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40th Street Shops: 1942

40th Street Shops: 1942

        Back to the days of the blacksmith: The only tools seen here are two hammers, a wrench and a broom.

December 1942. "Working on a locomotive at the 40th Street Shops, Chicago & North Western R.R." Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size.


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I see one hammer

On the running board of the locomotive. A ball peen by the looks. The "hammer" on the floor in the foreground is, to my eyes, a B&O. It was used to drive pins or bolts out of an assembly. They are made in many sizes, both single and double ended. The doubles are usually different sizes on each end. They are used the same way a punch or drift would be except you have long handle to keep your hands away from an errant swing of the sledge. The large double ended ones resemble the spike mauls the gandy dancers used so I always thought that is where the B&O came from.

Full view of the loco here

Actually the #1647, her sister. Nice looking loco, although it's hard to find a really ugly 4-6-2. Interesting that there's a disc wheel on the center driver axle with spoked wheels in front and behind. Can't recall seeing that before.

When Kodachrome = Sepia

Great photo. Oddly it appeals to my sense of smell; I imagine the smell of soot and machinery.

The job's done.

I think they're putting the smokebox front sheet back on the engine, rather than taking it off. They've finished whatever job they were doing. Notice the newly installed smokestack. Also note that that the engine has the relatively uncommon Young valve gear.


This was my grandfather's job on the Pennsylvania for many years (1906-1939). His official title was blacksmith, although he did metal fabrication and repair as well. Thanks for this picture.


I'm surprised to see this is a Kodachrome. It could have been a B & W had it not been for the rust color of the chimney.

And a BUDA jack

And I still use that tool today. I have a few old BUDA's my wife found at a yard sale 15 years ago. She paid $5 a piece because they were to heavy for the lady to put them back in the garage. I've jacked up many houses with them . They are over 100 years old, and work like new. Old tools rule.

Three men

Am I correct in assuming that there are three men visible in this photo: the one standing on the ground, looking up; the one on the smokebox lying on his side in front of the chimney, reaching upwards; and the partially visible man in front of the smokebox door, back to us, face unseen, right arm raised and holding what looks like a 2x4. And I think I see two brooms: one on the locomotive, and one on the wooden platform in front of it.

Locomotive Breath

Looks like they are taking off the smokebox door to get ready to reflue the engine. One of the dirtiest job a boilermaker can have. Nasty!

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