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 Dewey Bros. oscillating cylinders steam loco
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Section Hand

Posted - 11/30/2014 :  08:27:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's Sunday, my girlfriend is resting after a 6-days-week of exhausting studies, the kittens are playing in the living room - I've got some time on my hands!

Thank you, Bernd, mabloodhound, Ray, for your feedback, much appreciated! Next week I will place the order for the wheels. Meanwhile, I'm sitting down now to draw a second sketch. Hopefully I can finish it today.

In the next days I'll post a summary of my researches on the prototype. So far it seems though that there is not much data available.



Country: France | Posts: 80 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 11/30/2014 :  10:13:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am looking forward to seeing the results of that research, Frédéric.


Country: USA | Posts: 32670 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 11/30/2014 :  4:40:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And here we go, my second sketch:

I followed Bernd's advice and drew from the right to the left, starting with the rear wheel. That felt STRANGE. This time I used a straight 1/20.32 scale ruler and a bigger sheet of paper.

As you can see there's progress - I'm even quite sure it's headed in the right direction. The first sketch was quite a bit clinched on the length, this one does a better job to catch the proportions, I think. Total length is now 24' 6'' (7.5 m) while the height hovers around 13' 2'' (4 m). I shortened the cylinders slightly, too.

The biggest change is in the position of the rear driver and the trailing wheel.

As before, I ask and encourage you to criticize away. Any comment will be much appreciated!

Edited by - BreizhSteamer on 11/30/2014 5:45:48 PM

Country: France | Posts: 80 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 12/16/2014 :  08:16:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No feedback on the second sketch? Did I do such a good (or bad?) job that it's beyond any response?

Anyway, the last couple of weeks have been very busy for me. I haven't forgotten my promise to post my research result, they'll follow soon. In the meantime, Regner Dampftechnik Company from Germany has answered to my mail. They will send me two wheelsets of their "Rocket" model, painted in black instead of red. They also agreed to make a custom wheelset for the trailing wheel: 45mm gauge, 30mm diameter. Quite nice people and very helpful!

Country: France | Posts: 80 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/16/2014 :  08:47:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Frédéric, good news on those wheelsets!

BTW, that drawing looks good - an engine I would be happy to have running on my rails.


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Ray Dunakin

Posted - 12/16/2014 :  10:13:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ray Dunakin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It looks fine to me.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/16/2014 :  11:11:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I think you have it really close at this point. My personal feeling is that the smokebox is just a little short as I think the supports are forward of the smoke stack. I believe that this forced you to shorten the cylinders unnecessarily. For my eye, I would also want the tender/tank just a touch longer as well. Attached is a rough edit of your drawing.


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Posted - 12/16/2014 :  7:51:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The wheels look to far apart. Yet if I read the scale right the centers seem to be around 2'3". The wheels, again comparing to the scale, look to be only about 1' in diameter. The picture shows you came up with a wheel diameter of 38", which means they would need to be at least 76" or more from center to center. If I'm not seeing this right somebody tell me. I could be wrong.



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Posted - 12/17/2014 :  09:18:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bernd, the 'scale' is in meters, not feet.
Looks good to me with the new modifications.

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Premium Member

Posted - 12/17/2014 :  09:30:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Note that the relationship between cylinder length and the location of the crankpins on the drivers should be determined by math before you make a final drawing. I haven't done the math, but the drawing's cylinders look very long compared to the crankpin locations.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/17/2014 :  1:21:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bernd, now, that you mention it, I believe you are right that the wheels are too far apart. There are quite a few other little details that look just a little off to me also. Here is another edit with changes to the following.

shortened boiler to bring drivers closer together
stretched smoke box slightly
raised footplate and everything below it to close gap between driver and leaf springs.
changed shape of stack flare
added sill under cab windows
squished wood siding on cab
reshaped cab roof bracket
raised plumbing entry to cab from boiler
increased width of fwd buffer beam
changed angle on buffer brace
squared off fwd corner of tender and rolled side in.
moved trailing truck fwd

Frédéric, this is an adorable locomotive and will make a great project. Are you thinking electric or live steam?

Edited by - thayer on 12/18/2014 03:43:48 AM

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/18/2014 :  04:35:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you all very much for your feedback!

I still believe that there is progress from the first to the second sketch, but with three weeks passed since I drew the second sketch and your sharp observations, I now can see some points for improvement.

Bernd, sorry for the confusion on the scale, I'll make sure to add units in the future. I believe you're right, the drivers should be nearer to each other, I'd say I overshot on my goal to correct the clinched length. I will keep it in mind when I do a third sketch - which will definitely be necesarry.

jbvb, yes the cylinders do look quite long, however that's connected with the design of oscillating cylinders. They have got an additional chamber in front of the piston's chamber where the steamflow within the cylinder is directed. I will make sure to post some pictures when I present my researches on the prototype. With that being said I agree with you - the cylinder's length has to be determined precisely and I will put that on my to do list for the actual blueprint drawing.

thayer, thank you so much for the time and effort you put into these improved re-sketches! In my eyes, You brought my second sketch significantly closer to the photograph and I agree to the changes you made. (Thanks again for listing them all, it makes comparison much easier!) Could you please mark within the sketch the changes on the raised footplate and the changed angle on the buffer brace? I can't seem to find them.
The other changes I agree with. Moving the trailing wheel forward is necesarry and the other changes add nice details as well and bring the sketch even closer to the photo.
I'm planning to build an electric, radiocontrolled model. Live steam would be way out of my depth, this is going to be my very first scratchbuilt model. However, the idea already sticks, in a perfect world I would definitely build a second live-steam model.

One question on the entrance for the engineer(s): My sketch gives them about 2 ft (0.6 m) of space for the legs between the cab and the tender, with a bit more for the upper torso since the tender is less than 5 ft (1.5 m) high. Do you find this plausible and (more importantly) realistic? An engineer on such an industrial loco would have to get on and off the cab quite frequently to couple or decouple...

And yet another one, what do you think about the cab's length? I've got a feeling that it's a bit too short, might be wrong here.

Again, thank you very much, everybody!

In the meantime, Regner Dampftechnik has send me the wheel set for the trailing wheel. They took some parts out of their regular production line and created a custom wheelset with Fn3 gauge (45 mm) and 1.18 " (30 mm) wheel diameter, giving them a scale diameter of (almost) exactly 2 ' (0.6 m). The wheelset is entirely made from metal, the only plastic parts are the electric insulation between axle and wheel disks. I'm very happy with the result and the price is more than reasonable (7,25 USD / 5,90 EUR). Here is a picture of the trailing wheelset:

I only need to trim the axle since there will be no frame on the outside. (What's the correct word for such a frame?)

The drivers' wheelsets will be custom made by Regner Dampftechnik, too, as I already described. Delivery won't be until spring 2015, but since I'll have more than enough to do with planning and constructing the frame that isn't an issue at all. With the wheelsets being accounted for, one obstacle has been removed for me and I'm quite confident at the moment that this project will in fact come to life.

See you around!


Edited by - BreizhSteamer on 12/18/2014 04:35:50 AM

Country: France | Posts: 80 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/19/2014 :  03:58:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Frédéric, here is an overlay with my revised version in the reddish color and your original in gray. It is a little tough on the eyes, but it does readily show my changes.


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Section Hand

Posted - 12/19/2014 :  04:54:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thayer, this almost looks as if you made a 3D-image of the sketch... OK now I understand the last two changes. I think your adjustments will be a major factor when I try the next sketch.

Country: France | Posts: 80 Go to Top of Page

Section Hand

Posted - 12/25/2014 :  10:52:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Merry Christmas, everyone! Today, as promised, I'd like to give you an overview on the results of my prototype research.

As mentioned in my first post in this thread, information is scarce on the Dewey Bros. Locomotives with oscillating cylinders. I kicked off with an extensive Google Image search, followed up with a Google Web search. From this search I got a total of three images and several posts on forums where people asked questions on the Dewey Locos but didn't receive much response.

The first image is the one you already know from the thread's first post:

(Source: SINCLAIR 1907, p.511.)

The book lists the locomotive as an oddity of engineering history. If you search for the book online, you will find several online accessible scans in reasonable quality. Since the book is readily available and this is a (more or less) scientific research I feel justified in citing the relevant pages:

"Oscillating cylinders were in great repute, for steam engines for a few years, especially for marine power, and claims were persistently made that an oscillating engine would transmit more power to the crank pin than any other. Those favoring that kind of engine held that it had no dead center to speak of and that the leverage was correspondingly great.
A locomotive might not be regarded as a good subject for the application of oscillating cylinders, yet that has been done successfully and Dewey Bros., Goldsboro, N. C., are making such locomotives for logging railroads, one of them being shown in Fig. 30. As will be observed, the piston rods are coupled direct to the crank pin. The engine is reversed by means of a four-way cock which changes the steam pipe into an exhaust pipe and vice versa. The cylinders oscillate on a trunnion which passes through the middle casting. This trunnion passes through a coil spring which pulls the cylinder up against the saddle, allowing it to oscillate and yet make a tight joint. No valve gear is necessary."

(Source: SINCLAIR 1907, p.510f.)

The second picture I could find is this:

With kind permission, (C) Robin Barnes: www.robinbarnes.net

Again, with kind permission by the artist, I cite his homepage:
"Set up in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1884, Dewey Bros engaged in the manufacture and repair of machinery for the cotton and lumber industries. Also, between about 1898 and 1928, it produced somewhere around eighty small locomotives for industrial use, of which those built up to 1906 featured oscillating cylinders, common enough in stationary and marine applications (and on early, live steam toy locomotives), but for full scale railway operation, rarer than rare. This is Dewey maker's number 150 of 1902, 3 ft gauge, supplied to the Mullen Lumber & Brick Company. Whatever else, the arrangement had the virtue of extreme simplicity."

(Source: http://www.robinbarnes.net/usa_gallery_2.html, 26/12/2014.)

Mr. Barnes was most helpful and pointed me at the inspiration of his painting, The Railway And Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No. 112 (April, 1965). I purchased a copy of the issue via Ebay, much to my pleasure. It includes an extensive article focused on the history of the Dewey Bros. Company and their locomotives production. Since I don't have a permission to cite from this article, I will provide you with the bibliographic data to find and purchase it.
Dunn, Michael J. III: Dewey Brothers Locomotives, in: The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No. 112 (April, 1965), pp. 55-63.
The article contains 3 pictures of Dewey Bros. locos, one of which is an Oscillator and the inspiration to Mr. Barnes' painting. It also contains some very interesting facts on the company, derived from interviews with one of the owners' sons and there is even a detailed list of the Dewey Bros. locomotives that were produced since 1898.

Oscillators were numbered 10 to 350 in intervals of 10, most of them went to lumber and mill companies, one (No. 150) was sold to a brick yard. There are no records on 330 and 340, which most likely were not built. Numbers 0 to 70 show no record, so these qualify best for freelancing.
Oscillating locomotives were built for 3ft narrow gauge and standard gauge. Most were 0-4-0 saddle tanks, followed by some 0-4-2T, even fewer 2-4-2Ts and at least one 0-4-0 with a tender.

In 1913, Dewey Bros. switched to the production of geared locomotives, you can find lots of information on those at www.gearedsteam.com/dewey/dewey.htm
Dewey Brothers finally ceased production of locomotives between 1926 and 1928 since the lines grew bigger and the owners demanded stronger locomotives. The company focused on its other production lines and survived until the 1970's.

And this is the last picture I could unearth:

(Source: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/68784-the-dewey-boiler-plate, 26/12/2014.)
It shows the boiler plate of a Dewey Bros. locomotive. I hope I'll be able to make my own plate based on this photograph. There's also a photograph of what's left of the company.

This is about all that I could find on the Dewey Brothers Company. However, Mr. Barnes discovered a second American Company which built locomotives with oscillating cylinders: Filer & Stowell of Milwaukee. There is a very interesting article in the Model Railroader No. 43, including three photographs of an 0-6-0, (probably) a 2-6-0, and an 0-4-0, all of them with tenders. What's more important, the article shows several 3-sided diagrams of the 0-6-0, detailed enough to build a scale model, a 2-sided diagram of the 0-4-0 and a diagram of the cylinders' interior.
Again, since I don't want to violate copyrights, you can find and purchase the article at:
Odegard, Gordon: Filer & Stowell logging locomotives, in: Model Railroader No. 43 (May, 1976), pp. 46-49.

As you can see, I'm stuck with a single photograph on my actual prototype. Nevertheless, I could collect some solid background information and the diagrams on the Filer & Stowell engines are quite helpful. They have already influenced my second sketch to some extent and I will certainly use them whenever I'm lost on technical details that can't be answered by the two available photos.


  • Dunn, Michael J. III: Dewey Brothers Locomotives, in: The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No. 112 (April, 1965), pp. 55-63.

  • Odegard, Gordon: Filer & Stowell logging locomotives, in: Model Railroader No. 43 (May, 1976), pp. 46-49.

  • Sinclair, Angus: Development of the locomotive engine, New York 1907, p.511.

Best regards,


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