Model of the 1867 Steam Locomotive Sampson

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This is a model of the Sampson, a small, six-wheel tank engine built by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco in 1867. The model shows a 0-6-0 wheel arrangement (no leading wheels, 6 powered and coupled driving wheels, no trailing wheels) and a tank on the end of the engine below the cab windows.
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. The Sampson is a tank engine, meaning that it does not have a tender. Instead, fuel and water are stored in tanks mounted on either side of the engine. Tank engines were used for short-distance applications, as their fuel and water supply was not as large as that of a tender engine.
The Union Iron Works, known in later years for its ships and marine engines, was one of the few West Coast firms that attempted locomotive production. Beginning in 1865, the Union Iron Works built 30 locomotives until it ceased production in 1882. J. Irving Scott, a partner in the firm, designed the Sampson and most of the firm’s other locomotives. The Sampson was built for the Pittsburg Railroad, a lightly built six-mile-long line opened in 1866 to connect the coal mines near Somersville, California, with Pittsburg on the San Joaquin River.
Currently on loan
date made
used date
Atkins & Merrill Inc.
place made
United States: Massachusetts, South Sudbury
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 6 3/16 in x 4 5/8 in x 12 in; 15.71625 cm x 11.7475 cm x 30.48 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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