Re: Photo: Loading Coal Into Boxcars? (1914)

Douglas Harding

Here is what I have on the Ottumwa Boxcar Loader, built in Ottumwa, Iowa. Iowa at the turn of the 1900s had a thriving coal industry.


W.E. Hunt, of The Ottumwa Iron Works, & Henry Phillips, of Phillips Coal Co, (Ottumwa, Iowa) designed a machine to load coal (and other material) in box cars, which was installed at one of Phillips' mines. The first machine was built at Hardsocg Manufacturing, (Ottumwa.) Then a plant was built at Main & Wapello Streets, (building later used by Nicholls Manufacturing Company.) Ottumwa Box Car Loader Co. was Incorporated in 1906, and company was moved to new location on West Second Street. Company had a fire in 1910, but remained in business. (Company has been out of business for some time now, since coal is no longer mined in the Ottumwa, Iowa area.) Former officers of the company were: Henry Phillips, president; W.E. Hunt, vice president & general superintendent; Philip P. Phillips, general manager & treasurer; Howard Phillips, plant superintendent. Box car loaders were installed at Rock Spring, Wyoming; Fairmont, West Virginia; and Portland, Oregon. Company territory included Canada, as well as United States.


PROMINENT CITIZENS from Ottumwa, Yesterday and Today- By Glenn B Meagher and Harry B Munsell, 1923

WILLIAM E HUNT- Inventor; William E Hunt, inventor, supervises the building of the big machines which are the product of the Ottumwa Box Car Loader company. Mr Hunt makes a continuous study of the needs of industry and keeps a few moves ahead of the demand by perfecting new machines to handle heavy burdens expeditiously.

HENRY PHILLIPS- Manufacturer; Henry Phillips divides his time between Ottumwa and Natchez, Miss., having a large plantation near the latter city. Ottumwa, however, still is "home". Mr Phillips had been identified with the community's development for many years before he established the Box Car Loader Company. He was prominently connected with Ottumwa's Coal Palace and is one of two living directors of the exposition.



Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Josh
Sent: Monday, September 14, 2020 4:18 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Loading Coal Into Boxcars? (1914)


Regarding the "widget" - 

The Standard Coal Company operated in Spring Canyon northwest of Helper. The company town there was named Standardville, an experiment in standardized and sanitary construction with all buildings built to the same concrete and ceramic block design.

The coal tipple likewise being thoroughly groundbreaking was equipped with several options for loading: standard chutes for gondolas and open hopper, door chutes for boxcars, and a massive mechanical contraption called the Ottumwa Boxcar Loader. Ottumwa produced more typical conveyor belts for loading cars, but this device was much more elaborate. The boxcars were spotted on a rocker, which would lift them up on one end so that coal could be poured inside. Then appropriate bulkheads were placed and the car was flipped on end to the other side to be filled. The widget is the coupler post that locked onto the car and held it in place while it went on its seesaw ride.

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.