Sunday, October 07, 2007

Question about Railroad spikes

From: "Claren Taylor Purser"

I was talking to a blacksmith that works on the historical site of John Deere's home in Illinois and he pointed out that there are lines on the top of railroad spikes. Some have several lines and some just have one. Is there anyone there that could tell me what these lines stand for? They are just raised lines on the part of the stake that is hit to drive it in the ground.

—Claren Taylor Purser, Meherrin, VA

1890s photo of surveyors on a handcar

From: "Terry Baker"

I have a photo that was handed down in my family. According to names on the back, one of the men was Isaac Winston. He turns out to have been an inspector with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey. In the 1890s he was in Missouri and Kansas. My ancestors lived in MO at the time. The last digit of the date is cut off, but it's most likely 1895. The six man crew is seated on a handcar with two pumpers, and the car has the words "No. 1394" on a plate near the front. A man standing up is wearing a suit and has his arm on a theodolite. Winston was born in 1853, and this guy looks like he's over forty. The crew look to be in their 20s and 30s.

—Terry Baker, Nashville

1890s photo of surveyors on a handcar

Do any of you collect rail?

From: Wendell Huffman

I've just acquired 50-60 brand sections of 19th century iron and steel rail for the Nevada State Railroad Museum and am trying to identify a few of the rolling mills. I have some 35-pound (or so) iron rail branded MR, believed to be from the Nevada Central. And some CRMCo steel rail rolled in 1883. This was found close to the Central Pacific, but there is nothing identified on the CP in the 1887 report (which lists every foot of CP rail by maker and weight!) which can pass for C.R.M.Co. I wonder if it was UPRR, but have yet to find much about UP rail.

— Wendell

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]