The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Coke Larry Car

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Coke larry car
Coke larry car made by Jeffrey Manufacturing Co.
Mule-powered larry car at Stone Cliff mine

Coke larry cars (larries) are large hopper-shaped steel cars that were commonly used in the coal fields during the late-1800s and early-1900s to carry coke from the storage bin to coke ovens.

Coke larry cars were typically made in three styles:

1. Double-discharge larry cars, for bock ovens, that had two spouts, one on each side so that they could discharge the coal into the ovens on the right of left side of the track.

2. Single-discharge larry cars, which had only one spout and were used for bank ovens only.

3. Center- or bottom-discharge larries, were were made for bank ovens and were discharged from the bottom when directly over the trunnel head of the oven.

The track gauge for single- and double-discharge larries was normally the standard-gauge of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches, while the gauge for center discharge larries was from 6 to 7 feet. Some larry cars were self-powered, being equipped with electric motors powered via an overhead trolley wire, while others were non-powered. Some non-powered larries were moved by small "dinky" locomotive while others, such as the coke plant in the New River Gorge at Stone Cliff, used mules to move the larries.

Dimensions common to the larry car (shown at top, right) follow: Height of the car was 8 feet 10 inches, with a capacity of 6 1/2 tons. The wheels were 24 inches in diameter, which were pressed onto 3 1/2 inch round axles, with journals outside the wheels. The journals had brasses mounted in regular freight-car journal boxes with springs on top to take up the jar caused by track joints. The frame B was of steel and was bolted to the hopper C. At the end of the spout A is an apron D that is hinged in such a way that it may be raised and lowered at will by winding or unwinding the chain E from the windlass F. The larries were provided with brakes of a substantial nature made so as to brake either two or all four wheels. To avoid runaways and the resulting accidents, it was important for the brake shoes to be examined at that beginning of each shift.