Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)


Bob Chaparro
 

In the San Jacinto Valley, CA, the arrival of the railroad in 1888 facilitated the inbound movement of construction materials for the Hemet Dam, located above Hemet in Garner Valley. The dam was constructed between 1891 and 1895. Cement for the dam came from Belgium and was shipped in 400-pound barrels around Cape Horn to San Diego, then by rail to San Jacinto. Over 20,000 barrels were used for the dam.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Donald B. Valentine <riverman_vt@...>
 

Thank you Bob. My undrstanding from some of the oldtimers is that raw cement was shipped in barrels at 
least up into the early 1930's, if not all the way up to the beginning of WW II, but I've never seen any written
or photographic confirmation of it. The barrels I was told about were said to be normal, banded wood stave
barrels as opposed to something like 55 gal. steel drums. 

During the summer after I finished university I worked for the Vermont Highway Dept. as a concrete inspector 
while waiting to go into the military. This was back when what is now the Vermont Agency of Transportation 
knew how to build highways, an art they have since forgotten. Four of us were based at the old Miller Ready-Mix
plant off of US Rt. #4 on the New Hampshire bank of the Connectcut River opposite White River Jct., VT. The 
site had apparently been part of the Boston & Maine RR's original yard in the area before the so-called New Yard 
was constructed south of the White River Jct. depot. Thus the lease had a requirement that a certin percentage
of the inbound cement had to come by rail rather than Ft. Edwards Express trucks. All of the cement originated 
in the Glen Falls, NY area and that coming by rail came in early D&H Greenville 70 ton covered hoppers. When 
full the cement was still roughly 3 ft.below the roof of the car....as I found out when it became my turn to pulll a 
sample before an arriving load could be emptied into the storage silo. We dd not have a steel rod with a cn or 
scoop attached as one would have thought would be used. I was glad to have leather boots on my feet that day 
as I had to jump down into the car through an open hatch and fill a small pail with cement before clambering back 
out again withi it. Wih that dusty atmosphere the shower was a welcome site that evening! During a summer 
school vacation period some fifteen years ago I trucked cement from Quebec to Vermont in air differential 
pressure trailers. That's an awful lot easier way to unload such material from either a truck trailer or a railroad car.

Cordially, Don Valentine


Bob Chaparro
 

 

My guess is most barrels for cement were a size known as a tierce, which is about 42 gallons. This is the size of a barrel of petroleum or salt. A 42-gallon barrel of salt would weigh about 400 pounds.

 

Tight cooperage was used for liquids and was made from straight, knotless white oak. Beer barrels had the most demanding standards. They had to hold both pressure and liquid, so they were lined with pitch and made of thicker and choicer wood.

 

Slack cooperage used less choice wood and held dry items such as fruit and cement.

 

I am still searching for a photo of a barrel of cement.

 

Bob Chaparro

 

Hemet, CA

 


Douglas Harding
 

There is a photo of a cement barrel on this site: http://northampton.thelehighvalleypress.com/2019/07/10/remembering-coplay-cement-company-progress-industry

 

What does a barrel of cement weight? There are approximately 4 bags of regular cement to a barrel or, the weight of 376 lbs.

 

Cement was shipped in covered hoppers beginning in the 50's. Prior to the use of covered hoppers, cement was shipped in boxcars, in barrels, bags, or even loose. Can you image shoveling out a boxcar of loose cement? Andrews Concrete Products of Mason City, received bulk cement via rail, ie boxcars and later covered hoppers from the Lehigh and Northwestern States plants, which were less than four miles away. Andrews sits just north of the M&StL Engine House/Turntable area in Mason City. The floor in the engine house was poured with "leftovers" from the Redi-mix trucks returning to Andrews for refills.

 

Here is a page from a government study. It mentions cement shipped in steel drums and wood barrels, as well as bulk and bags.

 

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 7:15 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)

 

 

My guess is most barrels for cement were a size known as a tierce, which is about 42 gallons. This is the size of a barrel of petroleum or salt. A 42-gallon barrel of salt would weigh about 400 pounds.

 

Tight cooperage was used for liquids and was made from straight, knotless white oak. Beer barrels had the most demanding standards. They had to hold both pressure and liquid, so they were lined with pitch and made of thicker and choicer wood.

 

Slack cooperage used less choice wood and held dry items such as fruit and cement.

 

I am still searching for a photo of a barrel of cement.

 

Bob Chaparro

 

Hemet, CA

 


Dennis Storzek
 

Lots of things used to be shipped in barrels at one time. Another example would be nails, which used to come in small size barrels called kegs. Last time I saw a nail keg was in the sixties while in high school. The wood shop instructor and I were down in the basement under the shops looking for some hardwood planks for a project, and off to the side was a row of kegs with different size nails. The typical high school wood shop doesn't use many nails, and now I'm wondering if these were still from the original stock-up order from when the school was built in the thirties.

Railroad spikes and track bolts still come in kegs, although the modern version are short steel drums. For that matter, a lot of smaller foundry product was shipped in barrels at one time; barrels are stronger than crates, and easier to move by hand.

Strangest one I remember was receiving several factory type lunchroom tables manufactured by the Chicago Hardware Foundry back about 1975, and the leg castings and swing arms for the seats were packed in fiberboard drums, which are also a modern derivative of the barrel. Traditional practices die hard.

Dennis Storzek


Richard Townsend
 

Fine china sometimes was shipped i barrels, padded with excelsior.

Richard Townsend
Lincoln City, OR


Bob Chaparro
 

Well, Doug's chart certainly explains the dearth of cement barrel photos.

As to overall cement shipments, here is a chart of a sampling of cement shipments from the Modeling the CNW in Milwaukee, 1957 Blog.

Chart Caption: "It turns out that with very minor exceptions, the portland cement traffic travelled in box cars or in special cars. In 1950 the majority of the traffic was in box cars, but by the end of the decade the situation was reversed and special cars were carrying the majority of the traffic."

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Tim O'Connor
 

So the fork lift and the wood pallet doomed most barrel use?

Tim O'


-----Original Message-----

From: destorzek@...
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: 2020-03-17 11:16:56 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)

Lots of things used to be shipped in barrels at one time. Another example would be nails, which used to come in small size barrels called kegs. Last time I saw a nail keg was in the sixties while in high school. The wood shop instructor and I were down in the basement under the shops looking for some hardwood planks for a project, and off to the side was a row of kegs with different size nails. The typical high school wood shop doesn't use many nails, and now I'm wondering if these were still from the original stock-up order from when the school was built in the thirties.

Railroad spikes and track bolts still come in kegs, although the modern version are short steel drums. For that matter, a lot of smaller foundry product was shipped in barrels at one time; barrels are stronger than crates, and easier to move by hand.

Strangest one I remember was receiving several factory type lunchroom tables manufactured by the Chicago Hardware Foundry back about 1975, and the leg castings and swing arms for the seats were packed in fiberboard drums, which are also a modern derivative of the barrel. Traditional practices die hard.

Dennis Storzek


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


George Eichelberger
 

I do not have access to the file in the SRHA archives right now but the Southern Railway file on the construction of Fontana Dam in Western NC describes the railroad carried many thousands (20+?) of box car loads of bagged cement on the Murphy Branch (partially relocated because of the dam) 1942-44.

Ike


Mont Switzer
 

Tim,

 

I don’t think it has much affect.  Depending on the size of the drums, they fit nicely on a pallet, which was easier to handle.  Four 55 gallon steel drums fit nicely onto a 48 inch pallet.

 

There is also a “gizmo” that allows a forklift to attach itself directly to a 55 gallon steel drum, one or two at a time for floor loading.

 

The way I read all of this the pallet didn’t show up until after cement  was no longer shipped in barrels, though.

 

Mont

 

Montford L. Switzer

President

Switzer Tank Lines, Inc.

Fall Creek Leasing, LLC.

mswitzer@...

(765) 836-2914

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 9:51 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)

 

So the fork lift and the wood pallet doomed most barrel use?

Tim O'


-----Original Message-----

From: destorzek@...
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Sent: 2020-03-17 11:16:56 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)

Lots of things used to be shipped in barrels at one time. Another example would be nails, which used to come in small size barrels called kegs. Last time I saw a nail keg was in the sixties while in high school. The wood shop instructor and I were down in the basement under the shops looking for some hardwood planks for a project, and off to the side was a row of kegs with different size nails. The typical high school wood shop doesn't use many nails, and now I'm wondering if these were still from the original stock-up order from when the school was built in the thirties.

Railroad spikes and track bolts still come in kegs, although the modern version are short steel drums. For that matter, a lot of smaller foundry product was shipped in barrels at one time; barrels are stronger than crates, and easier to move by hand.

Strangest one I remember was receiving several factory type lunchroom tables manufactured by the Chicago Hardware Foundry back about 1975, and the leg castings and swing arms for the seats were packed in fiberboard drums, which are also a modern derivative of the barrel. Traditional practices die hard.

Dennis Storzek


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Nolan Hinshaw
 

On Mar 17, 2020, at 20:37, Richard Townsend via Groups.Io <richtownsend=netscape.net@groups.io> wrote:

Fine china sometimes was shipped i barrels, padded with excelsior.
This suggests a rail/marine scene, as in the 19th and early 20th centuries China came to North America in the holds of ships, packed just like that. Visit the 1886 steel sailing ship Balclutha[0] at the only floating national park in the US[1] to see an example.

[0] Connell & Sons, Glasgow
[1] San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park: <http://www.nps.gov/safr/>
--
"Honor is a mere scutcheon."
John Falstaff, Henry IV Part 1
V.i.129–139