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Sigma DP1 - 19th Century Wooden Railway Wheels

Mansell Teak Wheels meet the 21st Century head on.

Whilst testing the DP1  Merrill and DP2 Merrill at the Butterley Railway conservation yard at Golden Valley, just outside Codnor, Derbyshire,  I was fascinated by some wheels... Wooden railway (railroad)  wheels. Odd but true.  

Sigma DP1 Merrill 1/60th Sec f8.0 ISO100

After a bit of research, I was able to establish that these particular wheels were designed by Mr Robert Mansell in 1862 (Although it is probable that development work started as early as the 1840's) when he was Carriage and Wagon superintendent of the South Eastern Railway in the UK.  They were designed to reduce noise levels of primarily passenger carriages, (Although there are examples of them used on Locomotives). 

The body of the wheel is made from seasoned Rangoon Teak which was cut into sections and crafted into a disk.  This was then balanced before the tyres were added.  The tyres were brought to 'black heat' (A stage before red heat) once they were placed over the teak disk, they contracted to hold fast on the teak and in turn forcing the teak onto the wrought iron 'boss' which was in turn fixed to the axle.  It was then finished with teak oil or varnish for the wood, and black paint for the metal.

These examples would benefit from some conservation: I'm gald I got to them before hand - I love the colour of the rust and the algae!

The electrical bonding strip can clearly be seen in this photograph.  Sigma DP1 Merrill 1/50th sec @ f8.0 ISO100