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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Whirleys Unloading: 1900

Whirleys Unloading: 1900

Circa 1900. "Whirleys unloading ore, Penna. R.R. docks, Erie, Pennsylvania." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Compromise Couplers.

The interesting automatic couplers here were called "Compromise" type. Though the automatic (janey) coupler had been adopted by the ICC (now FRA) at the time of the photo, many railroads had some difficulty converting their rolling stock over. To compromise, the split face coupler was designed. This allowed the link of the old "link and pin" type coupler to be slipped through the split face and fastened in place with a pin dropped through a hole in the top of the coupler.

What's happening on the trestle?

There is a trestle behind the "whirleys" with some box cars on it. It appears that whatever is on the box cars can be unloaded (by hand or by shovel) and dropped down a chute to a building under the trestle. I wonder what commodity that was, and why it wasn't shipped in gondolas (open-topped cars) like the ore in the foreground. Maybe it's something that they needed relatively less of in the process, or maybe the trestle dates to a time when everything was shipped in a boxcar.

Clyde Iron Works of Duluth

Building a wide assortment of Whirley cranes since 1889.

Safety First

Adoption of the Westinghouse Air Brake and the Master Car Builders Association (MCB)Coupler (based on the Janney patents) are credited with reducing the worker fatalities on early American railroads. Air brakes by reducing the need for workers to walk the tops of the cars applying hand brakes and the coupler the need for workers to get between the cars for coupling and uncoupling.

"George Stone"

#75 on the map.

I remember as a kid growing up in Leamington in the 1950s seeing lots of sunken ship artifacts in the waters around Point Pelee especially when lake levels were down.

Sink like a Stone.

Sadly, the steamer George Stone would be lost off Point Pelee, Ontario, in a storm 9 years later, at the cost of 6 lives.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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