A Car-Builder's Dictionary

Miller Hook Restoration

A modern-day reconstruction of the famous hook.

The Mid-Continent Railway and Museum at North Freedom, Wisconsin, has a number of wooden passenger cars. Alas, with one exception they are all standard gauge. But they have done some marvelous restoration work, painstakingly researching 19th century car builders and their method, and they have built a beautiful website showing what theyve done. Recently, they completed restoration of Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western coach #63, built in 1888 by Barney & Smith. This car originally had Miller platforms, and these were researched and duplicated. The result is shown below.

Miller Hook On MLS&W Coach #63

Heres the Miller Hook coupler at the end of the car, unfortunately already rigged to connect to a link-and-pin coupling. That hunk of metal protruding from the coupler is not part of the Miller Hook. It is a jerry-rigged device to connect the car firmly to another with link-and-pin couplings. The original had a similar slot to allow its connection to link-and-pin equipped cars, but this would have been done with a loose link, providing a lot of jerk-and-bang which the restoration crew wanted to avoid.

The chain to the right connects to the uncoupling lever, the bottom end of which protrudes below the platform. The chain to the left secures the coupling pin (as in link-and-pin) so it wont get misplaced.

The photo below shows one of the new replica Miller Hook couplers on display during the open house at the museums Car Shop in May 2002. The pin for link-and-pin coupling (which is secured by a chain in the photo above) protrudes from the coupler head. Note the brass face on the inside of the hook. The smoothness of this coupling face, together with its acute angle, would probably hold the couplings together well under tension without any kind of spring action. For that reason, it is probably replaceable.

Miller "Hook"

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11 April 2006

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