Re: Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar

Jerry Dziedzic

A few thoughts to add to Mal's.  Cement packaging long relied on barrels and cloth bags.  I credit Hercules Cement with the first rail shipments in covered hoppers, in 1929.  Tony Thompson has a photo of bulk cement in a boxcar during the construction of Shasta Dam in the 1940's; imagine unloading that one!  It's my guess that bulk eliminated barrels, but I don't know when.  I don't know when paper sacks replaced cloth, either; about the same time flour made the change?  I have LCL waybills from the early 1940's returning bundles of cloth bags to cement mills.

Weight is the advantage a sack has over a barrel. One sack contains a cubic foot of cement weighing 94 lbs, more easily carried to a small job site.  A barrel's volume was 4 cu. ft. so a barrel weighed 376 lbs. Boxcar loads of sacks from Lehigh Valley cement producers were common in the 60's and early 70's  Much cement still moves in sacks, though now by truck.

Pennsylvania's Public Utilities Commission permitted highway bulk transport in 1958, as I remember.  Wish I were near my files to confirm this date.

Jerry Dziedzic

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