Home Open Account Help 140 users online

Steam & Excursion > B&O's Camelback Engines - why?


Date: 06/28/12 21:54
B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: Mgoldman

I thought I had read that Camelback locomotives were designed
mostly to allow a larger firebox to burn anthracite coal which
was cheaper and widely available in the Northeast part of the
country - hence adopted by the Reading, CNJ, Erie, Lackawanna,
and such (though I know some Western railroads experimented
with them as well.

Question - looking at these early engines from the B&O, it does
not seem locating the cab in the center of the boiler was done
to accommodate a larger firebox. The firebox seems, in fact,
seems no larger throughout, so apparently, the cab was not
positioned in the center to counter for an obstructed view nor
lack of room to place a cab.

So - why? Better visibility?
Standard rear cabs were in use on the B&O as early as 1848.

1) B&O #173 at the Saint Louis National Museum of Transport (Built 1873)

2) B&O #305 at the B&O Railroad Museum (Built 1869)

/Mitch



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/12 22:08 by Mgoldman.






Date: 06/29/12 00:32
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: lwilton

I don't have a good answer for you, but that first engine cab looks like an Italian funeral gondola from the 1400s.



Date: 06/29/12 04:16
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: LarryDoyle

Ross Winans was a very creative, innovative, and eccentric design engineer who designed these machines. He worked for the B&O at their Mount Claire shops starting in 1831, and in 1840 opened his own shop next door, subcontracting the B&O shop. His ideas on nearly every detail of locomotive design differed from everyone else before and since.

Note the drivers: flanges only on the third set! He was about the first to use coal to power the engine, and his firebox differed greatly from conventional design, as seen by it's location behind and below the driving axles, with a sloping top and no steam space above the crownsheet. The engine frame ended ahead of the firebox, and it sat out there unsupported underneath, simply hanging onto the back of tbe boiler barrel - a weak and troublesome arrangement. The firedoor on the first engine is seen locoated very low, on the backhead, though many of his engines had the firedoor on top of the sloping firebox wraper, and the fireman shoveled coal into the firebox downward. Cab location was another one of his oddities.

Apparently, he built over 200 of these things, making him quite succcessful and rich, but refusing to adopt others' ideas his sales fell off and he closed his shop in 1850.

-LD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/12 09:10 by LarryDoyle.



Date: 06/29/12 07:21
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: Frisco1522

This is your brain on drugs.



Date: 06/29/12 09:38
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: zephyrus

Those engines (let's call them Winan Camelbacks) were built for very different reasons that what is traditionally called a Camelback.

Winan had the goal of putting maximum weight over the drivers as well as moving the cab forward for better visibility. These have nothing to do with the larger firebox needed for anthracite coal.

The more traditional camelback (or Mother Hubbard) locomotive was designed around the large Wootten firebox which was developed for slow-burning anthracite coal. More specifically, the Wootten firebox burned culm, the fine size waste that remains from the processing of anthracite for heating fuel in homes, etc.

That's why they look so different, the two designs served different purposes.

Z

More info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelback_locomotive

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/camelback/



Date: 06/29/12 16:17
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: DNRY122

As I recall the Winans engines were called Camels rather than Camelbacks; this is from the back reaches of my memory--as a West Coast traction fan, I will defer to anyone with better information, but for some reason the Camel term has stuck in my mind. Then there's the old definition: Camel--a horse designed by a committee.



Date: 06/29/12 19:07
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: ddg

If I was called for a train, and it showed up with one of these on the point, I think I'd just quit and go home.



Date: 06/29/12 20:19
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: Mgoldman

ddg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If I was called for a train, and it showed up with
> one of these on the point, I think I'd just quit
> and go home.


Do you really think so - if one showed up today?


Thanks everyone for the information and thoughts!

/Mitch



Date: 06/30/12 17:32
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: lwilton

I seem to remember that one of the main complaints with the design was that they were unsafe -- the engineer wasn't able to jump in case the boiler was about to blow under him.

I have to wonder how realistic this complaint was. You proabably couldn't have jumped and lived form a normal engine going much over 40mph anyway. But then, maybe that was above common speeds in those days.

With the crown sheet just wasting heat into the air instead of being part of the boiler, I'd think the normal reason for a boiler explosion would have been eliminated, and you would have to really work at something like tying down the safeties to get an explosion.

I'd think another major complaint would be that the fireman is standing out in the open getting rained, snowed, or hailed upon while the engineer has that nice second-story glass house.



Date: 06/30/12 18:13
Re: B&O's Camelback Engines - why?
Author: LarryDoyle

lwilton Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> With the crown sheet just wasting heat into the
> air instead of being part of the boiler, ...

I think you're misinterpreting the construction of the firebox on a Winans boiler. The crown sheet of every locomotive must be covered with water at all times, as it is on the Winans, as seen in this illustration.

>
> I'd think another major complaint would be that
> the fireman is standing out in the open getting
> rained, snowed, or hailed upon while the engineer
> has that nice second-story glass house.

Might be a complaint, but creature confort for a fireman has never been a factor in locomotive design, as evidenced by later Wooten camelbacks and conventional deckless cabs.

-LD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/12 18:14 by LarryDoyle.




[ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1109 seconds