H K Porter Light Duty Steam Locomotives

This fireless porter locomotive now resides at a outlet mall in Westbrook Ct. Built in 1930 it was used by the Huron Milling company in Harbor Beach, Michigan.  In 1947 it was sold to the CT Coke Company and was used in New Haven, CT.
This fireless porter locomotive now resides at an outlet mall in Westbrook Ct. Built in 1930 it was used by the Huron Milling company in Harbor Beach, Michigan. In 1947 it was sold to the CT Coke Company and was used in New Haven, CT. | Source

The little engine that could

Steaming teapots, peanut roasters, the dinky, these were some of the affectionate nicknames given to toy train like narrow gauge locomotives built by the H.K.Porter company. Porter began building light duty locomotives in 1866 until it sold out to the Davenport Locomotive Works of Iowa in 1950.

During its history the company specialized in small industrial locomotives and built nearly eight thousand of them. At one point Porter was the largest manufacturer of industrial locomotives including steam, gasoline, diesel and even some compressed air locomotives. These were smaller locos that could be operated by one person and served smaller rail yards or industrial sites such as factories or logging and mining operations usually on narrow gauge track.


Porter Locomotive from 1884 for the Saginaw Bay and North Western Railroad.
Porter Locomotive from 1884 for the Saginaw Bay and North Western Railroad.
Porter Locomotive Builders Plate
Porter Locomotive Builders Plate
Porter's Production Record
Porter's Production Record
Porter Saddle Tank
Porter Saddle Tank

The Porter "Fireless" Locomotive

The Fireless design was an innovative solution to the problem of sparks with regular steam locomotives. Steam locomotives have caused wildfires, burned down wooden trestles and buildings - can you imagine what would happen around dynamite?

This example at the Virginia Museum of Transportation was manufactered by the H. K. Porter Company around 1943. It has all of the functions of a steam engine but used an external steam source. When the pressure got low, it went back to the source for more steam. Fireless engines were designed to work around industries where sparks or flames created potential fire hazards.

Porter Fireless Locomotives

Porter Fireless
Porter Fireless
No Fire No smoke No Noise
No Fire No smoke No Noise

Porter Gas Locomotives

Starting in 1911, Porter began making gas locomotives. In 1940 they added diesels locomotives to their offerings. In 1943, the H. K. Porter Company, Inc. occupied four large modern industrial plants at Pittsburgh and Blairsville, Pennsylvania, Newark, and New Brunswick, New Jersey.

From a single type of steam locomotive the Porter line has grown to include every type of locomotive used in industrial switching. They built a total of 287 internal combustion locomotives prior to selling their designs to Davenport in 1950.

Porter Industrial Switchers - Gas

Porter Gas Mechanical Loco
Porter Gas Mechanical Loco
This loco was manufactured for the Robinson Clay Products Company.
This loco was manufactured for the Robinson Clay Products Company.
Model of a gas mechanical locomotive based on the 1940 Davenport catalog from Bachmann in On30 and Large Scale versions.
Model of a gas mechanical locomotive based on the 1940 Davenport catalog from Bachmann in On30 and Large Scale versions.

Commercially available models of Porters

A number of manufacturers have introduced models of the Porter style engines over the years. Most notable is probably the On30 and large scale versions from Bachmann Industries. There are also Porter models available from LGB in large scale. Mini-Trains and Con-Cor have released a HOe Porter steam locomotive (HO train running on n-scale track).

There is also several gas mechanical locomotives that have similar styles to later Porter gas locomotives including the Davenport gas mechanical locomotives from Bachmann Industries.

Porter Model with Smoke Unit

Bachmann Gas Mechanical Side Rod - Garden Railway

More by this Author


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working