Re: Patents [Was:More on B&O Slack Adjuster.]

Frank Greene

np328 wrote:
I would be careful making any blanket statements on this subject. I am at work so cannot quote some sources directly, however have read, I believe, in either the NP books, Classic Steam Era or Supersteam Era, mention is made of a gentleman who while employed in the Northern Pacific shops, invented the "Cyclone Front End Device". Looking from the top down, the device was a long baffle that swirled the flue gases around in a closing spiral not unlike water going down a drain. This was enough to break up or extinguish greatly any burning cinders. The person who invented this device became rather well off from doing so, (while in the employment of the railroad). I have also heard the same, told first person by Jack Christensen, former Road Forman of Engineers on the NP. Of course these are different eras and companies, hence my opening sentence. James Dick - St. Paul, MN

Staying in the steam era (well, for RRs that were not early implementers, like the Southern Railway), the story is told in "Brosnan, The Railroads' Messiah" that Bill Brosnan, during the years he was a Southern Railway General Manager and Operations VP, patented several track and freight car maintenance inventions. He was an engineering graduate of GA Tech, so was certainly qualified to design these machines, but I believe he was the "idea man" who sketched out a concept and others did the actual development. The resulting designs were licensed to railroad equipment suppliers, such as Railway Maintenance Corporation, and Brosnan received royalties for the equipment sold to other RRs. The royalties were a tidy supplement to his RR compensation.


Frank Greene
Memphis, TN

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