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Technical Innovations

Jordan Spreader

The Jordan Spreader is a multi-purpose piece of railway equipment. The inventor, Oswald F. Jordan, began to develop a railway spreader in the 1890s. At the time, he was superintendent of the Canada Southern and the Michigan Central Railways, living in St. Thomas, Ontario. In 1898, he left his job, moved to Chicago, and concentrated […]

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Westinghouse Air Brakes

George Westinghouse Jr. invented a brake system that revolutionized the railroad industry. His centralized air brake system proved extremely effective which meant that locomotives could haul heavier cars at higher speeds with fewer mishaps. In the years immediately before Westinghouse’s invention, each car on a train was equipped with its own set of brakes. Brakemen […]

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Standard Time

Prior to the development of Standard Time, the time was established by designating noon as when the sun was directly overhead. This meant that noon in Toronto occurred after noon in Montreal. As people began to travel greater distances the time changes became more significant. The railways devised their own time zones, but the different […]

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