Heisler Geared Steam Locomotives
Geared Steam Locomotive Works ©
photo by DJ Van Scoyk
Animated Heislers courtesy of Rick Henderson's PC-Rails
The Heisler consisted of 2 steam cylinders positioned in a "V" under the boiler about 3/4th the way back from the front . In the photo above, the left side cylinder can be seen below the brass bell. The piston rods came out of the cylinders and attached to a "crank shaft" located under the center of the boiler. Attached to either end of the crank shaft were drive shafts. The drive shafts were located below the center line of the engine. On the two truck models, the drive shaft attached to a gear box located on each truck's wheel set that was located furthest from the center of the engine frame. Power was then supplied to the other wheel set on the truck with an outboard tie rod connecting two wheel sets together. This tie rod is readily visible in the picture above.
In terms of speed, it was the fastest of the 3 most prevalent geared steam locomotives. It also had the fewest numbers manufactured of these type of locomotives.
The above table is from the 1923 Heisler marketing catalog. At that time, only 11 models or classifications were being built. Over the company's history, many additional models ranging from a 14 ton unit built in the late 1890's to a three truck model weighing close to 95 tons were also produced. The additional models were dropped from their offering due to lack of customer popularity.
The first locomotive of the Charles Heisler design was built in 1891 by the Dunkirk Engineering Company for F. A. Addington. At the time, Charles was an engineer and personal assistant to Dunkirk's president, Edward Nichols. Heisler's design departed in several ways from the typical Dunkirk / Gilbert Class "B" being built at the time. Two changes of note were the placing of the cylinders under the boiler outside the crew cab and the use of side-rods on the wheels. For some unknown reason, Dunkirk never adopted the design and Heisler later left the company before it's closure.
Heisler Locomotive Works also manufactured a single diesel-electric locomotive in its twilight years utilizing their trade-mark side-rods on the outside of each truck's wheelsets.
As of 1998, the buildings composing the former factory complex were still standing.
Approximately 625 were manufactured.
Over the company's history, well in excess of 11 model sizes were manufactured ranging from 14 - 95 Tons with from 2 - 3 Trucks - See Classification
Jeff Saxton - Missouri, USA
"Why you can haul at least 30% more per ton of locomotive with the modern Heisler" - 1923 marketing catalog
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Page changed: June 18, 2014 12:10:30 PM