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Author Topic:   The Railroad Engineer as a nickelsmith
Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 09-18-2011 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sausalito News, Volume 30
Number 48, 1 January 1898

    How Railroad Engineers Transform Nickels Into Buttons or Spheres.

A Union Pacific engineer has a fashion of making unique pocket pieces for his friends. He runs a passenger engine west, and when oiling previous to a run he drops nickel 5 cent piece into the brass oil cap on the cross-head of the piston rod. His run is 800 miles. When he reaches his destination, he unscrews the top of the oil cup and takes the nickel out. It has been metamorphosed into a curious little button with an evenly turned rim, within which on the one side is the countersunk head of Liberty, divested of her stars, and on the other side the V and the wreath. The edge of the crown is as perfect as if it had been pounded on an anvil by an expert silversmith. The perfection of this is due to the even vibration the coin has been subjected to. The motion of the piston is horizontal, and it travels 48 inches, back and forth, with every revolution of the wheels. The interior of the oil cup is round and the edges of the nickel as it travels back and forth in the oil, striking the sides of the cup, are turned over and pounded into perfect roundness. Sometimes a nickel is left in the cup during the round trip, or 600 miles. When taken out, it is a nickel bullet, a perfect polished sphere. Who discovered this unique method of turning the edges of a nickel is not known, but many engineers know of it.
—Tacoma Ledger.

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