Designing and building of steam locomotives was potentially
as lucrative, and certainly as
cut-throat, as financing railroads themselves. Many small firms were
born and died throughout
the 19th century; some built only a few locomotives, others enjoyed
success for several decades
and employed hundreds of men. The entire steam locomotive production
industry remained centered
in the East. Steadily making its way to the top since its 1831 beginning
was the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia. By the end of the
19th Century, many competing smaller builders found themselves unfavorably
squeezed by the giant, including Brooks, Cooke, Dickson, Manchester,
Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Richmond, and Schenectady companies.
Each of these formerly independent companies became
a production tentacle of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) octopus.
Baldwin and ALCO remained in head-to-head competition for nearly 50
years eventually, building diesel locomotives as well in the 1930s and
companies ¾ in this transition ¾ failed, leaving that field to General
Electric and Electro-Motive
Division of General Motors. In 1956, Baldwin ceased production; ALCO
disappeared abruptly in 1969.
This engine, the Sharp and Fellows #7, was originally built about 1902
with a 2-6-0 wheel
arrangement for the Minnesota Land and Construction Company. In 1909,
it was sold to C. H. Sharp Construction Company, who added a two-wheel
trailing truck under the engine cab and then used
the locomotive in the building of the Santa Fe Railway System through
Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma,
New Mexico, Arizona, and California. During the First World War, #7
served at Camp Kearney,
San Diego, and served during World War II at an assortment of ordnance
depots, including Defense Ordnance at Fort Wingate, New Mexico and the
Navajo Ordnance Plant at Flagstaff, Arizona.