The Larry

From “Surface arrangements at bituminous mines1 – “Larries are large hopper-shaped steel cars for carrying coal from the coal bin to the oven. They are made in three styles: double-discharge larries, for block ovens, have two spouts – one on each side so that they can discharge the coal into the oven on the right or left side of the track. Single-discharge larries have but one spout and are used for bank ovens only. Center- or bottom-discharge larries are made for bank ovens and are discharged from the bottom when directly over the trunnell head of the oven.

The gauge for single- and double-discharge larries is 4 feet 8-1/2 inches, and the gauge for center discharge larries is from 6 to 7 feet. The larry shown here is run by an electric motor and trolley. It has a height of 8 feet 10 inches and a capacity of 6-1/2 tons. The wheels are 24 inches in diameter and are pressed on 3-1/2-inch round axles with journals outside the wheels. The journals have brasses in regular freight-car boxes with springs on top to take up the jar caused by track joints. The frame b is of steel and is bolted to the hopper c. At the end of the spout a is an apron d that is hinged in such a way that it may be raised and lowered at will by winding or unwinding the chain e from the windlass f. The larries are provided with brakes of a substantial nature made so as to brake either two or all four wheels. The larry brakes and shoes should be examined every morning, for if the brake fails there will probably be a wreck that will be very awkward to handle.

The one shown is a double-discharge Larry. With my Coke Oven Bank a “single block oven” – my larry will be a ‘center discharge’. Note that it says .. “the gauge for center discharge larries is from 6 to 7 feet.”

That got me thinking. ‘Normal’ O scale track actually measures 1-1/4″ gauge which scales to track that is 5-ft gauge. That means that ‘Off-the-shelf’ standard gauge .. O scale is already wide gauge. In any case .. 6-ft would be 1-1/2″ and 7-ft would be 1-1/2″. Cool. I feel that .. if I’m going to build a custom wide-gauge larry track then ‘goforit’ .. the 7-ft wide gauge.

H.C. Frick Co. Standard Electric Larry

This is a badly scanned page from either Model Railroader or Railroad Model Craftsman from 1981 of a very similar larry. If anyone knows where it originated I would ask if you could get me a high-resolution scan of the page. This one when you look close you can barely make out details. (example .. look at the width of the hopper. It ‘appears’ to be 8′ 6-1/4″ .. but zoom in and it is just a blob.

Modeling the Larry

This photo is interesting because it is obviously the source for the drawing at the top of the article. This was what I used to create a Sketchup drawing of the Larry.

With the somewhat blurry photo and all of the shadows it is/was hard to figure out some of the bits and pieces. The drawing that was made from this photo of course would make it much easier to work on the Sketchup drawing.

This is the .. call it Ver 1 that I created in Sketchup from the old photograph. NO … this does not reflect the details I can now see in the drawing that was created from the photo. Yes the chute is different as I was trying for a center-discharge Larry. I will note that the 8′ 6-1/2″ (? perhaps ?) measurement for the hopper width is not that far off from the 8′ 11-1/8″ that I guesstamated from the photo.

As I said this is Ver 1. Now with the added detail of the drawing derived from the photo and the H.C. Frick Co. larry I should be able to improve enough for a Ver2

Center-Discharge vrs Side-Discharge Larry

One of the simplest methods of charging the ovens was by the use of drop-bottom mine cars, running cars from the mine on a track over the center of the trunnel heads and dumping directly into the ovens. This method of course was limited to a small plant, as several cars were required for a single charge and the time required to shift cars was too great to allow of the extension of the system to many ovens. Some form of larry was, therefore, early adopted that would hold sufficient coal to charge a single oven. The drop-bottom larry with the track straddling the trunnel heads was the earlier form, and there are some old plants which are still using this type, but the double side-discharge larry is almost universally used now. In this form the steel coal-holding hopper with sloping bottom is set sufficiently high above the tracks to discharge the coal through the adjustable chutes into the oven trunnels on either side, the track being laid at the back of the ovens on bank ovens and between the two rows of ovens on block ovens. The motive power for the larries has been successively, the mule, the dinkey locomotive and the electric motor. Nearly all the newer plants of any size are using the self-propelling electric larry, either equipping all larries with motors or using some plain larries as trailers. 2

I suppose my coke ovens are of he “earlier form” since the Larry is center discharge. I haven’t found a photo or drawing showing a center-discharge Larry but I underlined the “the use of drop-bottom mine cars” above .. as I SHOULD be able to find a drawing or photo of that and can consider using the same design for my Larry.

  1. Surface arrangements at bituminous mines: coal washing, principles of coking, coking in the beehive oven, by-product coking, surface arrangements at anthracite mines, preparation of anthracite – Instructional Correspondence School – Pub 1907[]
  2. Chemical Engineer, Volume 5, Pub 1906-1907 – Page 134[]

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