• Big boy etymology

  • Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads
Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

Moderators: slide rules, Typewriters

  by Cowford
 
Silly topic perhaps, but the moniker "big boy" isn't a term original to UP's 4-8-8-4. For those that know the 1930 movie, Danger Lights, a heavy mike is referred to by the same name. Any documented earlier use of "big boy"?
  by Allen Hazen
 
I don't have any earlieer usages to report, but your suggestion makes sense. The legend is that someone (an Alco employee?) had chalked "Big Boy" on the smoke box (?) of the first (?) U.P. 4000 off the production floor at Schenectady, and that this name stuck. But there's no reason to think that the man with the chalk intended to give a NAME to the type: he was just DESCRIBING the new gargantuan, using a common expression, "Big Boy," that has been used with reference to many impressively big things, not all of them locomotives.
(If it hadn't stuck, what would we call the 4-8-8-4 type? Double Mastodon?)
  by TrainDetainer
 
(If it hadn't stuck, what would we call the 4-8-8-4 type? Double Mastodon?)
According to UP, the chosen name for the F-E-E-F was to be Wasatch, so probably that.

You can see it in this video - pause at about 0:57 to read it :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ajbhSt7Nak.
  by Wayside
 
Yes, Wasatch is correct.