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Rail - Rolling Stock (Freight) - Caboose - Cupola, Steel

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Name Caboose, Cupola, Steel
Region North America
Category Rail
Type Rolling Stock (Freight)
SubType Caboose
Variety Cupola, Steel
Manufacturer Various (Details)
Era Era II: 1901 - 1938


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History: The origins of the railroad caboose appear to date back to the 1840s when Nat Williams, a conductor of the Auburn & Syracuse Railroad (a later affiliate of the New York Central) became fed up with cramped and uncomfortable quarters to do paperwork (a common job of the conductor, whose responsibility is general oversight and control of a train, passenger or freight), which was usually done in either a free space of a passenger car or combine/baggage car. To fix this problem, Williams found an unused boxcar and using a simple box and barrel, as a seat and desk, set up shop in the car to do his duties. Not only did he find out he had plenty of room to work but also figured that he could use the unused space to store tools (flags, lanterns, spare parts, etc.) and other essentials to have on board whenever needed (such things become commonly stored on the caboose).

Perhaps the most striking feature ever applied to the railroad caboose was its cupola. According to the story, conductor T.B. Watson of the Chicago & North Western in the 1860s reportedly used a hole in a boxcar’s roof (which he was using as a caboose) to get a better vantage point of the train ahead. It is said that Watson was amazed by the view afforded from the position being able to not only see the train ahead but also from all sides, and to the rear as well. He apparently convinced C&NW shop forces to construct a type of open observation box onto an existing singe-level caboose with windows all around where one could sit and view their surroundings. The rest, as they say, is history and the common cupola was born.

Info: This set of items is comprised of more than one name. Please look at the component items for details on the specific roadnames.


Item Links: We found: 1 different collections associated with Rail - Rolling Stock (Freight) - Caboose - Cupola, Steel
Item created by: gdm on 2018-02-01 08:49:26. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-20 10:24:37

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