• Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton facility in MA?

  • Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.
Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.

Moderator: lumpy72

  by Jflew
Does anyone know if Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton had a manufacturing facility in Massachusetts? If so, what town/city? Thanks.

  by hankadam
Sure did - - - that was the Strain Gauge plant along Route #128 outside of Boston. As I recall the plant was built in the middle '60's and replaced antiquated facilities at Eddystone. Don't know recent history. Regards, Hank Rentschler

  by overmod
Might be interesting to note that my copy of the June 1947 Kiefer "Practical Evaluation of Railroad Motive Power" has a stamp on its title page from "Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corp. Electronics and Instrumentation Division Engineering Library, Waltham, Mass."

Not sure if this is the same facility Henry indicated, but I'd have to wonder if there were an earlier date than 'mid-Sixties' for a BLH test & measurement facility in this area (for it to have this 1948 printing in its collection).

(To put things in a bit of perspective: this report mentions the original Centipede as an interesting new development (at 33hp per 'foot of total length' vs. "about 28" for 'two-unit 4000 and three-unit 6000 bhp locomotives previously built' -- which I thought referred to E7s, but might be the DE/1000-2s that Henry has provided documentation for. It also provides mention of Erie-builts, but one has to extrapolate this from the combination of 2-stroke OP engine with "up to 8000 horsepower when required" -- as was built for KCS, IIRC.)

Was the Waltham test division actively involved in locomotive testing and development a decade or more after BLH formally left the field of new domestic locomotive development? In what areas?

  by hankadam
I'm not really sure of these facts, so bear with me for a little guessing. The Waltham facilities were established in the mid-to late '50's. BLH management realized that this type of operation (strain gauges, load cells, etc.) would do better when removed from the constraints of Eddystone - - - and that it did. They manufactured and sold the measuring equipment, but how much actually testing they = I don't know. I doubt if they did any work on BLH Diesels. How the book got there is an interesting mystery - can you research? It was a beautiful facility along Rte. #128, before Silicon Valley was ever heard of. The General Manager was Bob Tabors, who was an outstanding person, and in charge of the Hydraulic Press & Power Tool Department when I first got to Eddystone in 1954 (my bosses' boss). He later transferred to Hamilton, Ohio as VP until the early '60's when he was placed in charge of Waltham. Bob was killed on an airplane from here in the East to Chicago, in the early '60's, I believe over Northern Ohio when some crazy young man, had taken out one of these "quickie" insurance policies that they used to sell at all the airports. This "crazy" blew himself and all the others to smithereens. Maybe there would be a record of it on the Internet, but I am not going to pursue. Terrible end to one of finest executives at BLH. Take care, Hank

  by overmod
I bought this copy from an eBay seller fairly recently. Naturally, when I saw where it had come from, my FIRST question was 'where did you get it?', and the SECOND was 'were there any more from the same home?' Alas, he found them in a used-book sale, and although he had 2 or 3 more titles from the Waltham tech library, they were related to math or measurement technology with no railroad-related specialty.

I would have thought this book 'moved' up from Eddystone when the measurement function went to Waltham... except I can find no indication of a previous library stamp or Baldwin ID of any sort. Someone very, very neat applied the 'card pocket' on the back cover and stamped it -- everything is precisely square and centered! -- and the book is in a custom-made slipcase that I think was specially made to fit it (not original to publication). I think I'd have liked these guys' style...

If it helps, the spine bears the classification "GT12" and in the upper-left corner of the rear cover is written "TG" with "K" underneath it (probably for author's initial?)


  by HRKeller
Perhaps it came out of a staff member's collection. FWIW the phone number area code and prefix for the home office of Vishay BLH Electronics (from their website - blh.com) is Cambridge, Mass., though I couldn't find a physical address on the website.

Chances are there is a fair amount of this material waiting to turn up in garage sales in that area.


Bob Keller
Waukesha, Wisc.

  by overmod
Curiouser and curiouser...

I thought the Vishay BLH site said they were located in Canton, and the address Ihad for BLH Electronics (and then Thermo BLH) was 75 Shawmut Rd. in Canton. South of Boston, not northeast like Cambridge (or Waltham, which is virtually next door to Cambridge)

Meanwhile, I thought the facility in question was a different one, at 42 4th Avenue in Waltham. (I actually have GPS coordinates for the site: 42.393436 N by 71.260267 W). This was built in 1957, and was in active use as late as 1985.

Unfortunately, it appears that this facility was demolished in August 1989, and a hotel, helipad, and parking structures were erected on the site thereafter. If I had to guess, I'd say that the "Cambridge" prefix would actually be a Waltham one, and represents a number transferred to the Canton facility when the one in Waltham was closed.

(BTW, Hank, did you know Bob Welch, who was president of BLH Electronics for quite a few years? I regret to note that he passed away on January 24th.)

  by hankadam
Didn't know Bob Welch, but perhaps there is someone around who worked there and can give us all the missing facts. Take care, Hank