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Vulcan Iron Works photograph album

1923-1928
 Collection
Accession: 2021-207

Abstract

Vulcan Iron Works produced mine and industrial locomotives, mine hoists, and other colliery machinery. Vulcan's locomotives were designed for mine, logging, plantation, and factory work, including steam, electric, and battery models for underground haulage. A large number were sold to strip mine and earthmoving contractors. This small salesman sample album of industrial locomotives contains fifty factory photographs of 4-ton and 20-ton internal combustion engine locomotives for mining companies, brick and concrete manufacturers, logging companies, and others. The images are of locomotives (mostly side views), either built or serviced by Vulcan Iron Works between 1923 and 1928.

Dates

  • 1923-1928

Creator

Extent

1 volume(s)

Physical Description

1 album ; 7.5 x 11 in. (closed) containing 50 photographic prints ; b&w, sepia ; 7.25 x 9.75 in.

Historical Note

Vulcan Iron Works produced mine and industrial locomotives, mine hoists, and other colliery machinery. Vulcan's locomotives were designed for mine, logging, plantation, and factory work, including steam, electric, and battery models for underground haulage. A large number were sold to strip mine and earthmoving contractors.

Richard Jones (1816-1847) founded the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1849 to produce specialty iron products for the local anthracite coal industry. The company was incorporated in 1867. By 1881 its facilities included a machine shop, foundry, blacksmith/boiler shop, and pattern store and office, all located near the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, and the Pennsylvania Canal. In addition to general machine work, the company made mining machinery, castings, and forgings. Branch shops were built in West Pittston and Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, and in 1888 Vulcan acquired the Wyoming Valley Manufacturing Company, makers of locomotives. This soon became a major part of Vulcan's activities, with the company making all types and sizes of locomotives for domestic and foreign industries. The company did a modest export business to Canada, Latin America, Russia, and East Asia.

Vulcan's other product lines consisted primarily of material movement and processing machinery: hoisting engines, shaft cages, bucket elevators, crushers, picking tables, and jigs for separating slate from coal, as well as mine fans. Most were sold to coal mining firms in the Appalachian coalfields and to remote operations of firms like Bethlehem Steel that were headquartered in Pennsylvania. It also sold grinding mills and rotary kilns to the Portland cement industry that grew up on the southeastern border of the anthracite fields and some sugarcane processing machinery in Louisiana and Cuba.

World War I led to further expansion, and in 1919 Vulcan built a steel plant with open-hearth furnaces to supply their needs. By 1929, the company employed about 1,600 people, manufacturing locomotives (both gasoline and diesel-electric) and electric hoists for mines. The collapse of the anthracite industry in the 1930s destroyed a large part of the company's market, and heavy trucks gradually replaced locomotives in stripping and construction haulage. Locomotive production ended with builder number 4877 in May 1949. Machinery production continued into the mid-1950s.

Scope and Contents

This small salesman sample album of industrial locomotives contains fifty factory photographs of 4-ton and 20-ton internal combustion engine locomotives for mining companies, brick and concrete manufacturers, logging companies, and others. The images are of locomotives (mostly side views), either built or serviced by Vulcan Iron Works between 1923 and 1928. There are several images of locomotives on work sites with workers.

Vulcan Iron Works assigned a shop or builder number to each locomotive they constructed. These numbers follow the letters “c/n,” which stands for “construction number.” The shop/builder number or construction number is then followed by the purchaser. Additional details about the locomotive are included when known, such as the engine number and/or name. If known, a locomotive description is included, always following this order: wheel arrangement (3-part number, e.g., 0-4-0); gauge of track; cylinder bore and stroke (e.g., 9x12); driving wheel diameter; and weight.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Materials

Vulcan Iron Works negatives (Accession 1971.210), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Vulcan Iron Works photograph album
Status:
Author:
Laurie Sather
Date:
2021
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400