By Albert J. Churella
This evaluation of the major locomotive manufacturers within the usa through the 20th century indicates how they answered to a thorough technological switch: the substitute of steam locomotives via diesels. The locomotive presents a worthwhile case examine of commercial practices and dramatic shifts in innovation styles, considering companies--General vehicles and normal Electric--that had no conventional ties to locomotive construction demolished validated steam locomotive brands. Albert Churella makes use of many formerly untapped resources to demonstrate how manufacturers spoke back to technological switch, relatively among the Twenties and the Sixties. businesses mentioned comprise the yankee Locomotive corporation (ALCo), the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the Lima Locomotive Works, Fairbanks-Morse, the Electro-Motive department of basic vehicles, and common electrical.
A comparative paintings of commercial historical past and the historical past of expertise, the booklet isn't an entire background of any locomotive builder, nor does it discover the origins of the diesel engine in nice element. What it does, and does fantastically, is to illustrate how managers addressed radical shifts in know-how and construction tools. Churella finds that managerial tradition and company organizational exercises, greater than technological competency in keeping with se, allowed a few businesses to be successful, but restricted the activities of others. He information the shift from small-batch customized production options within the steam locomotive to mass-production tools within the diesel locomotive undefined. He additionally explains that opportunity occasions and fortuitous technological linkages helped to form aggressive styles within the locomotive undefined.
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Additional info for From Steam to Diesel
As a small start-up ﬁrm, EMC had scant knowledge of electrical equipment technology and thus little ability to take advantage of economies of scope. Instead, EMC relied on its marketing expertise to attain dominance in the railcar industry. As railcar demand began to decline, ﬁrst as a result of war, then as a result of depression and market saturation, the three companies sought to boost sales by designing and manufacturing diesel locomotives. At GE, diesel locomotive R&D efforts occurred during the late 1910s, when diesel locomotive technology was as yet too primitive.
Winton had produced its ﬁrst diesel engine in 1913, a 175-hp stationary behemoth used to provide power for Winton’s Cleveland factory. By 1916, Winton had three sizes of marine diesel engines in production. One of these, the Model W-40, weighed forty-ﬁve tons, yet produced only 450 hp (an abysmal ratio of ten horsepower per ton), making it far too heavy for railroad applications. In 1928 EMC and Winton began a cooperative research and development program to design more suitable diesel engines. These efforts failed, however, owing largely to Winton’s poor production techniques and limited technical knowledge.
Injectors, designed to spray a ﬁne mist of diesel fuel into the cylinders under high pressure, frequently malfunctioned as a result of high temperatures, metal fatigue, and poor construction. In addition, Kettering realized that metallurgy had not yet caught up with diesel-engine technology. Because of their compression ignition, diesel engines typically operated with a cylinder pressure of 650 pounds per square inch, compared to 125 pounds for a gasoline engine using spark ignition. While gasoline engines had compression ratios of six-to-one, diesels utilized compression ratios of sixteen-to-one.