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 Post subject: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:32 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:08 am
Posts: 45
Location: Severna Park, MD
Hi Folks,

I did some searching here on the forum, but couldn't quite find what I was looking for. As we know, the 1941 Locomotive Cyclopedia is fairly common due to its reprint by Kalmbach in the early 70's... the 1944 (?) and 1947 editions seem to be much less common, ergo, much more expensive.

I'm interested in reading about the last "cutting edge" designs of superheaters (ASW and the like), Franklin Type B poppets and the flurry of all the other random accessories that Franklin used to make (spring buffers, etc...)

My question is, for folks who have several 1940's editions, is there much of a difference? I know that might be a loaded question.

Thanks very much,

v/r,
Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:28 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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There is a relatively enormous difference between the '41 and '47 Cycs on technical detail. By the time of the '50 to '52 Cycs you are well out of the postwar 'steam bubble' and there are far fewer steam-specific ads or discussions -- but if you want descriptions of the late (and, some would argue, finally actually workable) versions of the Franklin System of Steam Distribution, of course that's what you would need.

I had a copy of the '47 Cyc, referred to it so often the binding fell apart, and then found and bought another copy. It's that useful. It would be a great service to all of us if someone would acquire the rights as they did for the '41 version and digitize it as an accessible resource -- ideally finding the original or comparable photographs for some of the technical items like continuous-contour Franklin type B/C so they could be enlarged past halftone moire.

Similarly the Babcock & Wilcox 'Steam: Its Generation and Use' is of best value in the early-Fifties editions for application to locomotive practice. The only mention of the locomotive boiler on the N&W TE-1 is in the '55-'56 version ... and it is only mentioned in passing, with a little cut of the boiler under steam test.

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:23 am
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Location: willow grove pa
Just as a reference the Babcock publication is available for purchase at the following
https://www.babcock.com/en/resources/st ... on-and-use


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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:53 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1506
Quote:
"Just as a reference the Babcock publication is available for purchase... "

Keep in mind that'll be the 42nd edition, probably very heavy on cogen, renewable firing, ultrasupercritical-quality alloys ... and having almost no relevance except in broad engineering terms to historic preservation of reciprocating steam locomotives. Remember this was put out by a high-pressure watertube boiler manufacturer, doubling as a maker of industrial recovery stuff, and the discussions are slanted accordingly.

For those interested just in a broader knowledge of general steam-generation technologies, an older edition is probably a better use of capital; you can find suitable older editions fairly easily on eBay or from used booksellers at reasonable prices if you wait for the right opportunity to come along. In my opinion the 1963 edition is already too 'recent' -- for some reason there are all sorts of copies of the 37th edition (1955, the first edition that mentions supercritical steam practice) but not the previous edition -- anything from the '30s or earlier is likely to be too ancient for more than general practice. Even in the 37th edition, the explanation of creep is more than a little primitive. I'd be interested to see Matt Austin's recommendations on 'core texts' for locomotive-centric learning.

(Incidentally, Simmons-Boardman periodically reprinted editions of Johnson's steam-locomotive book -- my copy was the 1983 (!) edition and I've seen a copy of the 2002 (!!) edition. No editorial changes, I suspect (and there sure are a couple that ought to be made!) but you wouldn't pay book-dealer price for a new copy any more than I did.)

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
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Location: Southern California
Overmod wrote:
(Incidentally, Simmons-Boardman periodically reprinted editions of Johnson's steam-locomotive book -- my copy was the 1983 (!) edition and I've seen a copy of the 2002 (!!) edition. No editorial changes, I suspect (and there sure are a couple that ought to be made!) but you wouldn't pay book-dealer price for a new copy any more than I did.)

Here is an on-line entrance point for the Simmons-Boardman railroad related books:
Simmons-Boardman Books - TRANSAlert.com

and here is the webpage for the Johnson book mentioned:
The Steam Locomotive, by Ralph P. Johnson, M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:37 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:08 am
Posts: 45
Location: Severna Park, MD
Hi Everyone,

Thanks very much for the recommendations! Sounds like I really need to track down a 1947 edition to read about the late steam tech I'm curious about/researching.

I presume I'll need to save up, unless, Overmod, you'd be interested in selling your "falling apart" copy? :)

The Johnson text sounds applicable too. I may stick that one on my Christmas list.

"Matt Austin's recommendations on 'core texts' for locomotive-centric learning"

Yes! I'd like to expand beyond my current collection of "Basic Steam Locomotive Maintenance" and "The American Steam Locomotive in the 20th Century" into a more technical library. Not that there's anything wrong with those, but I'd just like to dig a little deeper into the engineering (I'm a physicist by training) while scratching the itch of learning about all of the "gadgets" that came out in the late steam era (pyrometers, valve pilot, backpressure gauges, and all that fluff.)

Thanks again for all your input, and let me know if there are other titles I should be pursuing too! ;)

-Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:03 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1506
Quote:
"I presume I'll need to save up, unless, Overmod, you'd be interested in selling your "falling apart" copy? :)"

I'd send it to you free -- if I knew where it was in storage, or indeed even if it made it there completely. (The replacement copy was extensively mildewed, part of why I got it so cheap, and even though remediated you might not want that one either... ;-})

BTW, I now see that another 'scam' edition of a Locomotive Cyclopedia is now hitting eBay -- this time from an outfit that calls itself "Franklin Classics" or "Franklin Trade Press". They carefully dodge mentioning which edition of the 'Cyc they're copying, but are careful to mention it's "in the public domain" -- which to me says they're reprinting the 1922 edition that you can download free from Google Books and then print out at enlarged scale for reference. (That's not to say there isn't valuable material in that edition, but it's more of historical than 'educational' value for the most part compared to the '47 Cyc.)

As I recall, there was a digital 'online' version of the '41 Cyc, and certainly at least one modern reprint. This is better than either 'no Cyc at all' or an earlier print version, but it will not contain many of the more interesting late-steam developments.

There's an interesting range of design documentation about steam, some of which (like Fry's discussion of boiler design in 1922) are valuable conceptually but the formulae are so full of empirical constants as to make them worthless either as design tools or good predictors. In my opinion the same is true of the surviving documentation from the Superheater Company on element design: they could do this really well with their experts 'back in the day', but both the company's experts and any good formal documentation of their specific competence or professional discipline are likely now long gone.

My first recommendation is actually a bit of a strange one: contact Chris Newman at what remains of the 5AT project (it is now a consultancy) and buy a complete set of Wardale's FDCs. These were specifically written as a guide to learn all the processes used, in order, to design and then construct a modern steam locomotive in the relative absence of computers, CFD and FEA, etc. Most of what's in technical discussions like Johnson's will be more comprehensible if you have worked through the FDCs in order and understood how all the systems on a steam locomotive are supposed to interrelate with each other (for best economy at least cost back in the day; for different reasons in preservation).

At some point you will want to buy, read, and hopefully treasure Wardale's book on the Red Devil -- but that is not something to read as an introduction to proper steam design. You also need to balance Wardale's views on certain subjects with what you'll learn from some people on this forum who have a distinctly different view of them.

Be aware that Johnson does not have a full discussion on the advantages (and disadvantages!) of lightweight balancing, the detail design of Timken "100mph" rods, and (surprisingly, given the context) anything to do with the duplex concept or the desirability thereof. You will still have to put this together guided by sources that contain known fibskis (like Parker Lamb's Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive or Bill Withuhn's American Steam Locomotives)

Some of the advances in 'state of the art' aren't adequately technically covered in any published book -- the ACE3000 project being one, and things like Deem's proposed conjugation of a Q2-sized locomotive being others. You will not find any discussion of the Langer balancer, Snyder preheaters, or Cunningham circulators in these texts, although their application to practice ought to be valuable; they were effectively stillborn or came 'too late' in application to make any great or lasting difference. I have regretfully come to the conclusion that some of the important aspects of the art of casting complex engine beds has been lost (although it might be recoverable, perhaps like the true Delmonico Steak recipe). Only through time, reading, and careful note-taking to build up your knowledge of locomotives as a whole will you get to the point where you appreciate many of the reasons things might be done practically, as well as why things are done in practice as they are. (Someone like Kelly is an invaluable resource for you in these respects!)

Be very mindful of the differences between railroad steam practice and things outside that context, particularly once-through watertube boilers in powerplant service or marine boilers. There are some fairly dramatic cautionary tales in locomotive history, some going back to the 1880s, where misunderstanding or misapplication of 'other' practice in a railroad environment led to ... issues. Take pains to know not to follow in those footsteps...

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:41 pm 
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I have a copy of 1941 and 1944 editions (both originals, not reprints, I'm not aware of any reprint of the 1944 edition anyway).
There's a big difference in what each cover, because a lot happened in such a short timeframe. A lot of 'export' locomotives are listed in '44 due to the war.
As for specifics, I'd have to go back and compare them, but a lot of superpower info is in the latter that is lacking from the '41 edition.
I got them mostly because I model 1943 and I am very interested in anything from the WW2 years.
One surprise for me personally was Porter fireless 0-6-6 #1 from the North American Rayon plant at Elizabethton, TN (an engine I saw several times under steam and got to sit in the cab under steam once) is in the '41 edition, even though she was about 5 years old by then...

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:50 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1506
Quote:
"One surprise for me personally was Porter fireless 0-6-6 [sic?] ... is in the '41 edition, even though she was about 5 years old by then..."

Keep in mind that the Simmons-Boardman Cyclopedias were both a 'reference source' and an implicit work of advertising -- I think of Thomas Guides very similarly.

As such, if a product line didn't change, but was still relevant, a manufacturer might still prominently feature it in "later" advertising -- particularly if it were valuable as a piece of display advertising, due to some design details like better paint or potential glowing recommendations from the owner. I suspect you will see other examples of this as you work through different editions of the Cyc, perhaps even observing the same layout repeated, now that you know to look for it.

As I recall some manufacturers of auxiliary stuff had a Packard-like attitude to innovation when they considered their 'quality manufacture' superior. In a fundamentally conservative period in railroad 'buying' we could probably expect more of this than in an era of forced technical improvement like WWII.

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:14 pm 

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I've not used the Locomotive Cyclopedia much, but have made extensive use of it's sister publication, Car Builder's Cyclopedia, formerly the Car Builder's Dictionary, and this is typical. I get the distinct feeling that the material published was based on submissions from the companies involved. They might have been solicited, but submissions all the same. There is little if any editorial content or independent reporting. The editors did try to strike a balance to cover all aspects of the field, so if no new material was submitted on a subject they felt was still pertinent, they would simply run the old copy, often word for word. With a publication frequency of three to four years, you can expect that much of the materiel will be at least that old relative to the publication date. For "cutting edge" articles, one is better to find a library that has bound volumes of Railway Mechanical Engineer in their holdings.

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:55 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Incidentally, looking back at the original post, I see he references 'superheaters'.
Even the discussion of type A vs. type E in practice is controversial, and I couldn't point to a particular reference that really concisely covers both the technical and economic implications together. That is complicated by a certain amount of 'railfan' confusion about, for example, whether some locomotives built with one type were converted to the other.

Meanwhile there are some types, like the sine-wave superheater used on a couple of fairly famous locomotives in the late '30s, that aren't well documented outside the contemporary trade press. To my knowledge, there is no good cross-reference by subject for things there: I suspect there is a whole rich literature in front-end coal stoker development, as it was repeatedly reported on in trade references, before the B&O tried the idea on what might have been a substantial number of locomotives (one source says 71!) Yet even the idea has passed from written references, and even the ken of people on the Baltimore and Ohio Yahoo group...

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:58 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:08 am
Posts: 45
Location: Severna Park, MD
All,

Thank you very much for the wealth of information. I do have Wardale's book (if only for a short remaining time, I'm trading it for the EBT by Kyper and Rainey). It was incredibly dense... though I may revisit it sometime down the line.

Parker Lamb Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive and/or Bill Withuhn American Steam Locomotives sound interesting.

"fibski's" !! LOL! i love it. :)

"Langer balancer, Snyder preheaters, or Cunningham circulators" those sound interesting, a shame they aren't documented better. I presume they're different from the typical feedwater heaters and/or Nicholson syphons. I'll Google around and see what i can find.

I also need to pick up Koopman's book. (I've thoroughly read his "rebuttals" to Wardale's comments on his dissertation. As an academic, I tend to side with Koopman on this one, however, I do have a very healthy respect for "do it this way because this sh** works. ;)"

Overmod, I'll PM you my address in case you find a copy of your '47 cyclopedia... I can assure you they'd be going to a good home. :) Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:21 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:08 am
Posts: 45
Location: Severna Park, MD
Is there a good online source for Railway Mechanical Engineer? I saw a few issues from the 20's over at the Haithi trust, but am otherwise striking out.

If not, I'll make a trip to the library (from WorldCat, there's a couple of sources around me), but I thought I'd ask before making the trek.

Thanks again, and Happy New Year,
Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:12 am 

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I made a concerted effort to find a copy of the 1947 version ~10 years ago. One turned up on eBay for a BIN of something like $497.52 (yes, it was really that specific). IIRC, original 1942 and 1944 versions were going for $200 or so at the time, so I contacted the seller and asked him if he’d be willing to accept a lower offer for his 1947 edition. His reply implied he was insulted that I had even asked. I did not buy his and haven’t looked much since.

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 Post subject: Re: Locomotive Cyclopedia
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:01 pm 
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I have a copy of the 14th edition (1950-52) by Simmons-Boardman, if that will help. Has 6 pages from the Superheater Co. Has one page on Franklin type B poppet valves plus photo of CNR 6184 poppet valve.

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