Baldwin Locomotives (BLW), By Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
If you have a great interest in steam locomotives and the history of
Baldwin Locomotive Works (whose reporting marks were BLW) then you may very much want to consider a copy
of Baldwin Locomotives by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. This is not a
typical book in the sense that it reads like a story or details a
certain subject. Instead, it is primarily filled with technical data
and related information covering many of Baldwin's steam locomotives it
was constructing at around the turn of the 20th century such as 2-6-0
Moguls, 4-6-0 Ten Wheelers, 2-6-2 Prairies, and other wheel
arrangements. Also included are some of foreign designs
such as Double-Enders. Additionally, the book offers dated papers
released around the same time from such notable names as Cornelius
"Commodore" Vanderbilt and S.M. Vauclain that discuss various subjects
relating to the latest steam designs and how particular components had advanced through that time including the firebox and main boiler.
Baldwin Locomotives begins with no introduction or preface.
Instead, it opens with a simple paragraph from Baldwin itself describing
what you will see and read, which includes a catalog-like format of
steam locomotive designs that it had constructed up through roughly
1901. To get an idea of this, when you turn to page five you will see a
drawing of a 2-8-0 Consolidation
design built for the Victorian Railways of Australia and its
specifications including such things as its firebox specs, driving
wheels, tender size, weight, wheel base, gauge, what type of service it
was intended to see, and so forth. It continues on here by looking at
several other Ten Wheelers, Consolidations, Moguls, and standard
switchers. You will also read about the odd Double-Enders built for
both domestic and commercial uses.
Beginning on page 34 the catalog goes into more detail about the Double-Ender. It begins with general specifications such as those mentioned above with a photo of one built for the McCloud River Railroad of California. It also provides a basic description of the locomotive along with how it operates. Other details include its reverse lever mechanism, cab setup, fuel, and the design's advantages. Moving on to page 59 the book presents the first of several historic papers. This one was written by the Commodore himself and dated to January 8, 1901 when it was presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. While the paper is quite long it essentially describes the history of the boiler and how its technologies had changed up to that time such as the development of the Belpaire Boiler and Wootten Firebox.
The paper also presents many engineering drawings, which are also
featured throughout other areas of the book. As someone who only has a
general background and understanding of steamers and how they operate
much of the technical information presented is beyond my knowledge but
nonetheless interesting to see and read about. So, for those out there
who may be well versed on the steam locomotive you should find it all
quite enjoyable! After this there is another large block of BLW locomotive designs
such as a Lehigh Valley Camelback and several models built for foreign
countries such as Natal and New Zealand. As one area of the catalog
states, the reason so many railroads outside the United States purchased
locomotives from America was due to their overwhelming reliability but
were relatively cheap to buy.
On page 119 another paper is presented by Samuel M. Vauclain
to the New England Railroad Club in February, 1901. As an engineer, Mr.
Vauclain is well known for the development of the Vauclain compound
locomotive around 1900. The design was meant to have greater fuel
efficiency and lower water usage although constant design problems
precluded it from becoming regularly implemented into newly manufactured
locomotives. Essentially, his paper spoke of the overall history of
steam technology up through the early 20th century and the many wheel
arrangements that had been developed since the first Tom Thumbs, Rockets and others such as the 4-4-0 American, 2-8-0 Consolidation and 4-4-2 Atlantic.
In all Baldwin Locomotives is more than 300 pages in
length and a hardcover. Without becoming repetitive, much of the rest
of the book is presented in the same manner as has already been
mentioned; various BLW designs with papers discussing other subjects
such as the firebox, cylinders, and how the company actually
manufactured their locomotives at its plant in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania along Broad and Spring Garden Streets. Just as a quick
note, however, this area of the book is rather fascinating for the
historic photos taken within the
plant showing early steamers under construction and how they were built.
For instance, the images present a new locomotive from a simple boiler
to its various stages of construction, and finally after it has left
the shop completed (in this case the design was a Camelback).
If you are looking for
a book about specifications related to BLW's early steam
locomotives from 1900 or earlier than you should definitely enjoy this
title from Schiffer Publishing's. However, just be aware that, as
mentioned above, it is almost entirely filled with technical data, aside
from the handful of papers on various subjects. For instance, if you
are an avid modeler, steam
locomotive aficionado, or simply want to learn a little more about the
history of the topic I would certainly recommend picking up the book. If
not, though, you may want to look for another title regarding BLW
steamers. In any event, you're interested in perhaps purchasing this
book please visit the link below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.