19th Century Railway Suppliers
|Few nineteenth century industries were as absolutely dependent upon
their suppliers for their success -- or failure -- as were the railroads
because they were such equipment intensive enterprises. (And, for that
matter, they still are.) During the years of its construction, for instance,
the CPRR usually had a dozen or more ships enroute from the East coast
to California by way of Cape Horn bringing the many many thousands of tons
of materials required to build and maintain the line. These included everything
from pens and uniform buttons, shovels and drills, blasting powder and
telegraph wire, every ounce of the spikes, bolts, and iron rail, and every
An indication of the variety of goods and services needed by the railroad industry can be drawn from the selection of the advertisements of manufacturers and distributors of railway supplies seen below. Most of these are from the 1874 edition of the “Buyers’ Guide and Mechanics’ Manual for the use of Railway Officials” published by E.W. Bullinger, New York. (Several of the advertisements for car locks and seals are later.)-BCC
Railroad Buyers Guide, 1874 (1 of 2)
[Click on an advertisement to get an enlarged view.]
Courtesy Bruce C. Cooper Collection.
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