THE ORIGINAL CARS.
According to an official statement made in 1841, George E.
Hoffman ordered the first Erie cars. Pond, Higgins & Co.,
of Utica, wanted $2,500 each for passenger cars, and $1,500 each
for freight cars, and would take 20 per cent. of the amount in
stock. Davenport & Bridges, of Cambridgeport, Mass., were
willing to make the passenger cars for $2,000 each, and the freight
cars for $900 each, and take 25 per cent. in stock. Hoffman closed
a contract with them for four passenger cars, and with Bush &
Lobdell for six freight cars. The passenger cars were eight-wheel
cars, with bodies 36 x 11 feet, six feet high in the clear inside,
with a capacity of thirty persons each, and they were to be made
in the best and most substantial manner. The freight cars were
eight-wheel cars, the wheels weighing 500 pounds each, chilled,
and equal to those used in Norris locomotives. The axles weighed
300 pounds each, and were swelled axles of hammered iron. The
cars weighed ten tons each, fitted with axles and everything complete.
The first rolling stock received by the Company was six freight
cars, on September 5, 1840, before any rail had been laid on the
road. They were built by Bush & Lobdell, at a cost of $900
each. The builders took $1,400 of the total cost of the cars in
stock. These cars were twenty-five feet long, ten feet wide, and
six feet high, with four wheels. On September 17, 1840, Rogers,
Ketchum & Grosvenor, of Paterson, contracted for eight similar
cars at the same price, taking $1,800 in stock, and on September
25, 1840, contracted to build six more, and four passenger cars,
two at $2,000 each, and two "for ladies," at $2,050
each. The passenger cars were to be thirty-two feet long, eleven
feet wide, and six feet four inches high. On the same date Davenport
& Bridges contracted to furnish two platform cars "thirty-one
feet long, same width and height of the passenger cars, that carry
the 'baggage crates,' at a cost of $750 each, and ten 'baggage
crates' at $75 each. This order for rolling-stock cost $15,750,
of which $3,900 was paid in stock. This, with the three locomotives,
made an agreed expenditure for rolling-stock, before a rail was
laid, of $52,350."
The Erie baggage car was flat. "Baggage crates" were
closed trucks on wheels into which the baggage was placed, and
then rolled on the flat cars.
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