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Catalog Data

Physical Description:
metal (overall material)
overall: 6 1/2 in x 3 1/4 in x 11 3/4 in; 16.51 cm x 8.255 cm x 29.845 cm
Object Name:
model locomotive
model, locomotive
Locomotive and Tender, Lancaster, 1843
Associated Place:
United States: New York
United States: Pennsylvania
Date made:
Lancaster locomotive constructed:
This is a 1/2" scale model of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad’s <i>Lancaster</i>. Steam locomotives are often classified by wheel arrangement, in the order of leading, driving, and trailing wheels. This locomotive had four leading wheels, two driving wheels, and no trailing wheels. It is therefore classified as a 4-2-0 locomotive.
Built in 1834, the Lancaster was the third locomotive constructed by M. W. Baldwin of Philadelphia. A jeweler turned machinist, Baldwin completed his first locomotive in 1832. The proliferation of new railroads encouraged many small machine shops, like Baldwin’s, to enter the locomotive business. Most of these firms built only a few machines and went out of business. Baldwin’s shop, however, became the largest steam locomotive builder in the world. By 1868, the firm had produced 2000 engines and employed over 1,600 workers. When the company closed its doors in 1956, it had produced over 70,000 locomotives for North American railroads and lines overseas.
On the <i>Lancaster</i>, Baldwin employed the four-wheel leading truck devised by John B. Jervis, which allowed the engine to negotiate sharp curves with ease. Designed for both passenger and freight service, the <i>Lancaster</i> performed well; on one occasion, the locomotive pulled a 75-ton, sixteen-car train at an average speed of 12 to 14 miles per hour. The engine proved so successful that Baldwin built over one hundred locomotives on the same general design from 1834 to 1842. After operating for sixteen years, the <i>Lancaster</i> was retired in 1850, and dismantled the following year.
Currently not on view
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See more items in:
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
America on the Move
Data Source:
National Museum of American History