4-4-0 "American or Eight-Wheeler" Type
The 4-4-0 American Type can be given overwhelming credit, more than any other steam locomotive design before or since its development, for helping the United States flourish beginning in the latter half of the 19th century. After their debut and minor refinements the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement quickly proved its superior ability over all other types of its day and by the 1870s well over three-quarters of all steam locomotives operating in the country at that time were American Types. While the railroads themselves built our great nation into what it has become today, their initial workhorse in achieving that task was the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement.
Around 25,000 4-4-0 locomotives were built by companies including Rogers, Baldwin, Cooke and Mason. However, the design required the firebox to fit between the driving wheels which limited its firing (and thus steaming) capacity and by 1900 larger locomotives were needed, designed and built.
We have – on this page – pictures of three of the 25,000 that worked along the Redwood Coast here in Northern California.
The photo above on the left clearly shows the L E White Lumber Company’s #1 spot as a 4-4-0. This photograph, also of L E White Lumber Company’s #1 had an interesting caption: “Could it be that North Pacific Coast No.1 "Saucelito" (old spelling) was built by Baldwin in 1873 as a 2-6-0 and then converted to 4-4-0 by NPC (Northwestern Pacific Company) before sale to L E White Lumber Company in 1876? Here (right) the engine is shown, now named "Ajax," at Elk/Greenwood, where she served for about 25 years or more hauling logs out of the canyons and down to a mill on the coast.”
Was she converted. In a copy of an old Northwesterner we found the answer…. Click the images left to read the article ……
Locomotive – Building an Eight Wheeler
- written and illustrated by David Weitzman, Published in 1999
There are books about the building of "modern" steam locos but until we found this book nothing about the building of a 1900's 4-4-0. Per the book, all you need is a steam powered drill press, lathe and planer. The book provides a step by step account of how a 4-4-0 was designed and built and is replete with beautiful pen and ink and pencil drawings.
Prepare to be amazed at the engineering skills of the "old-timers" and their ability to create with limited tools