There is an amount of carelessness on the part of railway managers, in regard to the life and safety of those in their employ, that is really shocking. It is by no means an unfrequent occurrence that brakesmen and others are crushed between the buffers of cars while coupling them together, and yet on the majority of railroads this old and barbarous system of coupling by hand is still persisted in, notwithstanding that there are many inventions patented which would entirely avoid the risk of accident. The invention we are about to describe is among the very best of these, because of its simplicity and security, and it possesses the great advantage of allowing the brakesman to uncouple the cars at whatever speed they may be going without stepping off the platform. In our engravings, Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the coupling attachment, Fig. 2 is a section of the same, and Fig. 3 is an end view. Similar letters indicate the same parts in each. A is the platform of the car having links, B, suspended from it, which carry the box, C, having a trumpet-mouth D; the top of this trumpet-mouth or draw-head, should be perforated, so that the brakesman can see if the car be coupled or not. The box, C, contains a buffer, E, of the shape shown in Fig. 2, having a small recess, e, cut in it to fit the end of the coupling link or shackle, and may have a small spring above or below it between the box and itself, so as to allow any slight vertical play when one car is lower than the other, as on inclines ; behind this is the buffer spring, F, which may be made of any efficient material. G is the coupling link or shackle. Through the platform there p asses a shaft, H, provided with a wheel, A, by which the brakesman can turn it, and on its lower end is a small toothed wheel, I, gearing into another one, J, the axle of which carries the hook, K. This hook is made of wedge form, having a recess cut in its broadest end into which the shackle can fit, and in which it is kept by the buffer, E, and spring, F, being prevented from jerking out by its also fitting into the recess, e. The hook, K, is sunk a little below the bottom of D, so that when the link enters the drawhead, it cannot catch, but is at once met by the inclined side of K, and it passes over it into its proper place, from which it is impossible to dislodge it until the brakesman by the wheel, h, turns K directly round, when the link being outside, and the incline in, the shackle has no bearing, and is at once pulled out, leaving the cars detached. It is quite obvious that this can be done at any time without the .slightest reference to the speed of the train. The gearing, I J, is supported by the brackets, L. There is no doubt that this is a thoroughly good coupling, and one which we hope may come into an extended use, as there is no liability of loss of life in its employment, and as far as we can see will answer much better than the method at present practised. It is the invention of John F. Rague, of Dubuque, Iowa, and was patented by him Dec. 29, 1857. He will be happy to give any further information respecting the invention.
This article was originally published with the title "Rague's Patent Car Coupling"