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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Union in McHenry County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Couplers

 
 
Couplers Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
1. Couplers Marker
Inscription.
The earliest cars were joined together with chains or iron bars. Later cars used many different types of couplers, including the "link and pin." A foot-long iron oval, or link, fit into horizontal slots on the ends of adjacent cars, and was held in place by vertical pins through the slots and link. Because it required switchmen to go between cars to place or remove pins, many men lost limbs.

The modern "knuckle" coupler was patented by Major Eli Janney in 1873. Each coupler has a moveable knuckle. When cars come together with one or both knuckles open, the couplers join and lock together as the knuckles close. To uncouple, the knuckle is opened by a lever accessible from alongside the end of the car.

The Janney coupler was tested in the mid-1880's and selected over 41 other designs by the Master Car Builders Association. Its use was required by the 1893 Federal Safety Appliance Act. All modern couplers are variations on Janney's original design.
 
Erected by Illinois Railway Museum.
 
Location. 42° 13.723′ N, 88° 31.626′ W. Marker is near Union, Illinois, in McHenry County. Touch for map. Marker is on the north wall of Barn 3, on the grounds of the Illinois Railway Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7000 Olson Road, Union IL 60180, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Patent Design for Janney Coupler image. Click for full size.
By Patent Office
2. Patent Design for Janney Coupler
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Railroad Brakes / Westinghouse Automatic Air Brakes (here, next to this marker); Simplex Type Automatic Coupler (here, next to this marker); Railroad Standard Time (a few steps from this marker); Railroad Rails (a few steps from this marker); Chicago Railways Company Date Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Indiana Harbor Belt 1181 (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Railroad Signals (within shouting distance of this marker); 1851 Marengo Station (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union.
 
Also see . . .
1. Railway Coupling. (Submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Strongest Handshake in the World. (Submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. A History of Coupling in the U.S. Supreme Court Case N&W vs Hiles (No. 95-6). (Submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. History of the Illinois Railway Museum. (Submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesRailroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 447 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 19, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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