Stoking the Fire

Let’s take a look at the other side of a steamer’s cab. While documenting the operations on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, Jack Delano captured this image of Fireman Larry Adams as he was shoveling coal into the firebox of his locomotive. A fireman is tasked with maintaining a good head of steam by feeding and tending the boiler’s fire. He also insures that the boiler stays filled with water, and performs a myriad of other tasks around the cab.

It’s a cold winter’s day in January of 1943, but the heat from the boiler’s backhead likely provides a bit of comfort for the crew. And the fireman seldom has time to “cool off” with his job’s requirements. Note the broom leaning on the boiler . . . a good fireman also keeps his charge tidy!

Stoking the Fire
Stoking the Fire

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