Solomon Boiler Works

The finished product as exhibited at Mt. Pleasant Reunion.

Edward Alexander

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For some time we have wanted to get progressive pictures of Solomon Bros, building a boiler. They are wonderful fellows but this is is one thing that is hard to get. Mr. Edward Alexander gives us a taste of it.

Last fall at Mount Pleasant you asked me to send you some pictures taken at Solomon Boiler Works of Mr. Lang's boiler. I went north from Mount Pleasant and finished my vacation at Superior Wisconsin and by the time I reached home I had forgotten your request. Later when I remembered, I couldn't find the notation I had made. Finally found it the other day so am sending the photos, including a couple of extra ones for my conscience' sake. I hope you will forgive me for this very tardy response.

EDWARD R. ALEXANDER, 710 West 44th Street, Kansas City, Missouri


I have just finished a 4-4-2 Atlantic type live steam locomotive, 20' gauge track and one 14 passenger car, 7 seats. This engine has a steam driven air pump and air brakes on engine and car. The engine and tender weigh about 2500 to 3000 pounds without water and coal. The boiler holds about 70 gallons of water, the tender holds 145 gallons of water and ton of coal.

For this size engine, I had to make my patterns for all parts first and then get them casted, and then machine the parts. I had to build everything for it except the pipe fittings, coil springs, ball bearings, bolts, nuts, washers, cotter pins. All wheels have ball bearings.

I also designed the boiler and cut the plates, but I had the welding done by an accredited welding company because I could not get insurance otherwise. The boiler when finished had a cold water rupture test of 625 pounds; at that pressure it sheared a stay bolt that was replaced and again tested to 450 pounds and is now operated at 150 pounds.

It is not in use as it is in my yard on a short track. I steam it up about once a month.

My patterns are Universal so I can build 16-18-20-22-24 inch gauge locomotives with them if wanted. This is the only miniature steam locomotive that I have ever seen or heard of with an air pump for brakes. They have steam brakes on the locomotive, only the Diesel type have air brakes supplied by a belted compressor.

I had no plans to work from except my own drawings and scaling to size. This engine and tender is about 18 ft. long and is about 5 feet to top of smoke stack. It has a 3' bore and 7 inch stroke. Boiler is about 3 hp. Engine has outside valve gear of my own design with piston valves. It took me 1360 hours to build engine and tender and one car with no help. I have a small machine shop here at home and electric and hand tools to do the work.

I have waited all my life to find time to build the dream of my life as I used to work for the Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. as a machinist and later on as locomotive at their iron ore mines above Cartersville, Georgia. I retired in 1957 and about a year later I began work on my patterns for this locomotive. I am now in my 71st year.

J. W. HENDRICKS, 1316 Nash Road N.W., Atlanta 18, Georgia