Jacob Price: 1895

Original 1895 Catalog for the Legendary Jacob Price Field Locomotive: Part Two


| January 2005



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Last issue, we reprinted the first four pages of the 1895 Jacob Price Field Locomotive catalog, graciously supplied by steam enthusiast and regular contributor John Davidson, Bristol, Wis.

This issue we pick up with page 5 and run through page 9 of the catalog. This second section of the catalog contains a great deal of detailed specification, with particular focus on the Price engine's vertical water-tube boiler, which, the catalog states, "… as far as known is the first application of one to a traction engine."

Two sizes of engines are detailed, a 40 HP and an 80 HP. The 40 HP was advertised for "plowing, freighting, running threshing machines, etc.," while the 80 HP was advertised for "plowing, freighting, logging and running stationary machinery." The catalog claimed the 40 HP could - theoretically - pull 21 12-inch plows, but noted the machine was designed to pull only six. The catalog further claimed the 40 HP could pull a 20-ton load on roads not exceeding a grade of 300 feet to the mile. The 80 HP was claimed to be capable of pulling 30-to-40 tons under the same conditions.

The 40 HP engine had a 7-inch bore and a 7-inch stroke, and used a Porter-Allen link reversing gear. The 80 HP had an 8-inch bore and an 8-inch stroke, and while the reversing gear is not discussed, it's assumed the 80 HP was also equipped with a Porter-Allen link reversing gear. The 40 HP had a listed weight of 5-1/2 tons while the 80 HP had a listed weight of 10 tons.

"The strength of the gearing in this engine would probably be considered excessive, being four or five times as great as in the common traction engine."

Both the 40 HP and 80 HP engines were equipped with twin injectors and locomotive-style pop-off valves. A friction clutch is listed for the 40 HP, but, curiously, not for the 80 HP. Interestingly, the catalog states that use of the friction clutch, "except under certain circumstances, is not advised." The catalog clarifies this by noting that "the activity and power of the engine is considered, by the manufacturer, to be much greater when it is used as a stiff-geared machine than when it is thrown into gear with the friction clutch."

In common with many catalogs of the period, the commentary is ripe with self-congratulatory statements. Consider this statement about Price gearing: "The strength of the gearing in this engine would probably be considered excessive, being four or five times as great as in the common traction engine. But it is not employed altogether for strength but for durability; for experience, at plowing, shows that it is heavy pressure on cog work that destroys it, and not grit or sand."