Re: Dominion Cars

Dennis Storzek


---In STMFC@..., <stmfc@...> wrote:

I generally refer to Canadian cars as "Dominion", and to American cars as "Fowlers". There are subtle but obvious design differences between the two nation's "Fowler-type" cars, even after the Canadians stopped following the original designs. Mostly, the roofs are different between the two car types, and the original Fowler/Dominion cars have a horizontal brace at each end panel. There's also more end variation in American cars.

I'm currently armpit deep in examining the NKP and NYC's wood boxcar fleets, but after I'm done with those I'll be taking a good, hard look at all of these cars to see just where everything falls. One thing I think I've noticed is that it may have been the IC (1914) that first stretched the 36' Fowlers into 40-foot cars, which were then copied by the CGR (1916).

The problem with this is that when the Soo Line had AC&F stretch the design to 40' in 1913, they also changed the underframe to a deep fishbelly centersill, and introduces the odd crossbearer / post / side sill connection that give the cars their distinctive "sawtooth" look, yet these are truly Fowler cars, as they have the slotted holes for the sheathing bolts in the framing, as described in the Fowler patent. I've never found any evidence that they had the more extensive tightening system described in Mr. Fowler's additional claims, but the slotted holes are claimed in the patent. It could well be that there are additional cars of other designs that also made use of the Fowler patent.

In the series of articles, Stafford freely admits he coined the term "Dominion car", to honor the development work DC&F did in conjunction with CPR. Al Westerfield admits he adopted the term after seeing the Fowler advertisment, without realizing that all the cars claimed were not of the same design. What's the matter with simply calling them what they are, 36' single sheathed cars?

Dennis Storzek

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