A Dive in the Archive: The Heisler Locomotive and Campbell Limestone #9by Paul Grether
Charles L. Heisler was the inventor of the Heisler Geared Locomotive. He was a mechanical engineering genius and enjoyed inventing things; he was by no means a railroader. After graduation from Cornell University, he worked for the Dunkirk engineering Company in Dunkirk, NY. At Dunkirk, Heisler learned of the need for geared locomotives. His design benefitted from the improvements over existing designs such as the Lima Shay, the Climax and the Gilbert. After the death of an associate at Dunkirk, Heisler looked for another producer, ending up with the Stearns Manufacturing Company which manufactured logging equipment and felt a geared locomotive was a natural addition to the line. Heisler then disassociated himself from the design, going on to other projects at Alco, GE, the Army and Navy with some teaching and consulting at Penn State. At the time of his death in 1931, he had secured over 60 patents. Heisler's interest was inventing and not financial gain.
Campbell Limestone #9 was donated to the chapter at the Christmas banquet in 1979. It was donated by Vulcan Materials, the successor company to Campbell Limestone. (Southern E8A #6901 also came to the Chapter at the same time.) #9 is one of 35 Heislers left out of approximately 625 built. It was built in 1923 by the Heisler Locomotives Works, who had taken over the Stearns' locomotive business.