Need Help Identifying a NYC&HRR No. 999 Model Locomotive

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MarkStas

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10 Dec 2019
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San Diego, California
All,

I am trying to help my brother-in-law obtain some information about a model locomotive he inherited from a relative in Connecticut. I was hoping that someone in this forum could provide this information or point us to the right set of experts.

The locomotive in question (photos attached) is a 3.5" gauge, 1:16 scale (3/4" to the foot) model of the NYC&HRR Model 999, which set some speed records around the late 1890s. There are no maker's marks, serial numbers etc anywhere on the locomotive, so my brother-in-law believes it was made by hand by a relative of his, probably around 1910. Some parts are made out of sheet metal. It is a full working model. Pete pressurized the main steam chest with air and it sent pressure to the drive steam boxes on each side. It has sliding valves that transfer the pressure to the front and then to the rear of the drive piston which turns the wheels. There is a functioning rack underneath the engine that times the valves to open and close properly. He thinks he just has to make some adjustments and then it will drive itself. It has been intricately made. We are interested in knowing where and when the locomotive was made and any other information about it.

Thanks,
Mark
 

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FatherMcD

FatherMcD

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I don't have any information about it, but that is a very impressive model.
 
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Paul M

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Wow, to be honest it looks like a professional one off. Rather up market advertising model or gift to a board member or something
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Lovely looking piece, can only be described as such as it is true art. My thoughts are that it may have been built by a Works Apprentice of perhaps the NYC? Think this may be a route of research.
 
trammayo

trammayo

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It also looks as though it has never run (given the seemingly unblemished finish). Nice
 
PhilP

PhilP

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Link to article on the prototype:


This refers to 'over 3,000 20" replica's being made:


There seems to be reference to a World Fair appearance, so the model(s) may have been made for that, perhaps?
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

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Mark, you might be better off asking on a USA website. Discover Live Steam (Discover Live Steam – Live Steam & Diesel Model Railroading) and Live Steam magazine are all about the larger scales - 3.5" and above.

That being said, it is not uncommon for a model engineer to make such a loco, especially before WWII. It is likely a one-off hand made masterpiece.

I do not recommend your brother-in-law try to steam it without help. A large loco like that would be required to obtain a boiler certificate before being allowed out in public. He should take it to a club (call them first!) There are many all over the US - Long Island Live Steamers in Brookhaven apparently have a 3.5" gauge track.
Railroads List
 
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MarkStas

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10 Dec 2019
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San Diego, California
All,

I am happy to let you know that we were able to identify the maker of my brother-in-law's no 999 locomotive model. His brother vaguely remembered that it was built by a family member who was a dentist. After some searches on Ancestry.com, we found that the model's creator was Dr. Frank Warner Brandow of Pittsfield, MA. The model was built from the plans for the original locomotive, not from the blueprints of Albert S. Campbell kit mentioned by Glenn. It was displayed at Tiffany & Co. in New York and in the Berkshire Museum before returning to his family when he died in 1921. Dr. Brandow constructed models of ships, automobiles and airplanes, was president of the Berkshire Car Club, and holds patents related to photographic processes.

Here is a description of the model from the September 19, 1903 edition of Scientific American:

"The model of the locomotive "999" weighs about 65 pounds. It is a perfect working model. It differs from the full-size engine only in being fitted with a brake that works by steam instead of air pressure. Steam for the brake is supplied from a tank just above the forward truck, the tank generally used for air pressure in the Westinghouse brake system. The engine is built of brass, bronze, silver, copper, nickel plate, cast iron, aluminum and gold plate. There is no woodwork in its construction. The tank is built of burnished copper riveted in the usual way. The headlight is supplied with a two-candle-power electric light, connected with a battery kept under the coal in the tender. The holes drilled in the boiler at the side and the bottom are used for draft for the alcohol burners used to make steam, it being impossible to generate steam in so small a boiler with flues on account of lack of draft. The crown sheet runs the entire length of the boiler, giving large heating surface for steam. The boiler runs on a pressure of from 40 to 60 pounds. Dr. Brandow was a year and a half in making this model. There are several thousand pieces, counting all the small parts. The hand brake in the tender and all the piping, for steam, water and air, with the small valves in their construction, are perfect copies of the large machine. A metallic engineer stands at the throttle. All the parts are beautifully polished and buffed."

Thanks,
Mark
 
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Paul M

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This sort of thing begs the question of what is actually modelling? This example is actually a real locomotive, made with, and to the same spec, just smaller in size, to a standard guage type.
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

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This sort of thing begs the question of what is actually modelling?
Most small scale live steam models are just that - models of the real thing. A lot of my pals think coal firing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've seen many live steam models made from the plans of the real thing..
In a larger scale you can get more fidelity - more flue tubes, etc. [Note this model doesn't use them, through a mistaken notion they don't work in small scale models.]
One could make the case that this is actually a piece of jewelry? >:)
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

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I am happy to let you know that we were able to identify the maker of my brother-in-law's no 999 locomotive model.
Awesome! And a great job of detective work. You now have an amazing family heirloom.

One of the local museums might be interested in displaying it, should you wish to do so?
 
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Paul M

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Ok
Most small scale live steam models are just that - models of the real thing. A lot of my pals think coal firing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've seen many live steam models made from the plans of the real thing..
In a larger scale you can get more fidelity - more flue tubes, etc. [Note this model doesn't use them, through a mistaken notion they don't work in small scale models.]
One could make the case that this is actually a piece of jewelry? >:)
Actually that sounds good.... just think of the potential reasons you can give SWMBO for purchasing new locos, oops, sorry necklaces
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

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What struck me were the following:
- It has a steam pressure brake, not air ?!?
- What kind of battery would fit - in 1903 ?
- It only took him 18 months to build. Wow :shake:
 
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Paul M

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What struck me were the following:
- It has a steam pressure brake, not air ?!?
- What kind of battery would fit - in 1903 ?
- It only took him 18 months to build. Wow :shake:
The battery would have filled the tender and would have probably involved loose acid, similar to a car battery