A SMALL TASK AND REMARKABLE MEN

The freight car hand brake part defined by the drawing above is vital to the safe operation of the car. The chain provided the connection between the car’s brake levers and the hand brake staff. The hand brakes are applied by turning the hand brake staff using a brake wheel attached to the top end of the shaft. This rotation wound the chain around a small diameter drum at the bottom end of the shaft. The winding of the chain on the drum resulted in the chain pulling on the brake levers and applying the car’s brakes.   The hand brakes are lost completely if the chain breaks, ie., the chain is vital to the safe operation of the freight car. Even so, the drawing is mundane and  ordinary. Yet the drawing was “approved” by two men who later in their UPRR careers played significant roles in UPRR operations. Mr. Fetters had major influence in the development of UPRR steam locomotives and Mr. McKeen designed and built the  “McKeen passenger rail motorcar”, the first all-steel boxcar, and an all-steel passenger car. These were remarkable men!

Examples of their work are alive and well even today. A McKeen motorcar is running in Nevada and the sole surviving all-steel  boxcar is safe in an Illinois railroad museum. However, the disposition of the sole built all-steel passenger car is unknown to me. The two UPRR steam locomotives running today are the culmination of Mr. Fetters  improvements in earlier UPRR steam locomotives. These WERE remarkable men!

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 December 12, 2011, in ART AND CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE DRAFTSMAN, TRIVIA FROM THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD DRAWING COLLECTION, UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD HISTORY IN DRAWINGS, UNUSUAL DRAWINGS IN THE UPRR DRAWING COLLECTION and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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