Scientific American—October 15, 1881


We present illustrations of a new system of constructing railroad locomotives, recently patented by the inventor, Doctor Christian Raub, of New York city. The object of this invention is to construct a perfectly balanced locomotive, in which the center of gravity is coincident with the vertical median line of the engine, and in which the motive power is located at the middle of the engine in a plane extending through h the center of gravity. These two objects being attained, it is hardly possible to overestimate the value of the invention, since the locomotive will then be constructed upon correct principles and according to natural laws. It works from its center, and has its motive power situated in a plane extending through its center of gravity, and has therefore no dead weight.

It is not within the scope of this article to review the various attempts and experiments undertaken in the course of time in this direction, but it may be stated generally that the problem of locating the center of gravity in a railroad locomotive upon the center of its base formed by the driving wheels, and to place the motive power at that center, had not been solved before the invention of Dr. Raub; and probably the reason why these attempts have not been successful is, that the fact was not sufficiently realized that Stephenson's system was at variance with the principles above referred to, and that nothing short of a radical change of the whole system of construction could lead to success; any improvement upon the original design, no matter how great, could not overcome the faults or disadvantages which were inherent in the system as a whole.

Dr. Raub, in order to definitely locate the center of gravity, has constructed his engine in such a manner that each half of the total structure, whether divided longitudinally or laterally, is an exact counterpart or duplicate of the other half, both as regards weight or measure; the consequence of this is that the center of gravity is in the intersection of the longitudinal and transverse center planes of the entire locomotive; and by placing his motive power in the central transverse vertical plane of the engine he has disposed the parts of his locomotive to the best advantage for economy and efficiency.

The engravings represent the invention so clearly as to require but little explanation. The whole engine rests upon an oblong platform which extends all around the structure, and which is made wider in the middle to support the engineer's cab, which will be as wide as the cabs now in use; at each side of the engine is a boiler extending longitudinally to the end of the locomotive, each boiler having a separate firebox, which is located in the cab. The boilers have ordinary flues, which terminate in a smoke chamber at the extreme ends of the locomotive, but instead of allowing the heat and gases to escape through smokestacks at the ends, as in the present locomotives, they are conducted through return flues of a larger size (as shown in Fig. 3) to an interior collecting smoke chamber, which thus collects the smoke and gases from both boilers, and allows them to escape through one common smokestack which stands above it. This collecting smoke chamber extends upward and downward vertically through the entire locomotive, and serves not only as a brace to the steam dome which surrounds its upper portion, but also gives an additional support and strength to the entire structure. The steam dome stands in the center of the locomotive, its axis being the exact center of the engine. It is stiffened by the collecting smoke-chamber which extends through it. A separate valved connection is made through this interior smoke-chamber for the steam as well as for the water in the boilers, so that both steam and water can circulate freely from one boiler to the other, or may be shut off if it is desired to use one boiler only. The steam cylinders are vertical, and placed outside the steam dome, their axes being in the vertical transverse plane extending through the center of gravity of the locomotive, and preferably placed as high as possible, so as to take the steam by means of pipes which receive their steam supply from a common opening at the highest point in the steam dome, the opening being closed by a throttle-valve operated in the usual manner. The steam chests are placed inside the dome as shown in Fig. 3.

The driving-wheels are situated equidistant from the center line, and upon them rests the whole platform, and in the center-line, and. as near the rails as possible, is placed an intermediate driving shaft, to the cranks of which, on opposite sides of the locomotive, extend the connecting rods from the cross-heads of the piston rods above. The cranks of the two drivers on each side of this vertical connecting rod are connected in the usual manner by a horizontal driving rod, which, near its center, extends downward to the crank of the intermediate driving shaft and is connected with it. The driving rod is slotted in its center to allow the vertical connecting rod free play.

The eccentrics are placed upon the intermediate driving shaft, while the link motions are arranged on an auxiliary shaft vertically above it.

The locomotive may have horizontal cylinders, if they should be preferred. In that case they would be placed lower down in a line with the center of the driving wheels, but in the same central position.

At each end of the locomotive the frame rests upon a truck, but as the whole engine is evenly balanced upon and supported by the driving wheels, the object of the trucks is not so much to support any specific weight, as in other locomotives, as to serve as a guide over curves. Each end truck has one transverse axle with one pair of wheels and a frame which incloses the wheels and is connected by an arc-shaped guide piece, which is transversely guided in a fixed center box at the end of the locomotive.

The water tanks are below the boilers, openings being provided to allow the axles of the wheels to pass through. The fuel is carried in bunks arranged, sideways and above the boilers.

A novel and ingenious plan is devised for feeding the boilers. The return flues being situated but a few inches below the water level, it is important that the level should be continually kept up. The inventor has, therefore, arranged a steam pump, which is worked by a lever connection with the main piston, and which injects into the boilers at each stroke of the piston the equivalent of water for the steam used.

These are the main features of this novel engine, which the inventor claims as the first locomotive built upon strictly scientific principles.

The advantages claimed for this new style of locomotive, and to which Dr. Raub has given the appropriate name of central power locomotives, are numerous.

This engine has no dead weight, therefore its whole power can be utilized for drawing freight; and it is claimed that a central power locomotive of any given size will do more work than another locomotive of the same size under the same conditions. The heat is better utilized, as it is led back through the boiler by means of the return flues, and the fuel will be more fully consumed than it is now. The collecting smoke chamber, which extends upward through the steam dome, serves to superheat the steam, consequently dry steam will be obtained, and the steam chests being inside the dome, no loss of steam from condensation will take place. Should an accident happen to one of the boilers, the connection between the two may be interrupted, and the remaining boiler will be sufficient to propel the train to the next station, thus preventing blocks on the road and delays to traffic.

It is claimed that a train may be run at a much higher rate of speed with this engine and with much more safety than now, owing to the balanced driving wheels and the peculiar relation of the parts; and there is less danger of breaking the driving rods and less strain upon the track.

A separate tender will not be required, as both water and fuel are carried upon the locomotive itself; and, furthermore, turn-tables with their necessary attendance will become superfluous, since the locomotive is a perfect double-ender, and runs in either direction with equal efficacy and without any damaging effect to the gearing.

We understand that Dr. Raub is now making arrangements to build several locomotives according to his new system of different patterns and sizes, in order to practically test their merits and superiority and to ascertain the actual percentage of saving in running them.

The doctor has for many years been identified with several large Western roads, and is well known as a prominent and able railroad engineer.

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