MILLS AND MANUFACTURING
COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Captain Franklin Ellis113
THE HUDSON PAPER CAR-WHEEL COMPANY
is the successor the the "American Paper Car-Wheel Manufacturing Company," which was incorporated in the year 1873, with a capital of $50,000, to engage in the manufacture of car-wheels under the Allen patent. They erected a brick building two stores high, the main part of which is forty feet wide and one hundred and fifty feet long, with a wing containing the the engine and drying rooms, and also, in the rear of this, a foundry fifty by sixty feet in size. A steam-engine of forty horse-power, a hydraulic press, lathes, drills, etc., were put in to fit the shop for use. All this machinery is of the best quality and most finished workmanship.
In 1877 the company was reorganized under the title of the "Hudson Paper Car-wheel Company," with the following officers, who still hold their respective positions, viz., John E. Gillette, president; F. F. Folger, vice-president; R. N. Allen, superintendent; Peter Miller, secretary.
The importance of securing a strong and durable, yet light and economical car-wheel has always been realized by competent railroad managers from the first introduction of the present system of transportation. The common chilled iron wheel is objectionable both because of its liability to break and its limited service. A number of wheels with a steel tire and various fillings have been invented, but all have proved more or less defective. Mr. R. N. Allen, having given the subject his attention, was impressed with the idea that paper--that wonderfully adaptable substance--could be made to give body, elasticity, and strength to car-wheels. He therefore, after demonstrating the truth of his theory by experimental tests, patented the paper car-wheel. That these wheels combine the essential elements has been practically demonstrated by their use under Pullman sleeping and hotel-cars between Chicago and other western cities and New York. These first wheels in use made a mileage of three hundred thousand miles. As now manufactured the wheel consists of three parts: a steel tire, a paper body or filling, and a cast-iron hub. The paper disk or body is built up of successive layers of straw-board, pasted together, and then pressed into a hard mass, resembling wood, which is thoroughly dried, turned to fit accurately the tire and hub, rendered water-proof by painting, and then with the other parts forced together under hydraulic pressure. The disk is then enclosed between two wrought-iron plates held together by two circles of bolts, one passing through the flange of the hub, and the other through a flange or web on the inner circumference of the tire, thus firmly securing all the parts. The works now employ thirty hands, and turn out about ten wheels per day.
The Metropolitan Elevated railway, of New York, is entirely equipped with these wheels, and many of the important railroads of the country are using them to some extent.