Late 1880's Lettering?

Discussion in 'General Steam' started by Coonskin, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi All:

    So far I have not been able to find a clear photo illustrating how the St.L & SF lettered their steam engines that originated on subsidiary lines. Example: In the late 1880's - early 1890's, would an engine purchased through the KC. Ft. Scott & Memphis be lettered for the St.L & SF or the KCFtS & M?

    Does anyone know?

    I only have one picture showing a KCFtS & M engine away from its home, but the lettering does not show up.

    Here is the picture...

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I don't know but I love that locomotive. I've got a thing for old 4-4-0s. Great photo.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    I hear ya James. Makes me want to do my Cary 4-4-0 which I saved because it fits the AHM Drive. Ugh! I've gone brass. It won't look right. I dunno what to do. Dang it! Why don't they do TOC in brass??? Har-rumph!

    Oh, BTW, there is no lettering on that locomotive. Just the number on the headlight.
  4. john

    john Supporter

    I'm not sure that I understood the question correctly but my first impulse is to say that, prior to its "merger" into the St. Louis & San Francisco, a KCFtS&M locomotive just carried the company's standard scheme for the time (lettering on the cab side and a large number on the tender?), which it probably retained until it was (later) repainted in "standard" Frisco lettering. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say when the Frisco dropped their late 1800's scheme of ST LOUIS & SAN FRANCISCO on the tender and apparently adopted the basic scheme used by the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis, but it must have been the very early 1900's. I have seen the photo several times, but never with a date. My guess would be it was taken in the early 1900's??? and the locomotive still carried its KCftS&M scheme or the photographer probably would have never "made the connection".
  5. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Here is some quick history. The KSFS&M was a company that went through several bankruptcies and name changes. It's been a while since I read up on it, so after rechecking the KCFS&M came to be on January 4, 1888 when the KSFS&G (G meaning Gulf) consolidated its subsidiaries. Then the KCFS&M got purchased by the Frisco in 1901. I've been kinda confused as to when it officially disappeared as a company, but their rail operations ended some time in mid 1901.
    My guess is they probably did it like BNSF did when Santa Fe and the BN merged, just run the engines as is till they can get in the paint shop. Maybe someone else will have more info, or a better guess.

    Also anyone notice its a wood burner? And it doesn't have a diamond stack either.


    EDIT here is the site for all the info from the starting of the origional company all the way up till the frisco bought the KCFS&M
  6. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    regulations require that a locomotive have its road name on it, and it's number on all four sides. So any picture that does not show the road name and number are just bad photos. I'm sorry the pictures are of such poor quality, but you can make out the road name under the cab window and the large road number on the side of the tender in these photos.

    Attached Files:


    SAFN SAAP Member

    Nice pictures, but I sure do dislike seeing steam locomotives on the "dead-line". Makes me sad. Any more pictures of #94?
  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I want to thank all of you that have offered input.

    Manny: As for no lettering on the picture in my opening post...

    The emulsifiers used in film back then was not as sensitive as it was decades later. Some colors simply wouldn't show up properly under certain conditions. (Such as yellow/gold lettering on a black background in soft lighting.) It is very likely there is lettering on the tender... just the conditions and film of the time wasn't sufficient to reproduce it. Plus, there's quality loss over the years as the negative deteriorates as well as print degradation. No telling how many reproduction cycles the above image has gone through.


    Mainly, I'm wondering how interactive the eventual subsidiary/merged railroads were with the Frisco during my target era of 1889-1890.

    IF this picture is captioned correctly (I got the data from page 8 of "Frisco Power" by Joe Collias), then there seems to be photographic proof that at least the KC Ft.S & M engine #32 was in Jenson, I.T. sometime in 1890. (The north/south "Texas Line" from Monett, MO to Paris, TX was a St.L & SF institution NOT a KC FtS & M holding.)

    However, that MAY not be Jenson, I.T. Is there a location similar on the KC Ft.S & M? The location could very easily be mis-identified.

    That the picture was certainly before the 1900's is evidenced by two elements:

    * The long bar link and pilot construction. By the mid-1880's, most newer engines were being delivered with the newer cast coupling pocket and shorter pilots to accomodate coupling with the cast coupling pockets, though even with the newer cast coupling pockets, it was still link and pin.

    * The link and pin itself dates the picture before 1899, which was the date for the Federal mandated move from link and pin couplers to the automatic "safety" coupler (knuckle coupler). Said conversion was almost universially completed on interchange equipment by 1900-1901.


    The interesting part is that the Frisco officially merged with the KC FtS & M in 1901. The question I'm wondering is was there any interactivity between the two lines prior to its official acquistion? (And not just the KC FtS & M.)

    It's my understanding that during my target era (1889-1890) the Frisco was referred to as the "Frisco Line(s)". The indication is there was some sort of association between the actual St. L & SF and the contributary lines. But to what extent?


    Understood on the fact there was a need for proper identification. Nice pictures you shared, thank you. Of course, they are all post-1900 pics (knuckle couplers).


    I'm beginning to suspect that not a lot is known about the earlier era in regards to operations and such. All the history books I have that pertain to the Frisco that cover the earlier era seem to trace lineage without much detail in regards to operations.

    My primary interest in Frisco steam is the link n' pin era, 1889-1890 in particular. (On account of the Monett, MO to Paris, TX line being in full swing by then.) However, trying to deduce just exactly HOW they did things "back then" is proving to be quite a challenge!

    In recap, my main question:

    * DID the Frisco and the eventual merger railroads have operational agreements before the official merger date that included equipment interchangability? (i.e. Such that made it possible to see a KC FtS & M engine in Jenson, I.T. in 1890.)

    IF the above was the case... did the equipent from the "Lines" part of the equation retain lettering for their original line (suspected) or universally letter for the St.L & SF (doubtful)?

    Research is fun.

  9. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Supporter

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2012
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Oldguy!

    Nice detective work! You're right, a quick perusal of the documents does NOT indicate there was any interactivity with the St.L & SF. It does indeed appear that the KC FtS & M was a seperate entity entirely. Suspect that may be the case with the other railroads that eventually became a part of the St.L & SF.

    Thanks for the assist!

    Hmmm. Have to keep all this in mind when it comes time for me to model the engines and rolling stock.


    SAFN SAAP Member

    Back to the markings on the locomotive. There is no markings on the cab or tender sides. You'd be looking at 8-20" letters or numbers as that is the standard variance. Notice how clear the numbers on the side of the headlight and the number plate came out. Photography of that era would have caught the markings even at that 7/8's angled shot. I'm suspect that this particular locomotive may have just been purchased on a secondary market and the lettering either blacked out and not replaced yet, or that there was no lettering at the time of photo. Even blowing it up, or examining with Adobe Photoshop yields NO variance in shades of color, imagery, or shadow.
  12. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    No one will ever truly know the answer as to the exact date, etc, for that picture. It is going to remain a mystery. As for no lettering, could be it was blacked out for whatever reason. Who knows?

    John (the chap that posted above) stopped by today for a good visit. During our discussion of the Coal Belt (Sebastian County, AR and the surrounding area), we had a brief and interesting discussion about that picture. John had a source for the pic without the cropping that my source has. It is DEFINITELY near the Jenson Tunnel, for you can see the portal (appears to be the north portal) just back of the train. Exactly WHEN it was taken is open to a bit of debate.

    Anyway, from what I'm seeing in pictures and re-learning from re-reading the history sources I have, it is now my feeling that during my current era of interest (1889-1890) the St.L & SF was a completely separate company and operation from the lines that would EVENTUALLY become a part of the Frisco via merger. Thus, there will be no locomotives lettered for the KC FtS & M (or other eventual merger roads) that will be used on my 1889-1890 V scale version... IF I ever get far enough along on it to call a segment "finished"!!

  13. john

    john Supporter

    After finally reading the source material for the photo of #32 at the tunnel portal (I agree - to me it's the north portal), I discovered that I had overlooked a large amount of documentation. Crawfishing from my original position (something I'm sometimes quite good at doing) my opinion is now that the photo was indeed taken in 1890 but had nothing whatever to do with the KCFtS&M. The engine was the Saint Louis & San Francisco #32, a Baldwin built 4-4-0 which dated from 1881.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2012
  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Yup, having now viewed John's documentation, I concur with him. This is St.L & SF #32... NOT KC Ft.S & M #32. The KC Ft.S & M #32 was merrily chuffing away on the KC Ft.S & M in 1890 and nowhere near Jenson/Jensen.

    Simply put: Joe Colias has the wrong documentation beside the photograph in his "Frisco Power" book by assuming this #32 to be a KC Ft.S & M engine, which it is not.


    Mystery solved!

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Joe Colias made a mistake??? What's this world coming to? [​IMG]
  16. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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