[Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Early "coil car" on the C&O 1954

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


There is very little, which is surprising. But maybe not.

They were moving quantities of fairly large, cold-rolled coiled steel sheet, of size, by the mid-thirties, and I have photographic evidence.

Hot rolled in open gons, cold-rolled in box cars, for weather protection.

There was a huge amount of wastage, when using even the biggest sheets, so the auto industry, appliance manufacturers, and can makers, began asking for coiled steel and tin-plate.

There is an enormous amount of research that needs to be done, and many statements about it are simply incorrect. I am only researching the PRR end of it, and with limitations, the other roads doing it, and I am at the tip of the iceberg.

It'd take a decade of full-time work to address the subject, and add to that autos and auto parts.

Here's a summary of mine on correspondence going back and forth between Ford and PRR:

"Oct 6, 1954: memo from Ford Motor Co. stating they asked the PRR, Wabash and DT&I to attend a meeting "for the purpose of developing a loading method for Jumbo rolls (first mention) of strip steel weighing 40,000 to 45,000 pounds each (20 to 22.5 tons EACH!), for shipment between Rouge and Bedford, OH or Buffalo (stamping plants). The DT&I Mechanical Dept was selected to develop the "mechanics of this proposition" and selected a G27 gondola, car number 347680, which is "now fitted with the necessary steel and heavy timbers". Why a PRR car was selected, and not a DT&I car, is unclear, but it may have been a joint sharing of equipment and services from all three railroads. After an initial routing, Ford Motor Company "ordered the car into the Lackawanna Plant of Bethlehem Steel for test loading to Dearborn". The memo also states that "we may shortly be confronted with a request to equip a substantial number of similar cars". "Representatives of Great Lakes Steel Co, have also learned about this car and have also asked to be given an opportunity to test load it with similar rolls of strip steel to develop the economics they too might derive from similar equipment." Further, "It seems to me that the Pennsylvania, Wabash, DT&I group is here presented with a problem which can have far reaching effects. If we provide a specially equipped gondola car to move 'Jumbo Rolls' of steel for the Ford Motor Company, we can scarcely afford to decline to furnish similar equipment to any company which wants to move 'Jumbo Rolls". That in itself is not particularly dangerous if it will assist to get coils of strip steel back on the railroads... " The memo goes on to state that they know the C&O and NKP are also working on this problem, but believe that both designs, which utilize tarpaulins for weather protection, "does not answer the problem". They also recognize that it will be a big problem to provide a good solution to those that desire to ship 'Jumbo Rolls'. A final note says that even if Ford Motor Co. were to be provided heavy duty flat bed trucks to move all the coil they need to move out of Dearborn, "Pennsylvania highway weight limitations (look up) would not permit the Buffalo"

...and that's just one.....

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Scott Kremer
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 11:38 AM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Early "coil car" on the C&O 1954

Do you have any information as to when coiled steel was first moved in quantity? By coiled steel I mean the type of coils we see today. I could find no information on the internet on the history of the product.


Scott Kremer