WHAT’S THE HARM IN A “SLIGHT” EXPLOSION ?

HOW BIG A "KABOOM!" CAN I EXPECT

I think I would have felt safer in a dark car! What a combination: gas lamps and wooden cars. Each car had a gas distribution system and a large high pressure storage tank. You need three things to have afire: a. fuel (i.e., wood and gas), b. oxidizer (i.e., air), and c. ignition source (i.e., lit lamps). Maybe a fourth thing: a derailment to provide the mixing of the first three things! However, as bad as this sounds, things were worse with the Kerosene lamps used previous to the gas lamps because of a liquid fuel very close to an ignition source.

The railroad must have known about the hazard involved in using open flame lamps in wooden cars and perhaps the above “Instructions” was an attempt to mitigate the hazard. If so, it is to their credit.

Note: There is a very complete explanation of passenger car lighting in the book “THE  AMERICAN RAILROAD PASSENGER CAR” by John White.

Aside: Take a minute to admire the artful lettering. While doing so, be informed it was done  freehand using a pen and India Ink on linen map cloth! Amazing is it not? My hat’s off to the Draftsman (artist?) who remains name unknown except for his initials at the lower left corner of the drawing.

About THE OLD MACHINIST

I am 82 years old and wed for 65 years. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I am a High School mentor in physics, mountaineer, model builder, machinist and have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoy life and am looking forward to the future with my usual sense of anticipation and curiosity.

Posted on November 1, 2011, in ART AND CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE DRAFTSMAN, TRIVIA FROM THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD DRAWING COLLECTION and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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