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The General was built by the firm of Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor of Paterson, N.J., for the Western & Atlantic Railroad at a cost of $8,850.

Her construction number is 631, and she was completed in December 1855. She was built as an eight wheel, wood-burning locomotive of the American type, with a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement, weighing about 50,300 pounds, with a gauge of five feet and cylinders 15 inches in diameter and a stroke of 22 inches. The four driving wheels, each 60 inches in diameter, were made of cast iron. The weight on the drivers is 32,000 pounds, and the weight on the leading truck wheels is 18,000 pounds. The boiler was a type known as Wagon Top and was covered with felt and Russia iron. The engine carried a working steam pressure of 140 pounds. The boiler contains 130 flues each eleven feet long and two inches in diameter. The leading truck, with four wheels, was built with a rigid center. The tender has two trucks of four wheels each, 30 inches in diameter and with inside bearings. The smoke stack of the old engine was of the balloon type known as a Radley and Hunter stack, designed for burning wood as fuel. The engine had no live steam injectors but instead took water from the tender by a pair of ram type pumps which were activated by the crossheads. Therefore, the boiler could not be supplied with water unless the engine was moving. There was no brake on the engine, and the hand brake on the tender was probably used when the engine was idle during terminal layovers. The way to stop the engine was for the engineer to pull back on the Johnson reverse bar and put the engine in reverse. Such a feature is unheard of today and has been for years.

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