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Thread: West Virginia for mechanical things

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    West Virginia for mechanical things

    Spent a few days in West Virginia this week (for radio astronomy purposes, but that's another story). Time seems to stand still there (Cass, WV -- ask Google) sometimes:



    The locomotives are among 5 big old geared driveshaft-driven mining and timber locomotives used in this area and in the Pacific Northwest and now quite rare. They are in daily use here. Their mechanical engineering excellence would seem to fit them in the Leica M forum. The difference between these and locomotives used for long distance carriage is that there are pistons driving vertically into a crankshaft and a driveshaft coupling to all the wheels on the engine and tender. For the more common Shay:



    there are three pistons, a driveshaft on the right with universal joints, and a boiler offset to the left. For the rarer Heisler,



    the pistons form a V driving a central shaft. Like a Moto-Guzzi. The operation at Cass also has a Climax geared engine, but it must be a basket case, stored back in the woods, as i couldn't find it. All of this served to feed 10-12 trainloads of cut lumber a day to several acres of sawmill, which unfortunately burned down many years ago:



    Nearby was a sign of a much newer technology which nonetheless seems to have also passed out of use:



    I checked with Carl Weese, who has put together almost a book on drive-ins,
    (for example, see http://www.carlweese.com/DIbig/index.htm )
    and he tells me that this is the Bartow Drive-In, which he photographed on a sunnier day a few years ago -- it's #30 in the flash that is linked-- and got to to meet the 80-year old owners.

    scott
    Last edited by scott kirkpatrick; 20th June 2008 at 09:56.

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Scott - Is this the same railway that the great O Winston Link photographed?

    ............ Chris

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris C View Post
    Scott - Is this the same railway that the great O Winston Link photographed?

    ............ Chris
    I don't think so. He specialized in dramatically lit shots of long distance passenger and freight operations, particularly of the Norfolk and Western RR. One of his famous shots is a fast freight passing a drive-in full of cars in Ieager WV, which is about 50 miles further SW. There are many versions of that one -- you can tell them apart because the image on the screen (which was printed separately) varies. The tracks still go through Ieager, which I haven't visited, but there's no evidence that the drive-in continues to exist. I'm waiting for Google maps to dig up better aerial photos for West Virginia to check the site more carefully.

    scott

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    .... freight passing a drive-in full of cars in Ieager WV, which is about 50 miles further SW. There are many versions of that one -- you can tell them apart because the image on the screen (which was printed separately) varies....
    Scott - Thank you for the reply, I fell in love with Winston Link's pictures when I saw a tiny repro of the image you describe, but I didn't know the on-screen movie image of a plane in flight was printed in separately from the main print exposure. The engines you photographed look wonderfully anachronistic, it's great that enthusiasts treasure them, thanks for posting. By the way; your radio telescope has very severe jaggies.

    If you're interested, there's an O Winston Link Museum:

    http://www.linkmuseum.org

    ............... Chris

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris C View Post
    Scott - Thank you for the reply, I fell in love with Winston Link's pictures when I saw a tiny repro of the image you describe, but I didn't know the on-screen movie image of a plane in flight was printed in separately from the main print exposure. The engines you photographed look wonderfully anachronistic, it's great that enthusiasts treasure them, thanks for posting. By the way; your radio telescope has very severe jaggies.

    If you're interested, there's an O Winston Link Museum:

    http://www.linkmuseum.org

    ............... Chris
    Thanks for the Link link. I didn't know that he had also photographed the Verrazano Bridge construction. Are those pictures viewable online somewhere? Have you seen either of Link's books, and if so how was the quality of the picture reproduction? His prints are apparently quite awesome.

    The geared locomotives were actually pretty sophisticated engineering. They needed power for steep grades instead of speed, and steam engines don't have transmissions.

    The jaggy panels on the Green Bank telescope are a feature, not a bug. They are individually adjustable in real time at the corners, using laser interferometry to get their positions right. The whole thing weighs over a million tons, and rests on sixteen wheels, each of them cone shaped so that no twisting is required to make them follow the circular track as the telescope rotates. Apparently the loading is twice what has been accomplished anywhere else. By comparison, the largest locomotive at Cass WV is 200 tons. Most of its weight rests on eight wheels.

    scott

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    Thanks for the Link link. I didn't know that he had also photographed the Verrazano Bridge construction. Are those pictures viewable online somewhere?......
    Scott - I don't have an answer to your question, but I have handled some museum prints and I remember them as good quality. He is one of the few artists whose work I would loved to have purchased, though I was never able to. It is some time since I viewed 'Steam, Steel and Stars' but I'm sure it was well printed - though it was not marketed as a monograph.

    You can buy posters here:

    http://www.greatmodernpictures.com/plink.htm

    There's a short U-Tube film :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z5O9DK94Ao

    And there is a lovely film by the photographer and film-maker Paul Yule for the BBC, made when he was still alive. It includes a memorable firing of the last existing flash bulbs he used to work with as he tried to photograph his own steam engine at night.

    I came to Link's work because of the photography not the subject matter; I'm not a 'steam' nut [though some of best my friends are]. I actually think Winston Link's reputation is less than it should be because he is always described as a photographer of trains and railways. He should be described more simply; as an important American photographer/artist.

    ............. Chris

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    Re: West Virginia for mechanical things

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris C View Post
    Scott - I don't have an answer to your question, but I have handled some museum prints and I remember them as good quality. He is one of the few artists whose work I would loved to have purchased, though I was never able to. It is some time since I viewed 'Steam, Steel and Stars' but I'm sure it was well printed - though it was not marketed as a monograph.

    ...


    I actually think Winston Link's reputation is less than it should be because he is always described as a photographer of trains and railways. He should be described more simply; as an important American photographer/artist.

    ............. Chris
    I did some browsing of Amazon's "available new and used from xx booksellers" for both of Link's books, and found they are not very expensive. Harry N Abrams, an art book publisher, did them, so the quality should be OK. I think of Link as a fine example of "mid-century" style, strongly influenced by the Life magazine epic mode, and that's a period of world history that interests me, too.

    scott

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