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American Car & Foundry Company


by Edward S. Kaminski

ACF jacket

In 1899, thirteen car-building companies combined to form American Car & Foundry Co. This book is the story of a century of work by that company. This sweeping view of the work and products of American Car & Foundry celebrates the company's Centennial in 1999. Author Edward S. Kaminski covers corporate history and product development, but emphasizes the immense variety and extent of railcar production over the past century, from the original thirteen firms which formed ACF, down to the facilities of today. Chapters cover, in addition to manufacturing plants and company history, tank cars; box, stock and refrigerator cars; flat cars; open-top hoppers and gondolas; covered hoppers; passenger cars; and miscellaneous railcars and equipment. With fully 1260 photos, the great majority never before published and of considerable historic value, together with a detailed appendix on tank car specifications and drawings, as well as a complete index, this is an essential book for anyone who is a railroad enthusiast or is interested in American railroads and rolling stock.

The book presents a sampling of many thousands of freight, passenger and other railcar equipment produced by ACF, as well as other products ranging from busses and trucks, to military vehicles and yachts. Accordingly, a rich slice of railroad history is here, in the varied equipment and its owners, down through the decades in which wood construction gave way to steel, rivets to welding, and cars became far larger in capacity. The numerous plants and facilities of ACF are here too, along with a summary of company history.

The book represents a selection from the enormous and superb collection of historic photographs taken throughout its history by ACF to document new cars as they were produced. As such, it is a window into earlier decades as well as into quite recent ACF output. The great majority of these photographs, 260 of them in color, have not been published previously, and many are newly discovered in ACF archives. This book is sure to take its place in libraries of railroad and rail equipment history.

The painting used for the dust jacket of this book was painted by ACF employee Aurion M. Proctor for the ACF headquarters building; it is now at the Milton, Pennsylvania manufacturing plant of ACF.


"Students of railroad history, particularly those interested in freight cars, will want to purchase this book. Packed with photos and descriptions, this painstakingly compiled work traces the long, distinguished history of the company now known as ACF Industries. Kaminski weaves a fascinating tale of U.S. railcar development as practiced by one of the industry's premier builders. The book is a fitting tribute to ACF as the company marks its centennial." (full text of review available)

-- Railway Age

"I thank Edward Kaminski and his publisher for this new book. It is well made and bound, and page layout is good. The highlight is the many finely reproduced builder photos of the cars ACF has built; the quality is good to excellent. Railfans who are in any way interested in freight cars will find this book indispensable." (full text of review available)

-- Jeff Saxton, in Model Railroad News

"The strength of this book is pictorial. Kaminski has gathered a superb array of images... Unquestionably, this is a handsome publication... anyone interested in American railroad car builders will want to acquire this centennial study." (full text of review available)

--H. Roger Grant, in The Lexington Quarterly,March, 2000

"This is a remarkable book which is sure to be of interest to both modelers and railfans. It could be described as a "super" Car Builders Cyclopedia,devoted to the work of one car builder. Unlike Cyclopedias,it provides a photographic history of freight cars for the entire twentieth century in a single volume." (full text of review available)

--Larry Kline, in Railroad Model Craftsman magazine, Dec. 1999

Also available: Several full reviews of this book as well as the Table of Contents of the book.

Particulars: American Car & Foundry Company, by Edward S. Kaminski
Price: $68, hard covers     Size: 376 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 1260 photographs, drawings, index
ISBN: 0-9633791-9-4     Publication date: March 17, 1999