on the opposite side is a mystery), was rarely noticed by anyone but sweaty, grimy iron workers after she left the M. Baird & Company (a Baldwin subsidiary) works in March 1870. No matter, because the builders knew that for a few weeks at least, the officials of the Glendon Iron Co. would consider the tiny 0–4–0T to be an object of pride and a symbol of its prosperity, so she was outfitted with a paneled cab, shaded lettering, striping and a headlight fit for an engine four times her size! The gentleman wearing a jacket, celluloid collar and tie was probably a manager at Baird—or possibly the superintendent of the railroad operation at Glendon, down to witness the first firing-up of the brand-new saddle-tank switcher.


Ferro-Carril de Salaverry á Trujillo No. 9

Diminutive plantation engines, not too far removed in basic development from FerroCarril de Salaverry á Trujillo no. 9, named Chocope, were still active on the sugarcane lines of Cuba in the 1990s. Especially prominent on this little narrow-gauge 0–4–2T (of the 1885–1915 era) is the crosshead-mounted water pump, a forerunner of the modern injector, used to admit water to the boiler. Although such devices had disappeared from main-line power on most railroads by 1900, they may still be found on some of the smaller sugar-plantation engines in Cuba, the one country where railway technology may be observed still existing in various phases from 1870s steam to present-day diesel operations.


Excerpted from American Locomotives in Historic Photographs by Ron Ziel. Copyright © 1993 Ron Ziel. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Pennsylvania Railroad No. 1
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 216
Eastern Pennsylvania Railroad No. 7
Union Pacific Railroad No. 90
Broadway Railroad No. 4
"Chimbote Railway "Emilia"
"Chicago & North-Western Railway "Alexander Mitchell"
Southern Pacific Railway No. 1008
"Glendon Iron Co. "Alert"
Ferro-Carril de Salaverry á Trujillo No. 9
Grand Trunk Railway No. 283
Central Railroad of New Jersey No. 125
Central Railroad
Boston and Maine Railroad No. 47
"Ashland Iron Co. "Edward Patterson"
"Hilliard & Bailey's Lumber Railroad "Florida"
"Brooklyn, Bath & Coney Island Railroad "George"
"Camden, Gloucester & Mt. Ephraim Railroad No. 2"
New York Elevated Railroad No. 24
Long Island Rail Road No. 71
"Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway No. 91"
Cincinnati Inclined Plane Railway No. 1
"Boston, New York & Philadelphia Railroad No. 65"
Cia. E. de F. Barão de Araruama No. 3
Saint Louis & San Francisco Railroad No. 2
Ferrocarril Interoceánico No. 20
T. L. Hackney Locomotive
Gilpin Tramway No. 181
Fort Bragg Railroad Co. No. 2
"New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad No. 149"
Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad No. 2
Usal Railroad No. 1
Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway No. 6
Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad No. 3
South Side Rapid Transit No. 1
Greenfield & Northern Railroad No. 4
Lehigh Valley Railroad No. 708
"Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway No. 125"
"Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad No. 2"
Erie Railroad No. 512
Seaboard Air Line Railway No. 606
Union Pacific Railroad No. 9
W.I. Company No. 16
Southern Pacific Railway No. 3048
Great Northern Railway No. 1800
Ferrocarril de Guantánamo
"Dai Nippon Seito Kwaisha, Ltd., No. 1"
South Manchurian Railway No. 1
Lehigh & Hudson River Railway No. 64
"Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway No. 1301"
California Western Railway & Navigation Company No. 7
Lehigh Valley Railroad No. 1597
Lehigh & New England Railroad No. 32
"Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad No. 290"
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 5400
"Louisiana State Penitentiary "Jack"
Croft Lumber Company No. 4
Nevada-California-Oregon Railway No. 14
Erie Railroad No. 2603
Union Pacific Railroad No. 187
Great Northern Railway No. 1755
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 9710
Illinois Central Railroad No. 1701
New York Central Railroad No. 3983
Virginian Railway No. 700
Southern Railway No. 4537
Imperial Russian Railways Ye Class No. 541
Central Railroad of New Jersey No. 825
Chaparra Railroad Company No. 33
Kin-Han Railway No. 351
"Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway No. 333"
Texas-Mexican Railway No. 1
"Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad No. 399"
Nickel Plate Road No. 627
Imperial Forest Railway of Japan
Lake Independence Lumber Company No. 4
Grand Trunk Western Railway No. 8222
Long Island Rail Road No. 268
Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad No. 43
Insular Lumber Company No. 7
Lima Locomotive Works No. 1
Texas & Pacific Railway No. 600
Ferrocarril del Pacífico No. 63
Manila Railway No. 144
"Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway No. 3450"
Baldwin Locomotive Works No. 60000
Boston and Maine Railroad No. 4000
Erie Railroad No. 3389
New York Central Railroad No. 5271
Boston & Albany Railroad No. 610
Nickel Plate Road No. 177
Royal State Railways of Siam
Southern Pacific Lines No. 4114
Alton and Southern Railroad No. 14
Durham and Southern Railroad No. 200
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 6775
Chicago Great Western Railroad No. 854
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway No. 3004
"Duluth, Missabe & Iron Rane Railroad No. 223"
Lehigh Valley Railroad No. 5101
Pittsburgh and West Virginia Railroad No. 1101
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México No. 3000
Union Railroad No. 303
Boston and Maine Railroad No. 3715
Kansas City Southern Railroad No. 900
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad No. 3702
"New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad No. 1408"
New York Central Railroad No. 5453
"Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway No. 5004"
Frisco Lines No. 1065
Southern Pacific Lines No. 3800
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 6100
New York Central Railroad No. 3037
Union Pacific Railroad No. 3976
Union Pacific Railroad No. 4002
Boston and Maine Railroad No. 4117
Southern Pacific Lines No. 4436
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway No. 1605
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway No. 246
Western Maryland Railway No. 6
Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français 141.R No. 446
Polish State Railways Ty246 No. 91
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway No. 610
Louisville & Nashville Railroad No. 1970
Nickel Plate Road No. 779

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