Ralston Steel Car Co. - Expansion
Business must have been booming in 1907 as the Ralston Co. was able to start an ambitious building project that would over the next five years eliminate the largest of the old Rarig buildings. It was replaced by the 1410 foot Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop build along the south border of the property. In 1907 the east end of the building construction was started, in 1912 the larger west end section was added.
The old Rarig building was fine for building a piece of machinery, sending in a flat or gondala car, setting the machine on the car with their overhead crane, and pulling the car out of the building. To build large numbers of freight cars, 40-60 per day, required track space for each car, many more tracks then that old building could hold.
While the construction was underway Ralston still had to build their new freight cars resulting in both taking place at the same time. It made for some fine pictures showing the Ralston operation.
200dpi jpg (289K) photo 164
Construction for the new Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop east of the tall building is starting. The wooden shop building between the tall building and the new construction had been added by Ralston. It was torn down during this project. Freight car work did continue during construction. The Hocking Valley cars on the left look like all wood cars having new steel underframes retrofitted. The string of cars on the right, also for the Hocking Valley, are brand new all steel drop-bottom gondolas . Photo taken October 10, 1907, with the camera pointed west.
200dpi jpg (254K) photo 159
It is eleven days later and the shop building construction continued. Work also continued building new freight cars. The drop bottom gondolas on the right are a Ralston Steel Car Co specialty. The photo is dated October 21, 1907. The camera is pointing west.
200dpi jpg (268K) photo 162
Now you can see the second half of the building taking shape. The builders did a good job as this steel framed building is still standing one hundred years later and is still used by the Ralston Industries the successor to the Ralston Co. A string of gondolas for the Boomer Coal and Coke Co. can be seen in the background. The photo is dated October 25, 1907. The camera is pointing east southeast.
200dpi jpg (263K) photo 166
Three days later the Boomer Coal and Coke Co. gondolas are gone replaced by an order for the Hocking Valley. The gondolas in the foreground are being lettered, note the stencils being used on the second car. The PRR panhandle/B&O RR line is visible beyond the new building. The roof in the lower left is the Ralston office building. The photo is dated October 28, 1907. The camera is pointing east southeast.
200dpi jpg (283K) photo 160
Four days later the roof was starting to go on. Note the large skylights which gave the workmen lots of natural light to work with. The office building can be seen behind the new construction. In later photos this building disappeared and another office building will be constructed. The photo is dated November 1, 1907. The camera is pointing west.
200dpi jpg (321K) photo 149
Sixteen days later the building siding was well along. The new building will have six tracks greatly increasing the capabilities of the Ralston Co. It took until 1912, but eventually the building stretched 1410 feet to the west. While the building wasn't heated the three workmen in the picture must have appreciate being out of the weather when doing their work. The photo is dated November 16, 1907. The camera is pointed west.
200dpi jpg (238K) photo 163
Taken the same day (November 16,1907) the camera is pointing east southeast from the west end of the new building.
200dpi jpg (225K) photo 153
The wood building that was in the way of the new construction is being dismantled in this photo. The PRR/B&O tracks are on the other side of the fence seen on the right of the picture. The tall building is behind the photographer. Freight car wooden underframe timbers are piled up on either side of the track. These were removed when steel underframes were retrofitted in previously all wooden freight cars. The photo is dated November 24, 1907. The camera is pointing east.
200dpi jpg (266K) photo 161
The photo was taken from inside the wood building that was being dismantled. It looks like a temporary wood face has been added to the north half of the new building and the side of the south half that extends past the north half. Perhaps this has been installed to get the workmen through the next few winter months. The photo was taken December 12, 1907. The camera is pointing west.
200dpi jpg (246K) photo 181
This photo was taken from inside the north half of the new building pointing to the temporary wood facing. Paint stencils can be seen leaning against the wall between the two big door openings. The photo is dated December 12, 1907. The camera is pointing west.
200dpi jpg (322K) photo 165
This photo was taken from inside the south half of the new building. This side has an overhead crane which is located at the back of the building. It is very difficult to see, but there is a man sitting on the top left of the crane. Windows have been installed on the south side of the new building. The box car on the left is an American Straw Board Co. #19 getting retrofitted with a steel underframe. This photo was taken December 26, 1907. The camera is pointing west.
200dpi jpg (257K) photo 157
This is the last in this series of 1907 construction pictures. The view is from the south side of the PRR/B&O RR tracks. Dismantling of the old wood barn continued. The south half of the new building looks almost complete. The kids seem to be having their way with the windows. The tall building (left edge of the photo) will eventually be removed and the new building extended west for a total building length of 1410 feet to become the Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop, the largest structure on the property. The photo was taken December 26, 1907. The camera is pointed northeast.
200dpi jpg (231K) photo 148
A view of the track work on the east end of the new Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop. The train with the Kanawha and Michigan RR and T&OC RR freight cars is on the PRR/B&O RR tracks. The Kanawha and Michigan RR, Toledo and Ohio Central RR and Hocking Valley RR were all big customers of Ralston Steel Car gondolas. The photo is estimated to be from 1907-1909 period. The camera is pointing southwest.
200dpi jpg (197K) photo 154
The north property border of the Ralston Steel Car Co. can be seen edged with a pole line and fence. The tall building and the attached shop building will be replaced in 1912 by the west end extension of the Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop. Follow the pole line to the horizon and you will see a Columbus, New Albany and Johnston interurban car, side view. To the right of the car is the two-stall CNA&J car barn. The T&OC RR is coming toward the interurban car barn from the east, but before it reaches the car barn it curves north. At the left of the picture is a T&OC gondola car sitting on a siding that connects to this sweeping curve. The barn with the cupola that is sitting on the fence line will have the new office built just east of it. The barn and new office building show up in another picture. It is estimated that this photo was taken sometime before 1912. The camera is pointing east.
200dpi jpg (258K) photo 147
Shot taken inside the west end of the old shop building. A hopper car is being assembled. It is not clear how it would be moved from this location without any track. This illustrates how the Ralston cars were fabricated from pressed steel using lots of rivets.
200dpi jpg (207K) photo 155
Workers are seen dismantling the west end of the old shop building and starting construction of the new building. The camera is pointing southeast. The B&O RR/PRR main line is on the far side of the fence, part of which can be seen on the right side of the photo.
200dpi jpg (360K) photo 152
The roof work is a little confusing in this picture. To the left is the new roof which has two peaks. To the right is the old roof with one peak which has been uncovered for dismantling.
The build date on the gondolas appears to be September, 1911. The Ralston Co. received almost all of its supplies by railroad cars such as these. The B&O RR/PRR main line is in the foreground. The camera is pointing northeast.
200dpi jpg (321K) photo 150
Work continues on the dismantling of the shop building on the west side of the tall building and the construction of the new shop building. Just to the left of the building being dismantled is an excellent view of the Forge Shop. The camera is pointing southeast.
200dpi jpg (311K) photo 151
This photo shows three of the traveling cranes. Traveling cranes will be available for the entire 1410 feet of the new Punch, Shear Fitting and Erection shop building. The head house is still visible in the far background. The camera is pointing east.
200dpi jpg (313K) photo 156
The last of the demolition including the tall building is nearing an end. The steel work for the new building was now up to the tall building and will eventually connect with the east structure built in 1907. This eliminated the largest building from the old Rarig Engineering Company days.