Model of the 1878 Locomotive of the New York Elevated Railroad No. 39

This is a model of a Forney type tank locomotive completed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in May 1878 for the New York Elevated Railroad. This model is part of the collection displayed in the museum’s Railroad Hall exhibit of 1964-2002 to illustrate the technological development of the locomotive.
In February 1866, Matthias N. Forney, a leading railroad journalist and mechanical engineer, patented this design for a new type of tank locomotive. As a steam locomotive operates, it consumes fuel and water. Additional fuel and water are usually stored in the tender, a railcar connected directly behind the engine. Tank locomotives do not have tenders; instead, fuel and water are stored in tanks onboard the engine. In Forney’s design, the fuel and water bunkers were placed over a four-wheel truck, which swiveled beneath the rear of the locomotive.
Forney type locomotives never became popular on mainline railroads, as their small fuel and water capacity limited the distance they could travel. However, Forneys were used extensively on suburban, elevated, and plantation railroads; New York’s elevated railroads employed about 300 of these engines before the lines were electrified in 1902.
AOTM label:
Model. Materials: the frame, cylinder, cab, boiler, stack, tank, head light, and smoke box are brass; the wheels are cast nickel silver. Color: the frame is black; the wheels, steam dome, and cab are wine maroon with a stripe of red and gold; the cylinder and truck frame are wine maroon; the stack and smoke box are a dull gray.
Scale: ½ inch to 1 foot
Currently on loan
date made
ca 1964
used date
Atkins & Merrill Inc.
place made
United States: Massachusetts, South Sudbury
Associated Place
United States: Illinois
United States: New York
overall: 4 3/4 in x 4 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in; 12.065 cm x 11.43 cm x 29.21 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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