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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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Industrial Tableau: 1900

Industrial Tableau: 1900

Lake Erie circa 1900. "Harbor entrance at Conneaut, Ohio." Where ore from the Lake Superior iron ranges was unloaded for transport by rail to the smelting furnaces of Ohio and Pennsylvania. 8x10 inch glass negative. 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!

The first Hulett unloader constructed

was at Conneaut in 1899, and can be seen in the very middle of the photograph, above the carferry slip of the United States & Ontario Navigation Company, the carferries of which, Shenango No. 1 and Shenango No. 2, brought railcars of coal crosslake to Port Dover, Ontario. Conneaut hosted another carferry service, the Marquette & Bessemer Dock & Navigation Company, which ran the Marquette and Bessemer No.1 and No. 2 (the former a collier which loaded coal directly from cars into its hold) to Erieau and Port Stanley. The first Marquette and Bessemer No. 2 disappeared with all hands on December 9, 1909, and the wreck has never been located.

Re: Track Scale

Nice description of the scale system!
So, was there enough freedom in the couplers to allow the locomotive to divert to the dead tracks and pull the loaded car through? Beats having to uncouple and drop the car, then pick it back up...

RR Car Track Scale

The building in the foreground with the steeply-slanted shed roof is a Scale House for weighing RR cars.

The tracks in front have two pairs of rails. You will see two sets of track switch points, but no switch frogs.

One pair is the "dead rails" - non-moving rails for the locomotive to traverse without crushing the scale.

The other pair are the "live rails" - cars on these rails are going over the scale platform.

In those days, the scale was a mechanical marvel that worked much like the balance scale in a doctor's office. Some had huge read-out dials, but many were moving counterweights on beams. The concept might be simple, but making this work accurately on something as heavy as a loaded RR car was no mean feat of design.

The pier in the far right background has what might be Hulett unloaders. These were featured on Shorpy not long ago.

Once again, a photo rich in satisfying detail and excellently composed and exposed.

Love my puzzles.

If any photo would make the perfect jigsaw puzzle, this is it.

That smoke looks real

Looks like a very well made model train layout.

2 Way Traffic

As shown by the railroad ferry slip in the center, and the loaded United States - Ontario Steam Navigation Co. coal cars waiting for the boat, the port was also used for Northbound traffic across Lake Erie to Canada.

Switchman's nightmare

Look at all the switches in these tracks. It must have been a nightmare for the switchman. Or did a worker walk alongside and change the switches as needed?


Looks like a poor man's Ashtabula. Nice photo.

The other end of the trail

We saw the Marquette, Michigan docks where they load the boats with ore a few years ago on Shorpy. (Yes, they are called boats on the Great Lakes, even if they're 1,000 feet long).

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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