Komoka Railway Museum Inc.
  133 Queen Street, P.O. Box 22, Komoka, Ontario N0L 1R0 (519) 657-1912

 

  

Background of the Shay Type Logging Locomotive 

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.

More on Ephraim Shay