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Author Topic: The Monson Gets A New Handcar  (Read 41185 times)
Roger Whitney
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« on: May 31, 2012, 05:28:07 PM »


   It’s the fall of 1910 and it seems the Monson was in need of a new or additional handcar.  An inquiry was sent out to the Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. among others.  By November 9, 1910 Kalamazoo had returned a quote giving price and specs for a “No. 6 hand car for 24” gauge track”.
   Evidently it took a while for Supt. Morrill to get around to it as he didn’t reply to Kalamazoo until May 20th, 1911!
   Let’s take a look at Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. The Kalamazoo Railroad Velocipede and Car Company was founded in 1883 in Kalamazoo Michigan.  By 1901 it had changed its name to Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. It manufactured hand and push cars, velocipedes, motor cars, jacks, tanks, stand pipes and other products needed for railroad work.  The company survived in various forms until the 1990’s.
   Anyway, Kalamazoo advised that the car be “made with their low gearing of 60:32."  Morrill wanted to know how fast this car could be propelled with that gear ratio.  Later he clarifies that by asking how fast the car can be propelled on LEVEL track.  He further states that the grade the men would be required to propel the car by hand would be about 2%. 
   Even though the Monson letter press is an awesome source of information going out to various parties, the incoming replies have been mainly lost.  In this case I have not found the original Kalamazoo letter in the archives.  It would be really great to know the price and specs and “how fast” it would go.
   Pictures of Monson hand cars are extremely rare, with only one known picture.  On page 10 of the Jones book, and on page 115 of the Kohler book, there is a picture of a hand crank model taken about 1890.  I wonder if this one was damaged or maybe they just needed another one.  The 1916 inventory lists the Kalamazoo handcar, but not the old one in the picture.
   
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Roger Whitney
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 05:31:59 PM »

Sorry for the sequence mix up with last week's blog!
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Steve Klare
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 06:00:48 PM »

Roger,

By "hand crank model" do you mean two sprocket gears and chain drive? I've always wondered if these were unique to the Franklin County Lines.

The crank car in Phillips and I are old friends.  Back in the late 80s, early 90s a friend and I could cover that half mile in a frightening few minutes. It was as much fun as is possible without using pistons.
 
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Wayne Laepple
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 08:00:56 PM »

Crank cars were the predecessors of the pump hand cars we are more familiar with. They came into use around 1860 and were mostly obsolete on standard gauge lines by around 1900. Bits and pieces of a standard gauge crank car are (were) in the shop at Sheepscot. Based on the shape of the wheels, I suspect it was a Kalamazoo, too.

As for Kalamazoo, their motorcars and larger track cars were quite well-built and reliable. I have seen Kalamazoo cars that were designed to transport crews of loggers into the woods in West Virginia. At one time Cass had one that was powered by a 1936 Ford V-8. A few shortlines used similar cars for passenger and mail transport.
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Roger Whitney
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 01:34:25 AM »

Steve,  The picture of the Monson hand car looks like a hand crank model with chain and sprocket drive.  If someone has an old Kalamazoo catalog and can find their No. 6 model, we'd have it.  There must be some old catalogs out there!
Wayne, thanks for the extra info on this!
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Duncan Mackiewicz
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 07:05:50 PM »

Roger,
If anyone wants to see the #6 model (simply a narrow gauge version of the #4 model) simply go to www.kalamazoomanufacturingco.net and click on the 1956 catalog. Scan down the page to "velocipedes, gauges and levels" and there is the catalog page with pictures of both handcars (or go to www.kalamazoomanufacturingco.net/cat1956/railroad/velocipede_2.jpg). The page can be enlarged and printed.
Duncan
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Roger Whitney
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 12:50:37 AM »

Thanks Duncan!
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Sam Leighton
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »


   It’s the fall of 1910 and it seems the Monson was in need of a new or additional handcar.  An inquiry was sent out to the Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. among others.  By November 9, 1910 Kalamazoo had returned a quote giving price and specs for a “No. 6 hand car for 24” gauge track”.
   Evidently it took a while for Supt. Morrill to get around to it as he didn’t reply to Kalamazoo until May 20th, 1911!
   Let’s take a look at Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. The Kalamazoo Railroad Velocipede and Car Company was founded in 1883 in Kalamazoo Michigan.  By 1901 it had changed its name to Kalamazoo Railway Supply Co. It manufactured hand and push cars, velocipedes, motor cars, jacks, tanks, stand pipes and other products needed for railroad work.  The company survived in various forms until the 1990’s.
   Anyway, Kalamazoo advised that the car be “made with their low gearing of 60:32."  Morrill wanted to know how fast this car could be propelled with that gear ratio.  Later he clarifies that by asking how fast the car can be propelled on LEVEL track.  He further states that the grade the men would be required to propel the car by hand would be about 2%. 
   Even though the Monson letter press is an awesome source of information going out to various parties, the 3 week diet review says that it works to burn fat fast and the incoming replies have been mainly lost.  In this case I have not found the original Kalamazoo letter in the archives.  It would be really great to know the price and specs and “how fast” it would go.
   Pictures of Monson hand cars are extremely rare, with only one known picture.  On page 10 of the Jones book, and on page 115 of the Kohler book, there is a picture of a hand crank model taken about 1890.  I wonder if this one was damaged or maybe they just needed another one.  The 1916 inventory lists the Kalamazoo handcar, but not the old one in the picture.
   
My grandparents have what looks like the Kalamazoo #6 hand car in a lockup in their garden. I'm not sure if it is genuinely a Kalamazoo but it looks just like the picture. How much are these worth?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 05:41:36 PM by Sam Leighton » Logged
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