Re: 36' Fowler/Dominion cars and "almosts"...

Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., "Charlie Vlk" <cvlk@...> wrote:

If I recall correctly, the Fowler Patent was based on a slotted hole
in the structural members which allowed boards to be
moved to "tighten up" the sheathing. Many cars (most of those
listed?) may not be true Fowler Patent Cars but simply
have the structural pattern ("sawtooth" pattern of
framing/floor/sheathing) and other architecture of the Canadian Cars....
not to say that some US cars were not built under the patents.
For our purposes the elongated screw holes are probably not a major
concern.... hidden behind the screw heads as they
Charlie Vlk

I agree with Charlie on the name, which is why I like the "Dominion
car" coined by Stafford Swain and Paul Clegg, but I realize that a lot
of folks use the Dominion and Fowler names interchangeably. However,
the "sawtooth" post, crossbearer, and sidesill arrangement is totally
unrelated to the Dominion cars, and was possibly never built in
Canada. All the Canadian Dominion cars had conventional channel
section side sills, although early production did use a body bolster
that extended a couple inches below the bottom of the side sills. This
includes the 36' Dominion car copies built for the Soo line by AC&F in

The "sawtooth" design seems to have been originated by AC&F, first
used on an order of 40' cars built for the Frisco in 1913, and also an
order for the Soo Line that same year. AC&F went on to use the design
for several other roads, almost always on 40' cars.

The Soo Line liked the design enough that when they changed their car
buying allegiance to Haskell & Barker (later Pullman) they had B&B
copy the underframe design, with some changes. AC&F got another bite
at the apple in 1923, but those cars incorporated the same changes as
the H&B cars.

The CP eventually started converting some of their large fleet of 36"
Dominion cars to stockcars. When the Soo needed new stockcars, they
didn't have the large fleet of 36' steel frame boxcars to draw upon,
so they had H&B shrink the 40' boxcar framing down to 36', and these
cars bear a strong resemblance to the CP stockcars, except for the
"sawtooth" side sill. But they are really more like second cousins,
twice removed.

All of the above has been developed from roster information; I have
yet to find an article in the trade press of the day, or any company
correspondence that explains who was the proponent of this side sill
design, and what arguments they made in it's favor. If I could find
that, I'd finally be able to write an article on the cars.


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