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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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Big Tipper: 1910

Big Tipper: 1910

Toledo, Ohio, circa 1910. "Brown hoist, Ohio Central coal dock." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Hoist photos

I would like to build a 1/4" scale model of this dumper. Does anyone know of other photos available or drawings? Thanks.

[Another one here and more Brown hoists here. - Dave]

Brownhoist Car Dumping Machine

As detailed below, this car dumper was designed to address the "all-important question of breakage of the coal."

"Brownhoist," Brown Hoisting Machinery Company, 1905.

Car Dumping Machine

During the past few years several types of car-dumping machines for transferring coal (for water shipment) from cars to vessels have been put in successful operation in America, but the designers of these machines have not given much attention to the all-important question of breakage of the coal.

The Brown Hoisting Machinery Company studied the car-dumping machine question carefully, and determined to produce a machine that would effect the following results:

  1. Handle the coal without breakage.
  2. Keep the vessel on even bilge and keel while loading.
  3. Put the entire cargo aboard without moving the vessel.
  4. Load the vessel rapidly and economically.
  5. Handle the loaded and empty cars to and from the machine, doing away with a locomotive and train-crew.

No other machine has been produced that embodies all of these features, while our machine accomplishes them perfectly.

MAIN FEATURES. The conspicuous elements of our Car-dumping Machines are:

  • The Car-tipping Device, or Cradle, into which the car is run and then clamped, which then turns over with the car and discharges its contents.
  • The Transfer-tubs and Tub-cars, into which the coal is dumped from the car in the Cradle.
  • The Overhead Traveling Cranes, which take the tubs from the tub-handling cars and lower them into the hold of the vessel.
  • The Car-pushing Device and system of tracks by which the loaded and emptv cars are put into and taken out of the machine.

OPERATION. When the Cradle is in its lowest position, as shown in the picture on page 130, a loaded car of coal is pushed into same by the operator with the Car-pushing Device, or "Ground-hog" (commonly called because it rests in a pit between the tracks when not in use, so that the cars can pass over it). Once in the Cradle, which will take any size gondola- or hopper-car, from the largest to the smallest, the car is quickly clamped on the top and sides with hydraulic clamping-bars, and the engines set in motion, slowly turning the Cradle over until the car is upside down, wheels in the air, as shown in the picture on page 131.

During the process of overturning the car, the coal has rolled, not fallen, from the car into six hopper-compartments attached to the Cradle, and these six hoppers have each of them entered a Transfer-tub, also shown in the picture. These hopper-compartments have doors which are automatically released on touching the bottom of the Transfer-tubs. Therefore, when the Cradle is returned to its original position the car of coal is left in these six Transfer-tubs, where it has been very carefully placed, not having been dropped or broken in any manner. It is necessary to put the coal in these oblong tubs so that it can be lowered by the cranes into the vessels. When the Cradle has returned to its former position the empty car is pushed out by the next loaded car coming in, and runs by gravity to the empty track; the loaded car is clamped in place and the operation repeated. In the meantime, however, the tub-handling car containing the tubs just filled is pulled away by the operator from in front of the hoppers, and a car containing empty tubs takes its place.

OVERHEAD CRANES. Two Overhead Steam Traveling Cranes, running over the machine at a speed of 600 feet per minute, having telescopic rams (to pass the masts of the vessels) which work independently of the rest of the machine, now take these tubs, one at a time, from the tub-handling car and lower them carefully into the ship's hold, where, after touching the ship's bottom or the top of the coal-pile, the doors are released and the coal gently rolls out as the tub is pulled away. The crane-operator then returns the empty tub to its proper position on the tub-handling car, taking the next filled tub and dumping it in the same manner. When all the tubs on this car are emptied it is returned to the hoppers for another load. The crane-operator can dump the tubs in the center of the hatch or at either side of same, and can distribute the coal to all hatches, and by this distribution of the coal it is possible to keep the vessel trimmed at all times and to keep the boat on an even keel.

What's that machinery in the middle?

The ore cart loader in the middle, below the crane, with the angled wooden box, looks odd to me. Why not just a chute?

Mechanical Monster

Wouldn't it be great to see a movie film of this steam-powered behemoth in operation? Just imagine the noise!

Just a guess

It appears this lake freighter is being loaded at a coal transshipping dock for outbound delivery. The crane hopper is more suited to loading a ship's hold rather than digging out a cargo hold and transferring the load on-shore.

Toledo & Ohio Central

The T&OC ran from the southern West Virginia coal fields to Toledo via Charleston WV and Columbus OH. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of the New York Central system at some point, losing its road name off the cars and locomotives.

Big Tipper Still Lives

Many modern coal fired power plants unload coal hopper cars by turning them over to dump. Damp coal can freeze jamming the hoppers and even dry coal can jam. Power plants grind the coal into powder, mix it with water and spray it into the firebox of the boiler.

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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