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Boston, Hoosac Tunnel and Western No. 5 was built by the Dickson Locomotive Works in 1879.

Boston, Hoosac Tunnel and Western No. 5 was built by the Dickson Locomotive Works in 1879.

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Dickson Manufacturing Company
Dickson Manufacturing Company was a US manufacturing company which owned three factories in and near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1856 by Thomas Dickson , the company was initially a mechanical machine shop and iron foundry. Over the years, several smaller companies in the area were acquired, and the company expanded the product range from steam engines , boilers and equipment to the mining industry to also include railcars and locomotives. In the 1870s and 1880s, the company expanded its factories and had good profitability. In 1901, Dickson Manufacturing Company joined a big merger with 7 other locomotive factories and formed American Locomotive Company (Alco). In 1909, the locomotive factory was closed after building approximately 1,400 locomotives.

Thomas Dickson founded Dickson and Company in 1856 in Scranton. In the factory premises on the corner of Penn Avenue and Vine Street, the iron foundry started up in May 1856, and not long after, the forge and machine shop were also in operation. The company had about 30 employees in 1857, most of them working in the foundry. Soon the factory was expanded with a boiler workshop as well. Dickson and Company built machines, pumps and steam engines, and the most important customers were mining companies in the area. In 1859, the company changed its name to Dickson Manufacturing Company. In 1862, the mechanical workshop of WM Cooke and Company was acquired (No relation to Cooke Locomotive and Machine Company in Paterson, NJ). The workshop was called "Cliff Works" and was located about three-tenths of a mile southwest of the Penn Avenue headquarters. The closest neighbor to the north of Cliff Works was the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroads (DL&W) workshops and maintenance facilities, which provided a direct connection to the rail network. WM Cooke and Company had already completed three locomotives, and was in the process of building a fourth when the company was acquired. Cliff Works was turned into a dedicated locomotive factory, and the locomotive under construction was completed by Dickson Manufacturing Company. This was handed over in March of 1862 to the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad railway company (A & S). A&S was leased by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company where Thomas Dickson had a leading position. After several reorganizations and mergers, the company became  the Delaware and Hudson Railway, and were one of Dickson Manufacturing's most important customers over the years.

In 1864, a planing and carpentry workshop that was next door to Cliff Works was acquired. Here, the company started building railway cars. In 1866, the company Lanning and Marshall in the neighboring town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was  acquired. This was a mechanical workshop that was set up to produce wheels and shafts for locomotives and railcars.  In 1867,  founder Thomas Dickson left the company, and two years later he became president of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, a position he held until he died in 1884. In 1869, the locomotive factory (Cliff Works) was expanded and the Penn Avenue factory received a new foundry. After the expansion, the factory had a capacity of 4 locomotives a month in 1870, and the foundry produced daily 7.7 tons of cast iron. In September 1872, locomotive No. 100 rolled out of the factory. In 1874, the Cliff Works engine house burned down, but was quickly rebuilt. The new buildings maintained a higher standard than the old ones, and the new machines were of the latest technology. The factory was then able to increase its production capacity to 60 locomotives a year. Throughout the 1870s, the business went well, and a new three-story office and warehouse was erected on Penn Avenue. By the 1880s, production was at its highest, and in 1884, locomotive no. 500 was handed over to the Delaware and Hudson Railway. That same year, Thomas Dickson, 62, died.

In 1901, the Dickson Manufacturing Company's locomotive department was one of eight locomotive factories which through a large merger formed the American Locomotive Company (Alco). The Dickson departments that built steam engines and compressors merged with Edward P. Allis Company , Fraser & Chalmers and Gates Iron Works and formed the Allis-Chalmers Company .

The other factories that were merged in 1901 were:

Schenectady Locomotive Works in Schenectady , New York
Cooke Locomotive & Machine Company in Paterson , New Jersey
Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk , New York
Manchester Locomotive Works in Manchester , New Hampshire
Pittsburgh Locomotive & Car Works in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island Locomotive Works in Providence , Rhode Island
Richmond Locomotive & Machine Works in Richmond , Virginia

Of these factories, Dickson was the second-smallest, and in 1909 became the second of Alco's subdivisions that were closed down after having built about 100 locomotives as the Alco Dickson Works.

Preserved locomotives
Dickson Manufacturing Company built locomotives of all sizes and for most gauges. Both small, fireless accumulator locomotives for mining, and larger steam locomotives for pulling freight and passenger trains were included in the product range. The factory also exported several locomotives. Of the 1,300 locomotives that were built before the Alco merger, the following two have been preserved:

Serial Number: 1005

Whyte Notation: 0-6-2T
Year Built: 1898
Owner: JB Levert No. 5
Status: Exhibited at the Enterprise Plantation in Patoutville, Louisiana.

Serial Number: 1020

Whyte Notation: 2-4-0
Year Built: 1898
Owner: Ferrocarril al Pacifico No. 1
Status: Exhibited at Pacific Station in San José , Costa Rica

Of the locomotives that were built after the establishment of Alco, 4 still exist, one of which is operational.

1856: Company founded as Dickson & Company
1859: Name changed to Dickson Manufacturing Company
1862 January: WM Cooke & Co. acquired

1862 March: First locomotive delivered (partly built by W. Cooke & Co.)
1867: Thomas Dickson joined the company
1872: Locomotive No. 100 delivered
1874: Cliff Works factory burns down
1884: Thomas Dickson dies
1884: Locomotive No. 500 delivered to D&H
1898: Locomotive No. 1,000 delivered to D&H
1901: Merged with 7 other locomotive factories and formed Alco
1909: Factory closed

See also:

Locomotive Builders

Steam Locomotives

Delaware and Hudson Railway

American Locomotive Company (ALCO)

A Dickson Manufacturing Company slideshow.

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