Many of the locos in use along the Mendocino Coast were made by Baldwin. In 120 years Baldwin built 70,500 of the 175,000 locomotives built in the USA.
The original plant was on Broad street in Philadelphia, PA where the company did business for 71 years until it moved in 1912 to a new plant in Eddystone. Baldwin made its reputation building steam locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.and many of the other railroads in North America and for overseas railroads in England, France, India, Haiti and Egypt.
Matthias Baldwin began as a jewel smith in Philadelphia, but he was enamored of technology and soon built a small engine. More than a toy, it powered his first shop for forty years and now resides in the Smithsonian. Philadelphia, home of the Franklin Institute, which supported new inventions and technology, was also the home of numerous machine shops, and soon Baldwin had created a shop where he began to design ever better steam engines for railroads. He invented the Jervis leading truck, a pair of wheels that moved along as the track curved, reducing the number of derailments. His flexible-beam design became very popular because it had more driving wheels and with the weight of the engine over the drivers it could pull longer and heavier freight trains. By 1846, his shop made forty-two types of engines, he had paid off all his debts, and he had survived the panic of 1837, a severe market reversal. He had also bought out his early partners, making him the sole owner of the company.
In eight weeks, thousands of workers at the Baldwin Works of Philadelphia would take a custom design from drawings to finished product. By 1905, more than seven engines rolled out of the plant every day. Baldwin was the premier locomotive manufacturer and ranked at the top of American industry for sixty years. Ironically, the major strength of the Baldwin company, the ability to build custom products efficiently to the customer's specific demands, was to prove a major weakness as the economy changed to a more consumer-driven environment where "standardized products, hierarchical managerial structures, and market control strategies dominated." Builders could not compete with manufacturers who mass-produced standard designs.
And strange ones …..
The Baldwin Works managed productivity increases on an average of 3.1% per year, as compared with 1.9% nationally, and it accomplished this through organizational and technical changes. By 1906, Baldwin was producing a locomotive every three hours, twenty-four hours a day. Baldwin minimized the risk inherent in the system by engaging in industry-wide price-fixing agreements, and he relied on "just-in-time" inventory supplies to reduce the need for substantial working capital. Mathias Baldwin drew a great deal of technical expertise from his customers, the railroads. Baldwin's success came because of his reliance on a core of skilled workers rather than on trying to improve profits by manipulating workers and exploiting them.
In the late 1940's it was very clear that the steam locomotive days were over and each of the big three steam locomotive builders were far behind EMD with diesel designs and customers. Lima merged with engine builder Hamilton in an effort to get a foot hold in the diesel market but made little progress. In desperation Lima-Hamilton merged with Baldwin in 1950 to become the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation. However, by 1956 BLH ceased production of common carrier size locomotives.
Baldwin even made guns!!!! Baldwin Locomotive Works delivered five trains for the United States Navy during April and May 1918. Each train transported and supported a 14 in (356 mm) naval “rifle” mounted on a rail carriage with four 6-wheel bogies. These guns were the Mk 4 14"/50 caliber guns used on New Mexico and Tennessee class battleships. Baldwin constructed six similar gun carriages and two of an improved Mk II type designed to permit firing the gun at all elevation angles without transferring weight to a separate foundation. These eight guns were completed too late to see combat.
The Locomotives that Baldwin Built
a complete facsimile of the Original History of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1923 by Fred Westing
Published by Superior Publishing Company in 1966 Library of Congress Card 66-25422
This book is a tour de force of all the locomotives that Baldwin ever produced. There are hundreds of photographs many taken by Fred Haines who was Baldwin’s official photographer for 25 years and took photos of over 25,000 locomotives. Baldwin produced some weird and wonderful engines as well as thousands of work horses. They are all here in all their glory.