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 Post subject: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:01 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:26 am
Posts: 5
Recently, a friend asked me to find out the history of the object in the attached picture. As far as I have been able to discover, the L&C RR stands for the Lancaster & Chester Railroad of those counties in South Carolina [see attached map]. The owner at that time had a great sense of humor, thus all the Vice Presidents, Surgeons, etc. There is no other railroad that I could find with those letters.

This object looks like a plow piece and could have been an attachment on a locomotive snow plow, ditcher, spreader or even a plow used to build the railroad. The interesting thing is that this piece was found just north of Durango along the D&S track about 30 years ago. It weighs 30-40 pounds.

In researching the L&S, I found that it was a narrow gauge railroad back around 1900 for approximately six years prior to its' being retracked to standard gauge. The timing is such that I was thinking the D&RGW may have purchased some of the L&S equipment about that time.

The Colorado State Railroad Museum was contacted by my friend and they had no idea what it was or the history of it. I have tried them again and other organizations trying to gain insight about the piece. Nothing yet.

So, 1] I am trying to verify if the information I have is correct plus any additional information someone might share, and 2] what the object is. My friend would be willing to give it up if he could find a proper home for it.

Respectfully yours, Brooks

Brooks Wilson
Friends of the C&TS RR


Attachments:
L&C 1951 [reduced].jpg
L&C 1951 [reduced].jpg [ 157.46 KiB | Viewed 3497 times ]
L&C RR Artifact (TES).jpg
L&C RR Artifact (TES).jpg [ 230.06 KiB | Viewed 3497 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:53 pm
Posts: 49
It looks like a moldboard piece to me. But I could be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:56 pm
Posts: 173
Location: Norwalk, Ohio
Well that's a interesting artifact with nice raised letters from a RR. The 3 bolt holes thru it are they tapered/countersunk on the backside so that a bolt head would be flush with the surface? If i remember correctly most plow moldboard pcs. i've seen the holes were that way so the bolt head would be flush.

Is that a raised arrow below the middle bolt hole? I've never seen or found any rusty RR iron like that along any RR grades before.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2004 5:48 pm
Posts: 345
Location: Hickory, NC
The Lancaster & Chester was originally a narrow gauge line that converted to standard around 1899/1900. They sold a lot of their NG equipment off at that time to other narrow gauge lines and brokers. I would suggest sending an email to the L&C- attention Ed Sharpe. He maintains their museum and there are extensive records from the 1890's on up of what they sold and to whom, including invoices, query letters, etc.

That is a beautiful piece of something!

Matt Bumgarner


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:26 am
Posts: 5
For Matt Bumgarner: Thanks for your reply and thoughts. I have written Mr. Sharpe and we'll see what he has to say.

Kind regards, Brooks


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:56 pm 

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

How thick is that iron? The raised letters and that little standing rib feature suggest that this is cast, but I am curious as to what the breaks look like if we could turn the part 90 degrees to the view of the photo. I wonder if the two breaks would reveal the material to be wrought iron. If it is wrought iron, the raised features would have had to be forged into the piece rather than being cast in.

What I am thinking this could be is a piece of a truck equalizing bar. I can’t view the whole photo on the forum. If I open it in another program, I can see the whole part. The curves remind me of the one end of an equalizer bar where the bar gracefully arches up to bear its end on the top of a journal box. The rest of the bar is at a lower elevation. If this is what it is, then the break to the right side would be very close to the journal box. The break at the left side is where the bar attains it lowest elevation, and from there, it would extend several feet to the other journal box. I would expect the thickness of this piece to be about one inch if it is part of an equalizer bar.

Generally, I expect this type of truck equalizer bar was used on passenger trucks and maybe tender trucks. I see some examples in The Car Builder’s Dictionary (1879).

If it is a truck equalizer bar, it raises the question of how it became broken off as a fragment. I suppose they could have broken in normal use, but that would leave only one break for the found fragment. However, the piece has two breaks. This would seem to imply a derailment and wreck. A failure at one break would cause a derailment, which would lead to a second impact causing the second break. Otherwise, I cannot picture how a normal loading factor would break the bar in two places simultaneously.

If the fragment was produced in a wreck, it might mark the site of a historical wreck. And that wreck site may contain many other pieces of railroad iron.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:39 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:26 am
Posts: 5
For Ron Travis:

Thanks, Ron, for your thoughts. I have never seen the piece in person. The pictures are all I have. I will copy and forward your note to the gentleman who has the piece for his info/action. He was leaving on holiday, so am not sure he is gone yet or staying in touch. Let's see what he has to say.

I will also copy Ed Sharpe of the Lancaster & Chester RR whom I have written before, but not had a reply. He apparently keeps a lot of the history for that RR available.

Brooks


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:40 pm
Posts: 338
Location: Hamilton, Illinois
This post brought back memories. I remember that when I was a boy my father was greatly amused to read me the Official Guide listing for the Lancaster & Chester, with all the famous names listed as officers. Elliott Springs, who owned Springs Cotton Mills, had purchased the railroad that served his industry and enlisted his friends as members of his mythical board of directors. The railroad had more vice presidents (32) than miles of track (29). Some of its "officers" were famous personages and a few were given titles appropriate to their line of work, including:

--James Montgomery Flagg, well-known artist and illustrator
--Charles MacArthur, playwright married to actress Helen Hayes
--Admiral William F. Halsey of WWII Pacific fame - Vice President in Charge of White Horse Supply (not sure what the connection was)
--John Reed King, radio and TV game show host
--Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous stripper - Vice President in Charge of Unveiling
--Lucius Beebe, famous rail writer and gourmand - Vice President in Charge of the Internal Audit (no doubt because of his interest in food)
--Lowell Thomas, popular NBC and CBS newscaster - Press Agent
--R. J. Reynolds, Jr. (son of the founder of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco) - Marine Superintendent (the L&C was nowhere near any type of water transportation, but Reynolds lived on Sapelo Island, Georgia)
--Clair Maxwell, one-time publisher of LIFE magazine - News Butcher (someone who sells newspapers and snacks on a train)

_________________
Richard Leonard's Rail Archive
www.railarchive.net


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:24 pm 

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

Looking at the artifact, except for the two broken edges, the entire profile is a system of curves. Those curves represent the fundamental and universal structural signature of the two ends of a truck equalizer bar. The configuration could vary, but every single equalizer bar would have that signature of curves. The curves are intended to allow the bar to carry an offset, cantilevered load with as little stress concentration as possible.

Also, there is a lot of precedent for railroads casting their initials into truck parts, so they get them back after derailments. So the visible raised letters representing the Lancaster & Chester Railroad do not conflict with my assumption that this is a broken off fragment of a truck equalizing bar. However, the concept for the truck equalizer bar was universal and used with trucks owned by many different railroads. So if my assumption is correct, the part conceptually would not be unique to the L&C per se. It would be used by many different railroads. The raised letters on the artifact indicate that this particular piece of a truck equalizer bar belonged to the L&C.

If this artifact was lost in a wreck, it would be interesting to research the line where it was found to see if any historically known wrecks occurred that might have been related to the loss of this old fragment.

Does the person who owns this artifact have any idea what it is? It would be interesting to learn how the piece was found. There is a lot of lost iron buried along old railroad grades. It all has a story to tell. Most bent spikes talk about being pulled. Broken truck parts talk about a bad day on the railroad.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:26 am
Posts: 5
For Ron Travis:

I have looked at a book I have, "The American Railroad Freight Car," by John H. White, Jr., and can find nothing in the various descriptions of freight trucks from that era showing or identifying a part as a truck equalizing bar on an arch bar truck. Could there be a different descriptive name for the part? Please, if you could/would, send me a picture[s] of what you had in your Car Builder's Dictionary. I am at Brooks@ADanceofLight.com if you aren't able to put pics on this site.

I got a message from the owner of the part and he was getting ready to leave on a trip this morning, so didn't have the time to send a picture of the thickness angles. He did say that the "left side with the straight vertical edge is the thickest, as I recall maybe 3/8" or close to 1/2," and the metal on the far right substantially tapered down to maybe 1/4," maybe slightly more." He said he will take more pictures when he returns [around 7 November].

The part owner said he was camping north of Durango in 1980 when he found the part as he walked along the tracks of the D&S. Perhaps, the Colorado Railroad Museum would have records of a wreck near the 1900-1920 [I'm guessing] time frame, but that still wouldn't tell us what the part was.

I'll keep at it.... Thanks, Brooks


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:58 pm 

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

The type of truck with an equalizing bar is primarily a passenger car truck, so it does not appear much in The American Railroad Freight car. However, it does show up on some of the cabooses shown in the book. For instance, on page 432, there is a photo of a PRR wrecking train caboose. Looking at the nearest truck, the two coil springs have their bottoms attached to the truck equalizer bar. You can see the ends of the equalizer bar rise up so they can bear on the tops of the journal boxes. You can see the curved edges where the ends of the bar rise up. It appears that the bar is about 1” to 1.5” thick, which is what I would expect.

I don’t see how that bar could be as thin as ¼ or even ½ inch, so you would need to confirm the thickness of the artifact with the owner. However, considering the size and the weight of 40 lbs., it seems like the thickness would have to be around one inch or more. It looks like the area of the piece might be about 1 sq. ft. That would weigh 40 lbs. if it were one inch thick.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:06 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Bendena KS
If it is an equalizer, I would guess that it may have come from a passenger car truck. The attached grainy photo shows a truck from a Colorado & Southern narrow gauge car for reference. Alternatley it could be from a locomotive.

Of course, even once we know what the heck it is, that does not explain why a part from an obscure and short lived southern narrow gauge railroad ended up along the Denver & Rio Grande in Colorado!

One of Otto Mears' railroads in Silverton is a possibility, though none of the references I have show a car coming from the Lancaster & Chester, however a coach of unknown heritage was purchased second hand in 1890 and a used Pullman Buffet/sleeper came along in 1906.

From what I can find of the L&C, it existed as the narrow gauge Lancaster & Chester Railway from 1896 to 1902 and all of its narrow gauge equipment seems to have been sold to the ET&WNC. Note that the part has L&C RR (not Ry.) cast onto it.

All in all an interesting mystery.

Jason Midyette


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001.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:33 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:42 pm
Posts: 34
The Lancaster & Chester, known locally as the "Joe Palooka Line", was owned by Springs Cotton Mills Inc., a major textile producer of the time. Colonel Elliot Springs and his family were the owners of the firm and the railroad. It ran between Lancaster and Chester, SC, connecting two of his large factories, and connecting to the "outside" as well. A bit of trivia: the two plants were named the "Elliot" plant and the "Frances" plant, after himself and his wife. I personally visited the Elliot plant on a business trip in the '60's and photographed a box car there lettered for the L&S. The surviving company exists today as Springs Industries, and market their products under the trade name "Springmaid".


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:57 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Here is a link to an image showing the truck equalizer bar:

https://archive.org/stream/carbuildersd ... 7/mode/2up

Look at page 265 for a side elevation view. The truck equalizing lever is identified as item #71.


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 Post subject: Re: RR Artifact Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:39 pm
Posts: 6
I don't think that's part of an equalizer. Equalizers generally were forged rectangular in section, lacking holes and raised letters, which would be stress points.
I am leaning toward somethind like a plow, scraper blade (Flanger) or similar.


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