Saturday, September 04, 2021

New biography about 19th century rail manufacturer

From: "Saundra Middleton"

I have enjoyed perusing your CPRR Museum website. You have included so much information and many links to investigate. What an awesome resource.

I have recently published a biography about Peter Kirk, a rail manufacturer who supplied rails to Central Pacific Railroad in the 1880’s. You have two pictures of Moss Bay rails displayed. This book titled The Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk — From Derbyshire to the Pacific Northwest will definitely add to the story of those rails, their production, Kirk’s 15 patented inventions that went into his rail products and machinery. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I think it would be a good fit for your patrons’ list of resources about railroading during the 19th century.

I would also be interested in knowing of any other places where Moss Bay Steel rails are located, either in the ground or a museum, or if CPRR Museum is aware of any more records that list Moss Bay rails as being laid on their lines like in the 1887 US Report of the Pacific Railroad Commission. ...

—Saundra Middleton

Moss Bay Steel 1887 56 lbs
Moss Bay Steel Rail, 1887, 56 lbs

Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk
Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk

US 325,094 Kirk

US 326,874 Kirk


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nineteenth century U.S. patent search for inventor Peter Kirk did not find his inventions. The online historic U.K. patent search seems to require knowing each patent number. Can you let us know the country and patent number of each of the 15 patents mentioned in your message? Thanks!

9/05/2021 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Saundra Middleton"

... A list of US patents included 1899, Dredge; 1901, improvements to smelter. Some of his British patents were also patented in other countries like the US, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and France. When I searched the British Libraries for their patents, I was able to put in a year range ...


9/05/2021 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... Did CPRR utilize special features associated with Peter Kirk's inventions? Maybe the combined chair and sleeper design?

I devote a chapter of my book (The Pioneering Life of Peter Kirk) to his patents (his first was in 1866 at the age of 26), his special rail products, how he combined and built on central themes and how it was used with the production machinery in his ironworks. He had one patent for household use in the fire grates and two later ones in the US dealt with other industry beside rail production, which are: #632,126 August 29, 1899 for Hydraulic Dredge; #688,651 December 10, 1901 for Combined Ore Roaster & Smelter.

[Continued below]

9/05/2021 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here is the list of US patents associated with patents first registered in Great Britain is as follows with notes on where he registered the patent in other countries gathered from information from the US patent:

GB637 of 1881 Rolling Mills for the Manufacture of Iron and Steel, February 15, 1881,
US patent #270,441; April 17, 1883.

GB15396 of 1884; November 22, 1884; Improvements in and in the Manufacture of Combined Chairs and Sleepers,
US 325,094 August 25, 1885. France 154,190 January 31, 1885. Belgium 67,772 February 2, 1885. Spain 1,137 February 21, 1885.

GB15497 of 1884; November 25, 1884; Improvements in Ovens or Furnaces for Heating Ingots and Blooms or for Maintaining the Heat thereof,
US #343,820 June 15, 1886. France 167,722 March 16, 1885. Belgium 68,227 March 19, 1885. Germany 33,323 March 25, 1885.

GB785 of 1885, January 20, 1885; Improvements in Combined Metallic Chairs and Sleepers for Railways
US 326,874 Sleeper for Permanent Ways, September 22, 1885. France 154,190 January 31, 1885. Belgium 67,722 February 2, 1885. Spain 1,137 February 21, 1885.

I hope this helps and I will keep working on the bigger list of UK ones. ...


9/05/2021 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Saundra Middleton"

Dear [Lewis Metzler] Clement Descendants,

Your endeavors at honoring your ancestor and telling his story are superlative.

Thank you so much for adding my information to the CPRR Discussion Group.

Here is the remaining list of British patents of which I am aware:

GB2895 of 1866 Rolling Metals; November 7, 1866
GB1668 of 1869 Puddling Furnaces; May 31, 1869
GB3459 of 1875 Rolling Mills; November 20, 1872
GB1782 of 1873 Stoves or Fire-Grates
GB885 of 1875 Furnaces &c., March 10, 1875
​GB470 of 1876 Rolling Iron and Steel, February 5, 1876
GB913 of 1882 Rolling Mills Used in the Manufacture of Metals, February 25, 1882
GB10036 of 1884; July 11, 1884; Improvements in Tram Rails and in the Manufacture thereof
GB10241 of 1885; August 29, 1885; Improvements in the Rolling of Bars or Plates of Irregular Thickness and in Machinery therefor
GB2024 of 1886; February 12, 1886; Improvements in the Permanent Way of Railways
GB2025 of 1886; February 12, 1886; Improvements in the Manufacture of Rolled Sleepers and in Apparatus Used therein
GB4600 of 1886; April 2, 1886; Improvements in the Permanent Way of Railways

Some of these patents were improvements to previous patents, many were for the processes and machinery manufacturing the iron and steel products.

Grateful for your expertise,


9/06/2021 5:45 PM  

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