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Journal Hook

Journal Hook

Usage conditions apply
To check oil level in the journal boxes of railroad cars and locomotive tenders. Each journal box had a lid; the journal hook was used by a car inspector and/or oiler to pull open the lid, check for adequate oil level, fill with oil if needed, and close the lid. (The "journal box" held the axle bearing, made of bronze, at the outer end of a railroad-car axle. Hence there are two journal boxes per axle and pair of wheels, and thus four journal boxes on a typical four-wheel "truck" or "bogie (UK usage)" that supports each end of a railroad car on the track.
This tool is part of a collection of hand tools used in the inspection and repair of steam locomotives in Salisbury, North Carolina from the early- to the mid-20th century, roughly 1900-1955. Light repairs on steam locomotives were usually done in roundhouses at the many small locomotive terminals throughout a railroad's system; heavy repairs were done in a large, centralized repair shop serving the whole system (often referred to as the "Back Shop").
Object Name
Hook, Journal
Date made
used date
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 5 in x 28 1/4 in; 12.7 cm x 71.755 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of National Park Service
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
America on the Move
America on The Move
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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