Locomotive, Shay, Geared, 1893

Locomotive, Shay, Geared, 1893

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This is a model of a Shay geared locomotive, built in 1893. Ephriam Shay built his first locomotive in 1873-1874. Rather than conventional rod linkage, Shay used a system of gearing to transmit the power from the cylinders to the wheels. In 1880, the Lima Machine Works of Lima, Ohio, began commercial production of Shay’s geared locomotive. While slow, these engines were quite powerful and flexible, making them well suited for use on logging, mining and other industrial lines with steep grades and rough tracks. The Lima Locomotive Works built over 2700 Shays before production was suspended in 1945. The model portrays the 450th locomotive built by Lima, which was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893.
The Shay locomotive’s principal competitors were the Climax and Hiesler geared locomotives, both introduced around 1890. While industrial railroads purchased Hiesler and Climax engines, the Shay remained the most popular.
Currently on loan
Object Name
model, locomotive
Other Terms
Locomotive, Shay, Geared, 1893; Rail
date made
used date
Boucher-Lewis Precision Models, Inc.
place made
United States: New York, New York
overall: 6 5/8 in x 4 1/4 in x 18 3/4 in; 16.8275 cm x 10.795 cm x 47.625 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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