grain elevators

I recently posted the message below to the EarlyRail Yahoo list.

----------------------------- I bought the Walthers "Farmers Coop Rural Grain Elevator". The box says it's suitable for 1890 and up. I'm modelling 1900 or so. It has a discharge pipe for loading cars. I'm guessing that is for covered hoppers. How were the boxcars loaded? Men with shovels? Should I throw away the pipe and add a loading platform?


I got conflicting responses. One respondent was sure the discharge pipe was used even in the days with boxcars and grain doors. Another was equally sure that shovels were used and said he knew the people who used them.

So I'm throwing it open to a larger group. Maybe both were used in 1900. If so, which was more common in the U.S. midwest? If not, which was used?

If shovels were used, where/how was the grain taken out of the elevator?

All help greatly appreciated.

Reply to
Larry Blanchard
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That 'pipe' on the Walthers grain elevator is very much standard for boxcar loading. The internal 'elevator' in the structure was used to hoist the grain dumped from wagons so it could be loaded on bins. It was then hoisted again or gravity loaded into the boxcar through the open 6'0" door on the boxcar. A wood or cardboard 'grain door' about

4'0" high was nailed in the door opening and the pipe shot the grain though the upper open area of the door into the boxcar. Usually there were laborers in the car to help 'shovel' the grain into the corners of the car - terrible work, but labor was cheap back then. Note that the 'pipe' is boxcar door height. Later use of covered hoppers required new 'plumbing' on existing grain elevators with a larger movable loading spout or pipe to fill the grain hopper via the long overhead 'troughs' on the roof of the car. Many small elevators could not afford to make the change for several reasons. They varied from the track could not support the new heavy grain hoppers, to the elevator was so small, it could barely load 3-4 100t grain hoppers before it was empty. Larger elevators that could take advantage of bulk 'unit train' rates replaced these small country elevators in the 70's.

Jim Bernier

Larry Blanchard wrote:

Reply to
Jim Bernier

"Larry Blanchard" wrote

If he knows people who used shovels, he must be attending the most successful seances ever held.

Think about it ---- *ELEVATOR*. What does it mean?

If a boxcar didn't have end grain doors, someone would have had to been inside the car shoveling the grain towards the corners, no different from filling a semi load of grain today.

Reply to
Dont Know My Name

Didn't do this in boxcars but, did get "volunteered", in my early teens, to go into my grandfathers grain bins and shovel oats from the dump-in hole into the corners. Just thinking about it I can taste and smell the oat dust, caking on the skin, getting though the bandanna over my mouth and nose ... ok gotta take a shower now.


Reply to
Paul Newhouse

I wondered if he hadn't confused loading the cars with unloading them. I suspect that was done with manpower back then.

Reply to
Larry Blanchard

of grain today.

I should read more carefully before replying :-).

Both you and Jim Bernier point out that even with the discharge pipe, men had to spread the grain into the corners. What a job!

Thanks to you both.

Reply to
Larry Blanchard

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