Shipping Salt in the early 1900s?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Muddy Creek, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Aug 3, 2004
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    Salt trains from the Cargil Mines in New York are often unit trains of covered hoppers. How would the salt have been shipped in the early 1920's when the mine began operation? Bagged or shipped loose inside box cars? Also interested in finding period photos of structures. Won't be able to do a field trip to the area until summer.

    I'm stretching the boundaries of the Adirondacks a bit to include the original Cayuga Rock Salt Company mine and firing up the mine a few years earlier, around 1917. I know one of the members here is from the mine's hometown of Lansing NY.

    It looks like a moderate sized industry to model that could generate a lot of traffic.

    Thanks for any prototype info.

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Oct 31, 2002
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    Interesting industry!

    I model the 20s and 30s in southern/eastern Ontario, and am finding the box car to be the car of choice for so many things in that time period. Automobiles to grain to lumber all went in box cars (each with their own slight differences, of course ;) ). So a box car is not a bad guess...

    If I come across anything, I'll try to add some more useful info :)

  3. cyb0rg

    cyb0rg New Member

    Jan 2, 2005
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    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but here's what my research yielded for you:

    Salt was generally extracted by one of two methods during that time period, and largely still is today.

    1) Large pumps force water into the deposit. After it evaporates, another crew enters and extracts it. During the 1920's, this would've been done on another (probably late) shift and done with hand shovels.

    2) Men are sent directly into the mine where they cut blocks directly from the deposit. This is obviously a more labor intensive and time consuming (thus less profitable) method.

    I hope that helps.