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 Post subject: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
We certainly decry the misuse of diamond stacks in amusement park locomotives...
But when were they properly used on locomotives? What era, region or set of operating conditions made them necessary?
And what's inside the diamond that makes it work differently, why a diamond and not another shape?


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Location: Between Things
Good questions. I also await the answers!

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:35 pm 
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Location: Northeastern US
I was always under impression that the diamond shape (housed a spark arrestor of some kind that) kept sparks swirling around just long enough that they would extinguish themselves before being ejected. WW&F No 10 had a diamond stack...it was replaced by a tall tapered stack and separate spark arrestor inside the smokebox.

Stephen


Last edited by Stephen Hussar on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3054
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Well, I'll give this a shot, and as usual, will be glad to accept corrections and additional details as others can provide them. (In any event, I strongly recommend John White's "American Locomotives, An Engineering History, 1830--1880," which has a whole section on this.)

Early locomotive smokebox design was to keep the smokebox as small as possible, on the theory that it was easier to create the vacuum for the draft in a smaller volume than a larger one. Very early locomotives in England ran on coke, which didn't have much in the way of sparks, but the wood that became favored in the early days of American railroading put out what amounted to a fireworks display. From the descriptions of the fires in people's clothing on the first run of the DeWitt Clinton, one wonders if the passengers weren't nude or nearly so at the end of the trip! Some way had to be found to keep those flaming embers inside the engine, while at the same time still allowing something like a reasonable draft.

In America, this most commonly was a "balloon" stack, funnel shaped. Basically, it was a straight stack inside a round hopper, with a deflector plate and screen at the top. This link from New Zealand illustrates a common design, and looks identical to what is on David Markoff's "Eureka:"

http://www.fronz.org.nz/technical/arrestors.pdf

Over the years there were a lot of variations on this. Some used variations of centrifugal baffles, as in the case of the Rushton and Radley-Hunter designs. Coal burners didn't shoot quite so many sparks, and the "embers" were smaller, hence the use of a smaller diamond stack on those.

http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/transferseu/dwg.jpg

http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/spark_arr ... .small.jpg

Rushton:

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_bo ... shs2d2.jpg

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_bo ... /shs2d.htm

Radley-Hunter--note the spiral baffles to create a centrifugal motion under the screen near the top:

http://www.saunalahti.fi/~animato/3003/rhstack.gif

Some attempts were rather bizarre:

http://spec.lib.vt.edu/imagebase/norfol ... ns716.jpeg

Later variations of spark arresting gear were enclosed inside the smokebox itself, usually incorporating baffles and screens. Part of this was driven by alternate theories and studies on gas flows, and part was driven by smokeboxes becoming larger as boilers got fatter, causing locomotives to "swallow their stacks," as one writer put it. (You may not think so to look at it, but the little, short stub of a stack you seen on large modern locomotives is just part of a larger, longer unit inside the smokebox; include all that, and the modern stack is really as tall as those of the 19th century or taller).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sel_cleaning.svg

In short, diamond and balloon stacks are associated with 19th century locomotives of relatively small size. They were not entirely restricted to this; the Shays at Cass feature a Lima-designed diamond stack that at least some of the Shays wore when new, and No. 2 (Pacific Coast Shay, originally built for Mayo Lumber), was originally a wood-burner with what I recall as a squat version of a Radley-Hunter. There is another narrow-gauge Shay around with a Rushton stack, which is notable as the last wood-fired Shay built by Lima (I think 1936). You normally didn't see these on later, fatter engines, but I understand the Burlington had some locomotives like this in a territory where the fuel was a horrible lignite-like material that was very lightweight and thus prone to throwing sparks.

Lima diamond:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 1&nseq=151

With the top screen loose for draft while standing:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mDvLdOz0uZo/T ... W_5530.jpg

http://lyonvalleynorthern.blogspot.com/ ... lroad.html

Lima's last wood-fired Shay:

http://www.discoverlivesteam.com/magazine/b87b.jpg

Why we hate fake stacks used to make steam engines look older--from "Jonah Hex:"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uySQvxQHbdI

Great Western 75 in "Breakheart Pass" actually looks a bit like the Burlington engines mentioned above--and they and the 75 still looked awful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDrSCTUtAs

Ditto for the paint on the 75:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQTIELqA ... re=related

Sometimes you still get sparks--seen here in Great Britain, courtesy of A-4 "Sir Nigel Gresley:"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX1P9G9YjPY

Not related to this, but looks so good I had to include it anyway; strange to see how small British trains are compared to our own.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&featu ... Y87_flBpFg

Another discussion on just this subject:

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/150656/1668052.aspx

Have fun.


Last edited by J3a-614 on Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:59 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Diamond stacks were intended to contain spark arrestor screens. Generally, there were diamond stacks used for coal burners, and funnel stacks used for wood burners. So the diamond stack was a later genre than the funnel stack. There were countless variations of shapes and designs with both types.

Around mid to late 1880s, a new school of thought emerged whereby the screens were removed from the stack and placed in the smokebox, which was elongated for the purpose. At the same time, the diamond stack was replaced by the shotgun stack.

Following this change of concept, thousands of 4-4-0s were rebuilt with shotgun stacks and extended smokeboxes. In my opinion, this sweeping change was the largest wholesale loss of aesthetics in railroad locomotive history. The reason is that this was a shop conversion to the original well balanced looking design, and the lengthened smokebox gave locomotives a sort of ungainly, gooseneck look.

Later, 4-4-0s were manufactured with the longer smoke boxes and shotgun stacks, and these looked fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3054
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
"In my opinion, this sweeping change was the largest wholesale loss of aesthetics in railroad locomotive history."--Ron Travis

Off topic, but what has to be the most horrible single loss of aesthetics in railroad locomotive history:

Before:

http://www.nkyviews.com/mason/mason466.htm

After:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 312&nseq=2

I have to admit I am glad she is still around, but still. . .whew. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:02 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Yes, I agree about the “bathtub” streamlining in general. But for the 4-4-0 modification, I rate the size of the loss of aesthetics by the quantity as well as the quality. And nearly every 4-4-0 in existence was converted, thus suffering this uglification. Actually, it really was not a big change, but somehow it was an aesthetic showstopper.

One smokestack curiosity that I have wondered about is the flange stack or cap stack. Aside from some more modern era flange stacks, they were widely used in the transition from diamond stacks to shotgun stacks. I always had a hard time believing that the railroads of that period would have reverted to flange stacks purely as ornamentation.

So in pondering this, I have come up with a theory. What I see in flange stacks of the 1890s is no taper in the shotgun barrel. Whereas visible taper is typical of the regular shotgun stack. Therefore, I believe that the stack barrel is made as a rolled sheet of wrought iron in order to reduce the cost of a stack full casting.

So the cylindrical stack tube is attached to the cast iron base and to the cast iron cap. The cap would help stabilize the relatively thin barrel, especially at the top, and perhaps was intended to create a drip edge so liquid did not run down the sides of the stack.

But I cannot understand why roads like the T&P used flanges on modern stubby stacks. I assume those were cast integrally with the whole stack.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3054
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I hadn't thought about the use of a ring to stabilize a thin, sheet-metal stack, but that could be a reason, along with the drip edge.

The taper of shotguns (and of the short stubby stack, which is really much longer, you just don't see all of it) is to allow for the steam to expand as it rises up the stack, improving the draft.

Modern caps, as on the T&P example mentioned, were truly an ornamental touch, and were not part of the stack itself, as noted in this photo of T&P 2-10-4 666:

http://www.shorpy.com/node/4501?size=_original

http://www.shorpy.com/node/4501

By the way, while some would call this locomotive "the devil engine" with that number combination, she was also more widely known as "Old Chill Tonic," a reference to a cold remedy sold back then:

http://www.shorpy.com/node/5558

http://www.shorpy.com/node/5558?size=_original

Aach, it's still around!

http://www.monticellodrug.com/products/ ... -prep.html


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:11 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
The NC&StL also used flange stacks into the modern era. Photos indicate a seam between the stack and the flange or cap similar to the T&P #666. Here is a photo of an earlier NC&StL engine with a taller flange stack. That photo and another one of a similar engine suggest a non-taped stack barrel similar to the 1890-era practice. Here it is:

http://www.ncstl.com/ericfleet/images/w ... lesta6.jpg

But on later locomotives with cast stacks, would a company want a flange just for looks? Nothing else on the #666, for instance appears to be just for ornamentation.

Here is another thought. What is the lip or bead for that is cast as part of the discharge opening of every straight stack? It looks right, but what does it contribute? You never see anything like that on industrial stacks.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:45 pm
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How did the flange stacks work exactly and what were the advantages to having spark arrestors outside the smokebox?


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
Ron Travis wrote:
Around mid to late 1880s, a new school of thought emerged whereby the screens were removed from the stack and placed in the smokebox, which was elongated for the purpose. At the same time, the diamond stack was replaced by the shotgun stack.

Following this change of concept, thousands of 4-4-0s were rebuilt with shotgun stacks and extended smokeboxes. In my opinion, this sweeping change was the largest wholesale loss of aesthetics in railroad locomotive history.


I learn so much about steam on the RyPN Interchange.

Ron, I'm looking at a photo of an 1882-built 4-4-0 that operates on the Prairie Dog Central. Photo here:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_sL3WQYmDW_A/T ... G_2909.JPG
Is this an example of a rebuilt, extended smokebox that you're talking about? The smokebox does seem shorter on very old photos of the locomotive.

A history of this loco, complete with old photos, is here:
http://www.pdcrailway.com/History/equipment.htm

Thanks for your insights.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:55 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
FLO,

Number 3 has an extended smokebox as seen in the top photo as well as the photos from 1959 and 1923. And as #22, it definitely has the original short smokebox. A most common characteristic of engines built with the short smokebox is to have the box headlight mounted cantilevered out ahead of the smokebox front. When they extended the smokebox, the headlight stayed in the same location relative to the whole locomotive, and the smokebox was extended forward under the headlight, so the headlight then sat astride the smokebox.

I am not familiar with the builder, Dubs & Company. I do recall reading something about this locomotive back in the 1960s.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
Ron,
Thank you. I just finished looking at numerous photos of 4-4-0's online. The extended smokebox rebuild is now very obvious to me. Now that my eye is trained, I agree it does detract quite a bit from the looks of the locomotive.


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3054
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
It might be of interest to note that two identical locomotives survive, one with a short smokebox and diamond stack, and the other with an extended smokebox and straight stack.

B&O 173 is today at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis; this photo dates from when the engine was about to be sent there from the historic collection of locomotives once maintained by Perdue University. Little note of trivia--supposedly the NKP Hudson type that is now in the same museum is the locomotive that brought the Perdue collection to St. Louis!

http://www.railroadheritage.org/SPT--Fu ... Screenshot

The other is the restored No. 305 at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, which has been profiled here, and has the short smokebox:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=31577&p=159917&hilit=b%26o+305#p159917

Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Diamond stacks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:31 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Here is an example of an extended smokebox, which I assume was done as a rebuild of the original locomotive. It shows what it can do to the appearance of a locomotive:

http://www.ahrtp.com/HallofFameOnline1/ ... -4-0BM.htm

By the bell mounting frame, the cylinder valve chests, and the drivers, I speculate that this locomotive was built by Manchester Locomotive Works in the 1876-1880 era. You can see where the original smokebox ended at that double line of rivets just ahead of the stack. The extension has considerably more than doubled the original length of the smokebox. The original diamond stack has been replaced by a straight flange stack.

I can’t rule out the possibility that this locomotive is shown as built, however. When builders began building new locomotives according to the new pattern of extended front ends, some may have looked very similar to the rebuild conversions of the era. I have not seen builder’s photos showing engines first appearing with the modernized front-end arrangement. However, later photos of the improved 4-4-0s, as built, are fairly common. By that time, the builders had reconciled the larger smokebox into better proportions to the overall locomotive.


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