Built to Move Millions
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228 pages

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At the beginning of the 20th century, the street railway industry was one of the largest in the nation. Once ubiquitously visible on the city streets, by mid-century the streetcar was nothing more than a distant memory. Ohio was home to several large streetcar systems, especially in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and had more interurban tracks than any other state in the union. Thus, Ohio served as one of the street railway industry's greatest centers of manufacturing.

Built to Move Millions examines the manufacture of streetcars and interurbans within the state of Ohio between 1900 and 1940. In addition to discussing the five major car builders that were active in Ohio during this period, the book addresses Ohio companies that manufactured the various components that went into these vehicles.


1. An Introduction to the Street Railway Industry
2. Car Builders of Ohio
3. Making the Cars Go: Components Essential for Operation
4. Couplers: When, Where, and Why They Were Used
5. Protecting the Public (and Themselves): Street Railways and the Manufacture of Safety Appliances
6. Fare Collection and Registration
7. Seldom Mentioned: Trimmings, Hardware, and Ventilation
8. The Decade of Transition, 1910–1919
9. Promise and Stagnation: Streetcar Technology during the 1920s
10. Parts of the Whole: Streetcar Component Manufacture during the 1920s
11. Streetcar Manufacture during the 1930s

Afterword: 1938 and the End of an Era
Appendix: Tables



Publié par
Date de parution 17 avril 2008
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253028020
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Built to Move Millions
George M. Smerk, editor
Built to Move Millions
Indiana University Press ⊙ Bloomington & Indianapolis
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press 601 North Morton Street Bloomington, IN 47404-3797 USA
  Telephone orders 800-842-6796 Fax orders 812-855-7931 Orders by e-mail iuporder@indiana.edu
©2008 by Craig R. Semsel
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American UniversityPresses’ Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American NationalStandard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSIZ39.48-1984.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Semsel, Craig R.
Built to move millions: streetcar building in Ohio / Craig R. Semsel.
   p. cm.—(Railroads past and present)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-34985-9 (cloth: alk. paper) 1. Street-railroads—Ohio—History. I. Title.
TF724.O3S46 2008
1  2  3  4  5  13  12  11  10  09  08
To Charles A. Knapp, for that first streetcar ride, and to Violet E. Knapp, for all of the streetcar rides that followed.

  1   An Introduction to the Street Railway Industry
  2   Car Builders of Ohio
  3   Making the Cars Go: Components Essential for Operation
  4   Couplers: When, Where, and Why They Were Used
  5   Protecting the Public (and Themselves): Street Railways and the Manufacture of Safety Appliances
  6   Fare Collection and Registration
  7   Seldom Mentioned: Trimmings, Hardware, and Ventilation
  8   The De cade of Transition, 1910–1919
  9   Promise and Stagnation: Streetcar Technology during the 1920s
10   Parts of the Whole: Streetcar Component Manufacture during the 1920s 195
11   Streetcar Manufacture during the 1930s
Afterword: 1938 and the End of an Era
Appendix: Tables
In a very real sense, this book is the product of many individuals and not solely the author whose name appears on the cover. Without their help, this book would never have happened. As I pore over the correspondence, e-mails, and reams of notes that were generated during this book’s gestation, certain names and organizations stand out. For those I may have missed, I offer my sincerest apologies.
This book started and ended at the Cleveland Public Library. For anyone who has not had the privilege of conducting research there, I would encourage him or her to do so. Throughout the research, revision, and illustration stages of this project, the staff at CPL lived up to the term professionalism. A special thank-you should be extended to the staff of the Microfilm Department, which endured countless trips into the CPL basement to unearth the various reels of industry journals and transactions that are kept there. When hard copies of the trade literature were required, the Science and Technology and Business Departments never failed to answer the call. The Photograph Department must have set a record for the speed with which they located and reproduced the images of local streetcar activity.
At Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Dr. Kenneth Ledford was a patient and helpful mentor. On more than one occasion he settled my nerves and explained the mysteries of how books get published. His good humor, pithy insights, and general encouragement were invaluable.
Numerous museums contributed photographs, provided access to artifacts, and offered plenty of information. By far the greatest help came from the Branford Electric Railway Association in Connecticut, which operates the Shoreline Trolley Museum. Archivist and curator Michael Schreiber found plenty of excellent photographs of Ohio-built streetcars, while BERA president William Wall spent what had to be the hottest, most humid day of the year leading me and my wife through basements, barns, and yard trackage to find examples of Ohio-built streetcar components and other items needed to illustrate the various topics covered in this book. Fred Sherwood also helped us gain better access to some of the museum’s exhibits.
The Indiana Historical Society, where most of the Cincinnati Car Company’s photographs are preserved, rivaled the CPL in terms of its professionalism and general helpfulness. Susan Sutton, coordinator of visual references, was a plea sure to work with. She and her assistants came through in the eleventh hour to find the right photograph over the telephone when I had written down the wrong folder number in my notes. To Susan and all of the staff at IHS, thank you.
Surviving Barney & Smith interurbans are relatively rare, but a fine example is undergoing restoration in Coopersville, Michigan. James Budzinsky, president and curator of the Coopersville Area Historical Society and Museum, took me on a tour of this car. Housed in an old interurban electrical substation, the museum still captures the “feel” of the interurban era.
In West Henrietta, New York, the New York Museum of Transportation also has a number of useful cars and artifacts in its collection, as well as one of the most scenic settings for an electric railway museum. Charles Lowe and James Dierks, secretary of the board of trustees, were incredibly helpful in providing information on streetcar construction as well as providing access to areas of the museum that are not normally open to the public.
In Ohio, Dayton History, the organization that operates Carillon Park, went above and beyond the call to allow my wife and me to photograph some of their collection. Amanda Lakatos, communications manager, did a great job of arranging for our visit to Carillon, while education director Alex Heckman made sure that my wife and I had access to everything we needed. Docent Harold Boat was also a great help in an earlier visit to Carillon, especially in providing stories and information that otherwise would not have made it into the book.
In Columbus, the Ohio Railway Museum holds a number of rare artifacts. I thank museum president William Wahl for allowing me to use some of the museum’s postcard images.
Closer to home, useful artifacts were discovered at the Northern Ohio Railway Museum at Chippewa Lake. Fund-raising director Steven Heister took time out of preparing for an open house event to take my wife and me through cars and storage areas to ensure we got the right photographs.
With the exception of photographs provided by CPL and IHS, many of the photographs appearing in this book required professional assistance in their development, as well as substantial coaching as to how to take them in the first place. Amanda Yeaton at Dodd Camera, Westlake, was “in” on the photographic portion of this project from the beginning, and she helped my wife and me avoid costly (not to mention embarrassing) mistakes. She performed wonders with a number of photographic mediums.
Edward Siplock was helpful in more ways than he will ever know. A gifted researcher and genealogist, Ed was working on his own project at the CPL while I was working on this one. Conversation over numerous lunches in downtown Cleveland made an arduous task more pleasant than it otherwise would have been. (For the record, Ed’s book came out before this one.)
At Indiana University Press, series editor George Smerk has been a constant source of encouragement and advice. Without him, this book would never have happened. Linda Oblack has also done much to demolish the stereotype of nasty editors and has been a plea sure to work with.
Last but certainly not least, there is my wife, Autumn. She has been a source of endless encouragement and so much more. She has read and reread all of the drafts, coordinated all of the research trips, formatted all of the text, and taken about half of the photographs. To say “thank-you” to her does not even begin to cover all that she has done.
Built to Move Millions
The modern street railway system was a late-nineteenth-century invention, evolving out of a desire to replace the horsecar. Horsecars first appeared on city streets in the 1830s and were common in most large cities by the 1860s. Essentially, a horse car was a large carriage with metal wheels designed to run on metal rails laid in the middle of the street. Rails were used because they provided a smoother ride, enabling the horse to pull a much heavier load. The cars were not exceptionally fast, usually running at 4–6 miles per hour.
Although popular, the horsecar had numerous disadvantages. Horses moved slowly and typ

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