We hope it is abundantly obvious, but we love old houses. Since moving to Northern New England nearly a decade ago, we have rented or owned a few homes–all of various ages, but none new. We love the character and warmth that older homes provide, which is why any lover of old homes should consider Northern New England as their home.
Another reason why we love old homes is the historical surprises that are hidden within. The inevitable repair work can uncover all kinds artifacts such as buttons, an old newspaper, or even the clandestinely hidden liquor bottle (we’ve got the proof, no pun intended).
We recently jumped for joy a few months when adding much needed insulation to the attic. While cleaning out the attic, we uncovered a treasure trove of documents from the Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) that we buried under some old vinyl flooring stored in the attic.
We knew from chatting with neighbors that our home was originally built/owned by an engineer who worked for the B&M. Of course, old B&M tracks–many now “rail-trails”–weave their way all throughout Northern New England. Until now, there was no evidence of the home’s early history.
Most of the documents are various work orders issued by the B&M–like the one shown in this post. Other documents are of a much more personal nature such as accident reports or discipline notices. The documents generally date from 1902 to 1905.
Rather than keeping them to ourselves, we thought we would share them with the world by scanning them and posting them here. After all, the B&M was directly responsible for the existence of many of our towns and villages–including ours.
For now we will only post the various work orders and schedules that we have found. We are still debating posting the personal correspondence since some of it is not exactly flattering–who would want their own discipline notice(s) posted on the internet, even if the person has long since passed. Though one goal for doing this to digitally preserve this history. Let us know how you come down on this issue.
At any rate, here is the first edition:
Boston & Maine Railroad
General Superintendent’s Office
Order No. 553
Superseding Order No. 535
Boston, Mass., May 14, 1905
Rules Governing the Loading of Electrical Textile Mill, Wood Working and Like Machinery Set Up.
Shipments over the lines of this Road of electrical, textile mill, wood-working and like machinery, such as looms, knitting machines, planners, saw benches, and all machines of like description over 8 feet in length set up, and constructed with heavy heads as indicated in Figure 1, much be loaded to conform to the Master Car Builders’ Rules and to the special requirements herein.
The frame shall be placed as high upon the head as is consistent with the class or type of machine that is being shipped and shall be 2 x 1 in. material, securely fastened with nails not less than 4 in. long. It must be supported by two uprights in the center securely toe-nailed under the upper frame at A, and on top of the center cross-tie at B with nails not less than 3 in. long, the dimensions of these supports to be 2 x 1 in. The braces must be of 1 1/4 x 4 in. material and be securely fastened to the frame and cross-ties with nails not less than 3 in. long; they must be fastened at their intersections with nails not less than 2 1/2 in. long and be of sufficient length, if possible, to reach from the extreme limit of the frame to the cross-ties.
The shoe under the larger machines must be at least 4 x 4 in. material, but for machines less than 8 feet long, 2 x 4 in. material may be used, and the machines must be securely fastened to the same by belts and blocks. The cross-ties must be at least 2 x 4 in. material, be at least three in number, and, if necessary, blocking used to support the lower part of the frame.
The material used for head pieces, supports and braces must be sound spruce timber or something equally strong, and of the dimensions shown in section.
All machines of this description under 8 feet 3 inches in length must be loaded in box cars, crosswise, and be securely braced.
Figure 1.–Showing Loom Set Up and Braced as Described
Figure 2.–Showing a Car of Looms Securely Loaded.
No shipment of machinery will be accepted at stations on this Road or from connecting Lines, until the same has been thoroughly examined and, if necessary, securely blocked and fastened.
When adjustment is necessary or an y service must be performed for making the load safe, charges will be made on billing for collection from the consignees.
A record must be made showing that seals on cars were broken for the purpose of ascertaining condition of contents.
D. W. Sanborn
It didn’t hurt that one of us is a big fan of railroads, we won’t say which 🙂 But, for rail fans out there, check out this B&M video.