Hopper Car, Standard Steel Car Co., 1909
This early steel-construction hopper car was built by Standard Steel Car Company at their Butler, Pennsylvania plant in 1909 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. C&O sold the car to The Wisconsin Electric Railway & Light Company in 1935 and it was renumbered E134. Three years later, it was transferred to Wisconsin Electric Power Company. In 1977, the car was sold to Mid-Continent and moved to North Freedom. It has been used to store coal for steam locomotive use.
The open top hopper type of freight car was directly responsible for bringing steel construction into the forefront by 1905. George L. Harvey of Chicago had built experimental or prototypes of steel freight cars in the 1890’s, but the conservative nature of the wooden freight car industry stifled their embracement by builders or railroads. In 1895, Charles Taylor an assistant to Andrew Carnegie, president of the huge Carnegie Steel company, devised the first steel construction open top self-clearing hopper adopting heavily from an existing Pennsylvania Railroad wooden design. The result was a 50-ton car, a 42% increase in capacity with only a 13% increase in the car’s weight. Two prototypes were built and showed to the Master Car Builder Association’s annual meeting in 1896. But the conservative car builders had no interest in this new car.