The Ashton Valve company

Rick A Oct 22, 2019

  1. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    For over 100 years the Ashton Valve company produced all kind of valves and gauges for the Railroad industry, marine shipping, steam cars, and boiler rooms. Through what history and images I've been able to find online I will try and tell you the history of the company and their importance in America's industrial age.
    Let's start with a brief history of the company.


    https://www.smokstak.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=338041&d=1561734973
     

    Attached Files:

    Hardcoaler, BoxcabE50 and bremner like this.
  2. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    Henry Ashton's "lock up pop safety valve" , invented in 1871, put the company on the map. It was a huge step in making boilers safer, as boiler explosions were a horrible problem in the mid 1800's. Attached is some information about the pop safety valve. Boiler explosion        Germany.jpg IMG_20180318_082051.jpg IMG_20190622_151548.jpg IMG_20190709_174339.jpg IMG_20190412_170217.jpg IMG_20190417_163039.jpg
     
    Kurt Moose, BoxcabE50 and r_i_straw like this.
  3. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    Here's a safety valve from circa 1874 given to me at the Yankee Steam Up a couple of years ago. And a couple of other safety valves the company made.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
  5. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    For 20 years the company produced vales of all types. In 1892 the entered the gauge market by purchasing the Boston Steam Gauge Company. Soon the company became as well known for their quality gauges as they were for their valves. Attached is a notice sent to all their customers about the Gauge company purchase. Gauge announcment letter 1892.jpg IMG_20190412_171213.jpg IMG_20190412_172838.jpg IMG_20190413_155046.jpg IMG_20190413_155515.jpg IMG_20190413_160406.jpg IMG_20190413_161759.jpg IMG_20190413_162948.jpg IMG_20190413_162911.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50 and r_i_straw like this.
  6. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    Here are a few gauges from my collection. IMG_20180524_122941.jpg IMG_20180621_105901.jpg IMG_20180621_112749.jpg IMG_20191011_174731.jpg IMG_20190908_111403.jpg IMG_20191003_141007.jpg IMG_20190829_113025.jpg IMG_20181002_150459.jpg IMG_20190503_083044.jpg IMG_20190624_172617.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50, r_i_straw and gjslsffan like this.
  7. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    all Ashton products were built to last and repair parts were available for them. IMG_20190605_123455.jpg IMG_20190605_123736.jpg IMG_20190605_125024.jpg IMG_20190829_165803.jpg IMG_20190605_124127.jpg IMG_20190605_124243.jpg IMG_20190605_124700.jpg IMG_20190605_124810.jpg IMG_20190829_170521.jpg IMG_20180506_160911.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50 and r_i_straw like this.
  8. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    And the adverts reflected the gauge introduction to the companies product listing. IMG_20190412_165330.jpg IMG_20190412_171320.jpg IMG_20190412_172156.jpg IMG_20190412_173403.jpg IMG_20190413_130916.jpg IMG_20190413_155818.jpg locomotive dictionary  1905.jpg IMG_20191003_110720.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50 and r_i_straw like this.
  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    1,682
    777
    33
    Relief valves saved countless lives. This is good stuff.

    Many of those gauges are remarkably decorative. Fun to see things from the era when even mundane things were made handsome.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    acptulsa likes this.
  11. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    1,682
    777
    33
    Very nice.

    [​IMG]

    But I like a couple of those Ashton gauges better.
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    They made it easy to repair a gauge, but how do you know it needs to be repaired? In the case of the gauges, the company offered a number of testing kits to see how accurate the gauges were. IMG_20190430_172527.jpg IMG_20190416_174506.jpg IMG_20190503_082603.jpg IMG_20190503_083844.jpg IMG_20190503_084053.jpg IMG_20190503_084153.jpg IMG_20180429_120717.jpg IMG_20190416_174517.jpg IMG_20190413_155331.jpg IMG_20180506_105432.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  13. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    A favorite was the dead weight tester. IMG_20190503_100936.jpg IMG_20180429_120747.jpg IMG_20190710_233656.jpg IMG_20190413_162548.jpg IMG_20190416_175037.jpg
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    59,924
    4,475
    600
    Fascinating background information. Wow.
     
  15. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    4,228
    6,317
    77
    Modern locomotives later sported multiple safety valves for extra assurance. Each valve was set at a slightly different pressure so that they didn't all lift at once and too rapidly deplete working steam pressure. I couldn't find a prototype photo on line, but this N&W Y3 model shows it. You can see four safety valves arrayed atop the boiler. The Y3 had a working pressure of 240 PSI; the Y5's and Y6's were increased to 300 PSI.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    Rick A likes this.
  16. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    I can't help you with that Hardcoaler, but an engineer told me one of the things about an Ashton safety valve that made it different from other brands was the fact that the valve shut down in a few seconds after "popping", so the loss of steam was greatly decreased.
     
  17. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    Many factories were purchased by the War Department during WWII and used to manufactures materials for the war effort. The Ashton Valve company was one of those. The continued to make gauges and safety valves, but now exclusively for Naval ships.

    The Defense Plant Corporation was the branch of the government assigned to this task. Here's a link to more information about them and a couple of letters that show the Ashton Valve's involvement.

    http://what-when-how.com/the-american-economy/defense-plant-corporation-dpc/

    WWll Defense #1.jpg WWll Defense#2.jpg
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    The company held many patents. Here are some of the Railroad patents. I'm not posting the written details of the patents but they can all be looked up on google patents. IMG_20190417_163142.jpg IMG_20190417_163253.jpg IMG_20190417_163405.jpg IMG_20190417_163448.jpg IMG_20190417_163608.jpg IMG_20190424_150013.jpg IMG_20190424_142500.jpg
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    There were a number of people who played major roles in the company's history. Here are some of them. Henry G. Ashton.jpg IMG_20190818_170203.jpg Columbus Dill (3).jpg F.A. Casey.jpg IMG_20190424_161941.jpg J. W. Motherwell (2).jpg IMG_20190830_171614.jpg IMG_20190424_161755.jpg IMG_20190424_161512.jpg IMG_20190424_162559.jpg
     
  20. Rick A

    Rick A TrainBoard Member

    94
    82
    3
    The company started out at 138 Pearl Street Boston but in less than a year was burned out by the Great Boston Fire of 1872. After a few years of moving around(2 more fires) they settled at 271 Franklin Street for the next 27 years. After the business outgrew the Franklin Street facility, the built a new building at 161 First Street in East Cambridge Mass. They merged with Crosby Valve during WWII and then in 1948 Pearl St 1872.jpg 271 Franklin St Boston.jpg Cambridge factory 1907.jpg AshtonCrosby  Wrentham,MA..jpg they moved to their final site in Wrentham,Ma.
     

Share This Page