|Komoka Railway Museum Inc.|
|133 Queen Street, P.O. Box 22, Komoka, Ontario N0L 1R0 • (519) 657-1912|
Background of the Shay Type
The inventor and builder was Michigan's Ephraim Shay.
He was a man of many
interests who must have had a great love of children as he built and gave away
over 500 bobsleds as Christmas presents.
He made his living by logging, which was fine as long as enough
snow had fallen to skid the logs along. But when two winters in a row failed to provide the needed
snowfall, Ephraim decided to build a locomotive
to do the job. In his workshop he
had only four large tools: a small
lathe, a drill press, an anvil and a forge.
He built four upright engines in his workshop and did such a fine
job that others became interested and wanted him to build for them as well!
However, Ephraim had no time for that and sold his patent to the Lima
Locomotive Works in Ohio for $10,000.
Ephraim's price did not include
royalties -- a costly mistake -- because in due course, Lima Locomotives built
over 2,700 Shays. The firm operated
until the early 1960's in one form or another.