History Of The Climax Locomotive

History Of The Climax Locomotive
Author, Ed Vasser

Charles Darwin Scott​


Charles Darwin Scott

Between 1875 and 1878, Charles Darwin Scott, a lumberman of considerable mechanical ingenuity, operated a logging tram road with a home made locomotive to handle logs to the Scott and Akin mill at Spartansburg, nine miles from Corry, Pennsylvania. Scott’s experiments with his home made locomotive lead to his invention of the Climax locomotive.

Scott decided to place his locomotive on the market and took his plans to the Climax Manufacturing Company in Corry to have the locomotive built. The first known Climax was out-shopped in March 1888 and was sold to the firm of Imel, Powers and Shank. Three more were built and sold within the next three months. A patent was applied for on February 10, 1888 and granted December 4, 1888, however, the patent was issued to George D. Gilbert instead of Scott.

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George D. Gilbert was a relative of Scott by marriage; was well educated and a civil engineer by trade. He had also been involved in the manufacture of portable steam engines. Scott had only a limited education and had agreed to let Gilbert draw the plans and handle the procedures of applying for the patent. However, Gilbert did not credit the invention in Scott’s name.

When new patents were taken out for design improvements by R. S. Battles of the Climax Manufacturing Company, Scott was again ignored. Scott filed suit against both Gilbert and Battles and applied for a patent in his own name. After a lengthy court battle a verdict was rendered in Scott’s favor and he was granted a patent on December 20, 1892. However, the lawsuit left him penniless and he never reaped much benefit from his invention and since the Climax name was applied to the locomotive, Charles D. Scott has been virtually forgotten. George D. Gilbert is still incorrectly credited as being the designer of the Climax in many publications and on some Web pages.
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