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I was looking through a box of railway stuff from my father-in-law and came across these two pics. I suspect they were cut from magazines in the first half of the last century.

First, a true modelling challenge:



The caption says "An Early American 8-footer"

Then, for all those entranced by weirdness, here's a french loco with 'big and little drivers'. It seems to have big and little cylinders also.

 

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Pete,

As though Ralph needs more projects!!

I bet that French engine was attempting to use the smaller wheels to get the train started, the use the bigger wheels to get it rolling fast!! Either that or it was some sort of cog locomotive. Didn't LGB make a model of a swiss rack engine that used typical main rods for powering the train on flats, and a much smaller cylinder/flywheel that powered a gearbox for a rack system?

Mark
 

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That first pic is a Crampton locomotive, a very successfull early locomotive design on the Camden and Amboy RR I beleive, this set up was very successfull for early engines. This design was soon eclipsed in the US by the standard 8 wheeler layout, but it was very successfull in Britain and Europe. Later improved versions were used for fast express engines in the mid 19th century, indeed French versions of this engine were still in use right up to the early 20th century.

 

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Posted By Pete Thornton on 10/02/2008 10:22 AM

Then, for all those entranced by weirdness, here's a french loco with 'big and little drivers'. It seems to have big and little cylinders also.





The locomotive pictured was not a rack engine. The smaller drivers were lowered to the rail for additional starting effort, and then raised at speed. I pity the poor French drivers who had to operate twice the machienery as the rest of the world!
 

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That's an 8' driving wheel! The reason for the unusual appearance is that the driving wheel is actually behind the firebox on a Crampton. The idea was to keep the driving wheel as large as possible (thus allowing higher speed while keeping the piston speed down) but also keeping the center of gravity low.
 

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The Norris Cramptons of the C&A were never a success in any way. Only five were built; the John Stevens, #29, #30(the engine pictured above),#37 and #38 . The second engine, #29 , blew up after a very short time. There were severe design and construction problems and each of the subsequent engines were to some degree redesigned and went through rigorous testing and modifications. These modifications continued steadily over the engines' ten year run. At least one of them was converted to a 4-4-0, possibly more. The only reason the engines continued in service was because John Stevens and Isaac Dripps (the designer) couldn't admit that they were wrong about the design. After they left the company, all of the Norris Cramptons were scrapped or converted. The railroad itself later classified the Norris Crampton experience as a "misadventure".
Still, they are wonderfully bizarre looking things. I've thought about attempting a narrow gauge version, but it would look even more bizarre!
Chris
 

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Here's the original photo that both illustrations are from;

This is the other photo of the same engine, believed to be the earliest photo of an American steam loco;


And here's what they looked like converted to 4-4-0s (six foot drivers!)



Interesting stuff!
Chris
 
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