MLS&W Restoration Report #5
February 2002

by Don Ginter, Curator, ©2002 MCRHS

Since our September 2001 open house, the majority of the work on the MLS&W #63 has taken place away from the museum at North Freedom. This off-site work consists of interpreting many of the remaining interior detail items and then searching for a source of these items at an affordable cost. Our restoration Project Manager Glenn Guerra made a second trip to the Nevada State Railroad Museum at Carson City in early October 2001, to obtain additional information from their Virginia & Truckee #18, an 1890 Barney & Smith-built coach. After this trip, several members met with Glenn in our coach and spent the day verifying the hardware that left the imprint and attachment patterns on the floor and walls and exchanging ideas in response to other questions we had, using information Glenn had obtained from his Nevada State Railroad Museum visit.

Glenn has now prepared drawings for the seat frame, seat back, mounting hardware and brake system mounts. The pattern for the cast seat legs has been completed and the castings, from this pattern, have been drilled, painted, and delivered to the museum awaiting assembly with the seat frames. A wood turning shop with a numerically controlled router was located to produce the spindles for the arm rests from wood blanks prepared by Glenn. These spindles have been completed and are ready to be assembled into the remainder of the seat arm. A second woodworking subcontractor is preparing the seat armrest top while Glenn works on the bottom portion. The seat frame, cushion frame, and back frame are also being built by sub-contractors. The seat hardware has been verified from early Dayton Manufacturing Co. catalogs and screw holes still evident in the coach; casting patterns and lost wax patterns for the brass hardware are being worked on.

The original brass basket racks used in the coach have been identified from existing screw holes in the coach wall and an original rack obtained for pattern work. The pattern for the casting is now being prepared by a pattern shop in Baraboo. At the same time, a sample of the side lamp smoke bell vent that appears to meet the style used in venting the side lamps through the coach head-liner panel and roof has been obtained and drawings prepared. Complicating the design of the smoke bell is a spun metal ball joint that allows the smoke bell above the lamp to adjust to the varying angles of the head-liner panels where the smoke bell collar attaches. Many area metal spinning contractors were queried before one was found that had experience spinning a ball joint. This manufacturer is now preparing a quote on the fabrication of the smoke bells.

The saloon or washroom door design was identified from early interior photographs of V&T #18 coach. Drawings have been completed for the door pattern and Glenn will begin producing a men’s and women’s saloon door along with new partitions to replicate the men’s saloon. This replicated saloon will also contain a reproduced Colonna carving at the upper corner of the partition identical to the original at the women’s saloon. New oak veneer head-liner and ceiling panels have been glued up in shaped forms by Glenn. A first coat of shellac has been applied and then the panels have been sanded. They have now been delivered to Affiliated Artists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the application of the stenciling. Affiliated Artists will be analyzing paint samples and application techniques from the panels with their paint expert in Chicago.

During the latter part of October 2001, Glenn traveled to Pennsylvania to consult on another job. On his way, he stopped at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, to research a collection of material they hold from the Dayton Manufacturing Co. Dayton Manufacturing Co. produced car hardware and was owned by many of the same principals that controlled Barney & Smith. Unfortunately, the collection did not yield any specific information pertaining to equipment used on the MLS&W #63. A ledger was discovered with an entry for the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad, and many other railroads. It appears that the railroads would purchase directly from Dayton Mfg. and have the material delivered directly to Barney & Smith for installation on their cars. This ledger gives the order date, amount of the invoice and the date it was paid, but no details on the order. One interesting discovery in this ledger was that E. Colonna had many entries. It appears he may have been doing design work while employed at Barney & Smith for outside interests and was having Dayton Mfg. produce the items. He was the only individual listed in this ledger.


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A line up of cast seat legs await assembly with the seat frames for installation inside MLS&W #63.