Hold onto your engineer caps, railroad history lovers


One of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotives Is About to Make a Triumphant Return

Now, six decades after the last Big Boy was taken off the rails, the Union Pacific is rebuilding one of the famous locomotives in honor of the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration of the first Transcontinental Railroad. It’s a project so ambitious that Ed Dickens Jr, a Union Pacific steam locomotive engineer and the man leading the rebuild, has likened it to resurrecting a Tyrannosaurus rex.

More on the story at this link:


A 3D-printed house you can actually live in should be ready by 2019

This piece seemed an appropriate follow-up to the post on Edison’s concrete houses.

3D Cement1

In The Netherlands, a company called Van Wijnen is working with the city of Eindhoven to build the world’s first community of 3D-printed houses. The planned community will have five houses, all printed with concrete. Each subsequent house will build on the ones that came before; the first house will be relatively simple, just one story. The fifth house will be two stories and incorporate what the team has previously learned.

At the beginning, the houses will be printed offsite and brought to their final location in the Meerhoven district of Eindhoven. The aim is to make the futuristic-looking houses a work of art in and of themselves, so the final community looks like a sort of sculpture garden.

Van Wijnen is embarking on this project for multiple reasons. According to The Guardian, there are a shortage of bricklayers in The Netherlands. The craft is becoming more expensive as a result. In contrast, concrete is relatively in expensive and versatile. What’s more, 3D printing it is economical because none of the material goes to waste, and the method allows printing different types of concrete (reinforced with insulation or coated with dirt repellant) at once. Additionally, it can be easily customized according to the wishes of the person who will live in the home.

3D Cement 2

The real key here is that these homes aren’t just models; they will actually be lived in. And if this project is successful, more 3D-printed concrete homes will follow. The first home of Project Milestone should be ready sometime in 2019. For now, the homes are being printed offsite, but the company hopes that by the fifth house, the work will be done at the Meerhoven site. And apparently, the waiting list for the first house is already 20 people long, so it’s clear that Van Wijnen won’t have trouble finding someone to rent their 3D printed homes.

Edison held 49 cement patents


Patent for single-pour concrete house

This Saturday several OE members will be taking the Cement in the Lehigh Valley tour. The Intermountain Concrete Specialties website features information on Edison’s cement products that might be of interest to our group.

“Most people know Thomas Edison for the light bulb, but did you know the famous inventor also held 49 cement patents? An important part of concrete history, Edison’s patents included cement processing equipment, waterproofing cement paint, and even a mold for single-pour concrete construction. The visionary thinker imagined a future with concrete houses, concrete furniture, and even concrete pianos and refrigerators!”


More on Edison’s cement houses:



The Edison Portland Cement Company secured the contract to build the original Yankee Stadium in 1922.




Carter Litchfield was an early member of the society and a generous supporter of the Chapter. His research focused on linseed oil mills and processing. His press publications can be viewed at this link.: https://openlibrary.org/publishers/Olearius_Editions.

Several current Oliver Evans Chapter members have been involved with this title.


This gazetteer provides historical background on the linseed oil industry and detailed histories of more than 70 mills in the Garden State, which was a center of production during the 19th century. Many of these mills were “combination” mills, manufacturing not just linseed oil but a variety of other products by waterpower, so the book will also be of interest to fans of gristmills, tanbark mills, and the like. Well illustrated. Hardcover, 223 pages. Written by Carter Litchfield [SIA], Richard L. Porter [SIA], and Paul W. Schopp, with contributions from Dorothy White Hartman, Patrick Harshbarger [SIA], and Stephanie Stevens. Published posthumously by Litchfield’s Olearius Press, all proceeds have been generously donated to the SIA by the Litchfield estate.

SIA Member Price: $25 ($20 plus $5 shipping). Members outside of U.S. please email sia@siahq.org for additional shipping charges. You must be a current member of the SIA to buy this book.

Download Table of Contents.

Order online.