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.
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A 50 ton flush-floor drop-bottom gondola car built for the Zanesville & Western
Railroad in December, 1907.
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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,
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.
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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
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Flat car for the Idaho & Washington Northern railroad built in March, 1909.
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.
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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.
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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)
A 50 ton flat car for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad (The Katy)
built October, 1909.
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.