Ralston Steel Car Co. - 1906-09


        The Ralston Steel Car Co. was organized in 1905 to build their patented flush-floor drop-bottom gondola car.  The first order of business was to equip their new facility on the  east side of Columbus with the equipment to build those new freight cars.  While they were gearing up their newly purchased plant to produce the gondolas they started making a little money by retrofitting wood frame freight cars with a steel underframe.  Within a short time they were also building new freight cars.

        Judging from the pictures shown here Ralston was also able to rapidly expanded their business into a general purpose freight car supplier.

        The photos shown here, and in the next four sections show Ralston's business evolving over the next 35 years.


200di jpg (221K) photo 87

        American Straw Board Company box car #23.  The photo is dated November, 1907.  This may be an underframe rebuild.  The trucks have outside hung brake rigging, more of a pre-1900 design.


200dpi jpg (273K) photo 39

        A 50 ton flush-floor drop-bottom gondola car built for the Zanesville & Western Railroad in December, 1907.


200dpi jpg (248K) photo 30

        A 40 ton drop-bottom gondola car for the Calumet, Hammond and  Southeastern Railroad built December, 1907.  The stencil on the car side says "When empty return to the Coke By Products Corp, South Chicago, Illinois.

200dpi jpg (208K) photo 7

        An Eire Railroad wooden gondola car with a steel underframe.  A stencil says "Steel Under Frame Mfd. and applied by the Ralston Steel Car Co., Columbus, Ohio, patent December 1905".  This was one of the cars Ralston retrofitted with a steel underframe.  The date on the photo is December, 1907.


200dpi jpg (257K) photo 19


        A 50 ton drop bottom gondola built in October, 1908, for the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.  This is the Ralston Steel Car Co's. premier design.  Three earliest patent dates on the list stenciled on the side of the car are all for June, 1904.  The cargo dumps to the side of the track, rather than the center like typical coal hopper cars.


200dpi jpg (239K) photo 18

        Another car designed and built by the Ralston Steel Car Co.  This may have been designed to haul coke for the Lackawanna Steel Co.  It was new November, 1908

200dpi jpg (159K) photo 49

        Flat car for the Idaho & Washington Northern railroad built in March, 1909.  It May have been used for logs or wood products.

200 jpg (227K) photo 140

        A 20 ton capacity Air Dump Car for the  Norfolk and Western Railroad.  The photo is dated March, 1909.  This car was used in railroad construction.



200dpi jpg (230K) photo 14

        A 50 ton Soda Ash car built in May, 1909, for the Solvay Process Company in Syracuse, NY.  A stencil states this car was designed by Ralston Steel Car Co.

200dpi jpg (399K) photo 174

        Another photo of the Solvay Process Company soda ash car.  It looks like three Ralston officials or perhaps customer representatives are checking out their new car.


200dpi jpg (262K) photo 43

        A 40 ton drop bottom gondola car for the Mine La Motte Lead and Smelting Co. built September, 1909.  This car may have been used to carry lead ore from the mine to the smelter both located in Missouri.


200dpi jpg (165K) photo 35

        A 50 ton flat car for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad (The Katy) built October, 1909.


200dpi jpg (274) photo 64

        A 30 ton Hocking Valley wooden box car with a steel underframe.  The  photo is dated December, 1909.  This may have been an underframe rebuild for the Ralston Co.