Professor William Freeman Myrith Goss

Primary biographical details not yet known. Central Europe had no monopoly of professorial influence in locomotive design, for Professor Goss of Purdue University had a great and beneficial effect not only on American design, but on European too. While Purdue University was still being built he persuaded its board to allow him to build a locomotive testing plant and to acquire a 4-4-0 locomotive as guinea pig. The plant, set up in 1891, was the first to place the locomotive on rollers. Goss's main interest in this plant was the study of smokebox design, and he slowly evolved formulae for front end proportions which promised (and to a large extent delivered) the most effective draughting, and, hence the optimum power output. These formulae were accepted by the American Master Mechanics Association and incorporated into American practice, which is perhaps one reason why subsequent American designers felt it unnecessary to invest in European-style double chimney or multi-jet exhausts. In England, Churchward of the Great Western Railway adopted the Goss principles for his range of advanced standard designs, but see Ell's observations (below). Duffy gives a forceful assessment of Goss's significance. Much of Goss's work was published in journal articles, but there were also successive editions of his book Locomotive Performance.

Ell, S.O. discussion on Tuplin, W.A. Some questions about the steam locomotive. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1953, 43, 671-4. (Paper No. 528)
In his demolition of Tuplin's paper Ell stated that: "Goss does not connect blast pipe and chimney dimensions at all, which is surprising since there are practical reasons why they should be connected and no scientific reasons why they should not be. Goss ties the chimney choke to the roof of the smoke box and the orifice top to the centre line of the smokebox. These are too restrictive for British practice. ... Churchward's proportions as between blast pipe and chimney, dating from the same period as Goss's work, have never been seriously upset and it is interesting to note that Young produced in America long after Churchward and Goss, proportions which are almost identical with those of Churchward.

Goss's Papers

An experimental locomotive, Railroad and Eng. J., 1891. 65, 549.
An experimental locomotive, Trans. ASME, 1892, 13, 427-
Tests of the locomotive at the Laboratory of Purdue University, Trans. ASME, 1893, 14, 826-
Locomotive testing plants,  Trans. ASME, 1904, 25, 827-
An experimental study of the effect of counterbalance in locomotive drive-wheels upon the pressure between wheel and Rail, Trans. ASME, 1894-95, 26, 305- and Amer. E. & R. J., 1895, 69, 38-43.
The Purdue University Locomotive Testing Plant, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, 1895.
The value of the steam pipe within the smokebox of a locomotive as a means of superheating, Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci., 1893, 271-3.
The effect of high rates of combustion upon the efficiency of locomotive boilers, Proc. New York Railroad Club, 1896, 27-34.
Indicator diagrams from the experimental locomotive of Purdue University, parts 1-7, Rly Rev., 1896, 705 and 720; 1897, 4, 19, 34, 47 and 60.
Tests of locomotive boiler coverings, Proc. Western Railway Club, 1899, 162-
(Abstracted Railroad Gazette, 17 February 1899, 119-20, and Int. Rly Congr Ass. Bull., 1899, 1648-54.)
Tests of the boiler of the Purdue locomotive, Trans. ASME, 1900-01, 22, 453-. Also Am. Engr Railroad J., 1901, 75, 28-30.
Recent progress in design of locomotive front ends. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci., 1903, 113-15.
Locomotive draft appliances: report on the American Engineer Tests," Am. Engr Railroad J., 1903, 77, 70-6, 82-3, 149-55, 162-4, 239-41, 302-4, 327-9.
Locomotive valves and valve gears, Proc. Southern South Western Rly Club, 1904, 10-
Superheated steam in locomotive service, J. Franklin Inst., September, 1905, 217-
Locomotive front ends, Proc. ARMMA, 1906, 38, 327-
High steam pressure in locomotive service, Proc. Western Rly Club, 1906, 149-56. (Abstracted Int. Rly Congr Ass. Bull., 1907, 438-44.) Also Publication No. 66 of the Carnegie Institution, Washington.
Locomotive performance under saturated and superheated steam,  Am. Engr Railroad J. , 1909, 83, 282-8.
The utilisation of fuel in locomotive practice, Bulletin No. 402 United States Geological Survey, Washington, 1909. Also Am. Engr Railroad J., 1910, 84, 23-8.
High steam pressure in locomotive service, Am. Engr Railroad J., 1907, 81, 13-16.

Bibliography of W. F. M. Goss, Purdue University, undated ca. 1928.

See: Trans. Newcomen Soc., 45, 105 (papers by Carling).

Duffy, M.C. Technomorphology and the Stephenson traction system. Trans. Newcomen Soc., 1982, 54,55-74. Disc.: 74-8.

Locomotive performance: the result of a series of researches conducted by the Engineering Laboratory of Purdue University. New York: Wiley, 1907. 439pp.
BLPC checked
Locomotive sparks, New York, 1902.

Goss's work was incorporated into Churchward's practice at Swindon, but appears to have been ignored by the LMS even after Stanier's appointment: there is no reference (in the index) to Goss in any of Cox's books. Chamber's awareness, or otherwise, requires further investigation. Certainly, LMS draughting of multi-cylinder locomotives appears to have been extremely hit and miss.

Snell (Britain's railways under steam): Beachcomber was a column in the Daily Express:

Until 1902 the theory of the action that took place in the chimney and smoke box was not understood, and since nobody knew how the mechanism worked, it was not possible to improve it. In that year Professor W.F.M. Goss published the results of his researches into the matter at the stationary testing plant he had installed at Purdue University, proving that the pumping action of the exhaust steam took place near the surface of the cone it formed on leaving the blastpipe nozzle, and depended on its mingling with and entraining the smoke box gases. The action could therefore be increased by enlarging the cone, while its efficiency (if not its effect) was reduced by shock losses if the blast was sharpened, since the gases moved at more widely differing speeds and mingled less.

Nobody took very much notice of all this. Locomotive men the world over are a rough, practical lot raised in a hard school with no time for abstruse ideas, and British and American ones are only slightly worse than all the others. The thought of an American academic carrying out delicate experiments on a he-man steam engine, in a university laboratory of all places, made them guffaw. It conjured up a vision of some figure like Beachcomber's immortal Dr Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht, the archetypal Absent Minded Professor, who might spend a month on anxious research into such questions as whether a man should wear his braces with the Y to the front or not. Out of curiosity, one or two used Goss's formulas to calculate the best shape of blastpipe and chimney; the result was exactly the same as the best that had been evolved after years of experience. This fitted the Strabismus picture too. So the report was placed in the Round File, and it was twenty years before anything else happened. Oddly enough, this was just the length of time needed for an industrious apprentice finding Goss in the waste-paper basket, and realizing as his elders had failed to that the moral was that two chimneys are better than one, to attain a position where he could put this into practice. Since two exhaust cones have a greater area than one, the resulting larger area of two blastpipe nozzles gave less back pressure for equal or greater draught.

George Alden I.

Born in 1843; died 1926. Educated at Harvard's Lawrence School of Science and taught mechanical engineering for twenty-eight years at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He was a New Englander, who grew up in Templeton, Massachusetts, and earned his money for college in the furniture factories of nearby Gardner. To quote one biographer, "serious himself, he expected everybody else to be, believing more in practice than in precept... ." As pioneer members of the faculty of the newly established WPI, George Alden and his colleague, Milton Higgins, achieved national recognition in the 1880s and 1890s for their skillful and compelling espousal of an engineering education that combined practice with theory. Their graduates, able to lead in the industrialization of America, were, in Alden's words, "entitled to be called gentlemen in the original and derivative sense of that word." Both Alden and Higgins were early examples of creative academic innovators whose energies took them beyond the campus into the competitive world of industry. In 1885 they joined with several Worcester businessmen in establishing the Norton Emery Wheel Company. Mr. Alden became treasurer and Mr. Higgins president. Not until 1896 would they devote full time to the Norton Company which grew by leaps and bounds through good times and bad. By then Alden had invented a dynamometer for measuring the power of all kinds of machines, the first hydraulic elevators had been invented and produced by him and Higgins, and he had established and directed the second hydraulic laboratory in the United States. And all this time the graduates of WPI remembered him as a fine but demanding teacher. After 1896, as the Norton Company prospered, Alden continued his interest in education that would help young people become effective contributors to society. Thus he became a trustee of WPI, a trustee of the newly formed Worcester Boys Trade School, and a leading member of the Worcester School Committee. As second president and later chairman of the board of the Norton Company, Mr. Alden initiated one of the first programs for helping employees to acquire further education.

Inventor of friction braking system asdopted by Goss at Purdue University for locomotive testing. Internet (WPI) and Tester Backtrack, 2013, 27, 612.