Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads     by Terry Cox

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Manufacturers of secondary railroad parts

I suspect a thousand companies might have made parts for railroads at some time during their existence. Several thousand probably sold supplies to railroads. If railroading was highly important to those manufacturers, then they usually included some variation of "railroad" in their company names. If companies considered railroading that important, then I generally include those companies in the database for this catalog.

A huge percentage of those companies never included a variation of "railroad" in their corporate names and are, therefore, excluded.

Westinghouse Air Brake Co. is widely known to have been the developer of railroad air brakes. It is generally assumed that railroading and Westinghouse were interdependent. Other brake companies may have been equally dependent on railroading, but are now quite obscure. As a rule, brake companies had markets outside railroading. Braking was used in all manners of industrial applications including fixed engines in factories and power generation. After World War I, the automotive industry exploded and the need for brakes became nearly universal. Aside from trucks and cars, braking devices and supplies were used heavily in the mining industry for controlling hoisting and transportation equipment.

In practice, Westinghouse is included among railroad manufacturers by custom whereas other brake companies are excluded, either because they are obscure or never put railroading in their names.

The same goes for boiler manufacturers and foundries. Boilers were used in thousands of applications outside of railroading. Foundries built all types of metal devices, but not all built locomotives, drive equipment or wheels.

My rule is to exclude all railroad parts manufacturers UNLESS they:

  • included one or more keywords clearly indicative of railroading,
  • are well known among railroading specialists,
  • made significant, major and long-lasting equipment for railroads (locomotives, cars, switch, signal equipment).

For similar reasons, I generally exclude companies that made disposable items and parts such as date nails, brake shoes, glass lenses, etc., etc.

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(Last updated December 21, 2018)


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