Iron in America
I have researched the origin of hot metal cars for many years. In the very early years of iron production and later steel production historical is sketchy at best. Almost in plant equipment was built on sight and sometimes no drawings were used. The ability of American fabricators in the late 1700 and the 1800 amazes me. A case in point is Otto Mears a German immigrant that built most of the three foot gauge railroads in the Colorado Rockies. He had a third grade education and was a mere blacksmith but he accomplished engineering marvels. He built a turntable for 75 to 100 ton locomotives literally on the side of a steep mountain. This was so locomotives with snow plows could be in front of the train while negotiating switch backs. But this man was not alone it seemed America was full of such men in the late 18th and 19th century. As we cover hot metal history we find even more outstanding men like Otto Mears but in the iron and steel business. Another thing was nobody on the planet could dish out cooperate skullduggery better that American giants. Sir Hennery Bessemer got a good dose when we tried to jack up American iron producers with his invention he was skunked in the courts by Mister Fritz and his crew (including William Kelly) from the Cambria Iron consortium. Not to belittle Sir Henry Bessemer because he was a giant in the world of invention. The pneumatic furnace was only one of a long list of his accomplishments. He was a prodigious inventor and a good marketer. His only problem is that he misunderestimated the American colonial upstarts.
Well you might wonder what all of this has to do with Hot Metal cars. Well it was the master minds of the gentlemen in American steel that invented and produced the most mind boggling equipment on a scale never imagined.
During the early years of the industrial revolution in Europe. As you will see. They did it all and nobody could even come close once we got started.