Whitcomb Mining and Switching Engines Photo Album - 1920-1932
Whitcomb, William Card (Pres.)]. A remarkable factory salesman sample photo album for the famed gasoline powered Whitcomb mining and switching engines. The company pioneered the use of gasoline, diesel, and electric powered small mine locomotives to replace mules and men as motive powers for hauling ore cars out of mines. These photos include images of 2 1/2-ton, 4-ton, 5-ton, 8-ton, 15-ton, and 17-ton locomotives being manufactured, the factory, as well as in operation at steel plants, stamping plants, road building, a 25-ton for the Panama Canal, mining companies, at diamond mines, Wisconsin lumber companies, and more. Geo. D. Whitcomb Company, [ca. 1920-1932]. Four vols. 1st - Oblong. 11.5 x 8.5 in. With 69 linen backed silver gelatin photographs, all mounted on hinges, with explanatory text on verso, numbers within negative at lower fore-edge of images. Renewed black cloth post-binder, brass screw posts at gutter margin (minor fraying to the linen fore-edges), still excellent copy; 2nd - 4 pp (unpaginated), illustrated bifolium printed in green & black, centerfold illustrations, self-printed soft-covers, 3rd - 4 pp (unpaginated), numerous photo illustrations, self-printed soft-covers, minor creasing, former ownership stamp on interior; 4th -12 pp (unpaginated).], photo-illustrated throughout, self-printed soft-covers, minor wear, overall in vg cond. First editions of this very rare salesman sample factory photo album for Whitcomb locomotives and switcher engines, together with two Whitcomb catalogs and an original offprint from the 1932 Railway Age. George Whitcomb first began experimenting with applying gasoline engines to small industrial locomotives at the end of the 19th century. His son William Whitcomb hired engineer William Frederick Eckert to help develop the Company’s first gasoline-powered locomotive and placed into service in April, 1906, with a large Central Illinois coal mine. By 1907, the company had moved their manufacturing facility to Rochelle, IL, and George Whitcomb retired to Los Angeles, CA. The Whitcomb Locomotive Works quickly became very popular for their reliability, durability, and adaptable sizes for a variety of mining and industrial uses. These photos begin with an image of a flag raising at the Whitcomb factory on Memorial Day, 1918, followed by images of their 2 1/2 ton e-speed locomotives with enclosed cabs, open cabs, followed by images of the open cab with side panels removed, and then in operation near Picher Oklahoma. The photos which follow depict the 4-ton 3-speed mining locomotive, 4-ton shipped to Bolivia, a 4-ton mining locomotive at the Smokeless Coal Co. mine in Johnstown, PA; 5-ton 3-speed at Carpenter Steel Co. in Reading, PA, followed by several 5-ton friction drive locomotives, one in operation at the same Steel Co. There are also photos showing a 2 1/2 ton hauling a steam shovel for Bath Portland Cement Co. in PA, 15-ton standard gauge Switcher locomotives at the plant, as well as the Michigan Stamping Co., and the Casparis Stone Co. Passenger tourist locomotives are shown; a DD machine operated by the Cleveland Mining Co. in Hazel Green, WI, as well as Class “E”, “G”, “F”, and others in operation in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, along with a 5-ton locomotive in operation for the Issaquah Superior Coal Co. in Issaquah, WA. In 1927, Baldwin Locomotive began selling Whitcomb Locomotives as part of their line-up, and in 1928 purchased a large portion of stock. During the Great Depression, Baldwin gained majority control and seized the Company, ending the Whitcomb family ownership . The first catalog shows the Whitcomb 80-ton Oil- Electric Switching Locomotive with Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Ry badging, while the 1932 offprint details the features of the 60-ton Gas-Electric Locomotive tested on the Burlington Ry. The final catalog is devoted entirely to the full line-up of Switching Locomotives. The Whitcomb Locomotives were produced by Baldwin through World War II, and in 1952, production was shifted to Baldwin’s Eddystone Works in Pennsylvania. The brand name came to an end in March, 1956 when the last locomotive was turned off the Baldwin Co. line under the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corp. name. Most of the Whitcomb Locomotives were powered by Wisconsin Motor Manufacturing Co. engines, who were famed for their 4- and 6- cylinder engines for heavy construction equipment and locomotives, as well as early automobile companies including Stutz, Kissel Motor Cars, and Case. No copies located in Worldcat; See: Don Hensley, Whitcomb Locomotives, Taplines (1998); Whitcomb Locomotive Works, American-Rails, Whippany Railway Museum (2018).