MER Clinic:Chemistry and the Iron Horse


Chemistry and the Iron Horse:
Water Softening and Engineering Practice on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 1900-1945
Description:    This clinic will be given at the MER NMRA convention in October 2013

Most modelers are aware that the hills, mountains, and valleys of the nation created a seemingly never ending series of civil engineering challenges for railroads as the country embraced industrialization during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is less well known that as steam technology evolved, the water powering locomotives presented railroads with mechanical engineering and infrastructure problems that were just as complex and which were often solved by railroad chemists. The history of American railroad approaches to water softening, chemistry, and chemical engineering will be reviewed against a detailed study of how the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway adopted a more scientific and economic approach to water softening during the first decades of the 20th century.

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