Re: Photo: Unloading Grain

Douglas Harding

True there were grain un-loaders as Dan describes. Photos attached. Usually installed are very large terminal grain ports, where time was crucial, ie to load a waiting ship. Or where a large number of cars were handled every day, ie a large flour mill. Because of the expense and complexity these un-loaders were not found at the local feed mill or grain elevator.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Daniel A. Mitchell
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 7:58 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Unloading Grain


Even in an age of low wages it must have been slow and expensive … otherwise there would have been no market for the large, elaborate, and obviously very expensive boxcar unloading machines. These things grabbed the entire boxcar, lifted it, tilted it, and rocked the entire car back and forth to pour the grain (or other commodity) out of the open door.


It’s not a lot different in principal to a coal-dumper, just a bit smaller, and does not completely invert the car (wouldn’t need to anyway, since box cars have roofs). It’s also not a one-shot operation like a coal dumper … the box car needed to be tipped back and forth a few times.


One of these things would make a fabulous model.


Dan Mitchell


On Apr 27, 2021, at 6:44 PM, mel perry <clipper841@...> wrote:


out of curiosity, has it ever been mentioned how many people were

required and how long it took to

manually unload a boxcar loaded with



mel perry


On Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 1:46 PM Douglas Harding <iowacentralrr@...> wrote:

Good photo showing the use of a “power” shovel. Note the pulley on the lower edge of the photo and the man holding the cable used to pull the shovel, via an overhead winch or motor. There should be two pulley’s, one near each edge of the door, allowing for the “shovel” to be pulled from either end of the car as the inside man is unloading. The third man in the bibs is holding a sampling cup, used to take a sample of the grain for testing purposes.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 12:31 PM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Unloading Grain


Photo: Unloading Grain

A photo from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Libraries:

Click on the arrows and scroll on the photo to enlarge it.

As in other recent photos, hard manual labor. The man in center possibly there to sample the grain.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA




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