Heisler Fireless Loco (For BDC)

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by N Gauger, Mar 17, 2002.

  1. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Well I’m back, or should I say the Computer is awake & behaving now. :)

    I apologize again for the long delay in posting to the Builder’s Plate. Most of you have noticed I’ve posted to the other forums whenever I could lend a hand. :)

    Well, I had a request from BDC for a Fireless Locomotive. But I am sorry to say I have never come across a pic of the “Charging Boilers”

    The Railroad Museum of PA has a Heisler Fireless Cooker, also called a Thermos bottle. I guess I should start by reminding people why you would need a fireless loco to begin with. The answer is simple. If you need a power plant to pull freight and you work in what could be dangerous conditions, you do not want fire present. Thus the logging industry wanted just such an engine. Also Creosote Plants, Cotton Mills and Gunpowder Mills. (Gee who wouldn’t want an open fire near the gunpowder?) :)

    The Fireless Boilers were simply “pressure vessels” in which the tanks were filled 4/5 full of hot water, then steam was added to about 170 PSI. This steam is used by the Cylinders at 60 PSI. As the steam is used, the water turns to steam, and so on until it needs to be recharged. The fireless boilers couldn’t wander very far from the steam recharging station.

    It has been said that the "Fireless Cooker” was first built in Germany. The manufacturers in PA were:
    - The Lima Locomotive Works, in Lima
    - The Heisler Locomotive Works of Erie
    - The H.K. Porter Co. of Pittsburgh
    - The Vulcan Locomotive works of Wilkes-Barre

    The Heisler pictured below, was built for the Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, PA.


    - 0-4-0 Switcher - 31" drive Wheels

    - Built in 1940 (Heisler Loco Works, Erie, PA)

    - Water Capacity: 420 Cubic Feet

    - Weight: 70,000 Lbs

    - Pull at drawbar: 11,800 Lbs

    Attached Files:

  2. pjb

    pjb Member

    Lima Locomotive Works was located in the city of the same name
    in OHIO , and their builders photographs are sold by the Allen
    County Historical Society at the same place.
    You can buy 'HO' scale 'fireless cookers', from TRIX/Mærklin, and
    depending how their reorganization is going ROCO, in 'HO'
    scale. All operate better than most short wheel base tank engines
    you have encountered here, and are easily dresssed to look
    like locos that ran in NA. TILLIG made a 'TT' scale model, and
    expensive fabricated brass models have been produced in
    various other scale and gauges by Oriental sources for sale
    in the European market. Some of these, (ASTER?) have also
    probably been imported to NA.
    By the way, I have never seen or heard of a logging operation
    that used a fireless cooker. Primarily because they did not
    have the facilities to provide the steam, nor did they have the trackwork to support them.
    Powerplants and large industrial plants having much process
    steam were the principal users. DuPont, Hercules, Olin Mathieson,
    and others who had to worry about open flames around
    a given facility, - also used fireless cookers .

    In NA the largest prototypes were 0-8-0s , but the 0-6-0s
    were very burly numbers in many cases. Cuts of a dozen loaded
    hoppers were shoved up ramps at many power stations
    by these locos. The power stations , by the way, were
    always watching for spontaneous combustion in piled coal.
    Commonly, this was induced by rainwater acting on the
    sulphur to create dilute acid, which would produce sufficient
    heat in unventilated lower regions of the stacked coal to
    set off the carbon in the contact coal.
    If you have visited many older coal burning generating
    stations, you will note the"swimming pool", located
    adjacent to the wall facing the coal pile. Here the coal
    was drawn from this poolwater by conveyer to the
    boiler stokers. The many tons of coal adjacent to the
    building were thus kept drowned, so no mischief could
    take place via spontaneous combustion to the power
    house structure and immediate environs. Keeping
    embers from a coal fired switcher from raining down
    on the thousands of tons of coal at generating stations
    by employing a 'fireless cooker', made great sense
    from both a remunerative and safety point of view.
    Good-Luck, PJB

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