Passenger engine & tender built by the New Castle Manufacturing
W. H. Dobb, Master Machinist.
Diam. of cyl. 15"
& 20" stroke.
Drivers 5.6" diam.
Boiler containing 109
tubes 10'8" long & 2 outside diam.
New Castle Manufacturing Company/Hicks Engine
The New Castle
and Frenchtown Railroad's original engine was manufactured in England in
1832. Not much later, a factory was established at the
intersection of South Street and the railroad for producing
engines. Eleven locomotives were made by 1840; more were
made into the 1850's.
The picture above
is from a Pictorial
History of The Locomotive (1899) of a locomotive built
for the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Wilmington RR, a successor to
the NC-F RR and eventually incorporated into the Penn. RR
1856 Beer's Atlas (B)
1888 Scharf's History of Delaware (D)
As described in the
display at the museum,
the Memnon is one of the
earliest surviving American freight engines. Bought in 1848 by the B&O because of its power to haul coal
in western Maryland and West Virginia, the Memnon was pressed into service during
the civil war to haul
troops and supplies for the Union war effort.
According to Scharf
The New Castle Manufacturing Company was incorporated January 25, 1833, for
the manufacture of cotton, woolen and metal goods, by Thomas Janvier, James
Couper, Jr., James Rogers, James Smith and Charles I. du Pont.
In 1834 a foundry was built and shops
erected to make locomotives. The shops were a long time in charge of Wm. H.
Dobbs, and locomotives for use on the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad were
built there. Andrew C. Gray was one of the most active of the company.
Subsequently the Hicks Engine Company occupied these shops, which was
afterwards used by the Morris-Tasker Iron Works.
According to Connie Cooper (1983)
New Castle & Frenchtown had
facilities for repairing its rolling stock and also the good fortune to hire
an extremely talented engineer in 1835. Five were completed in the
railroad's shop in 1834 and 1835. Meanwhile, a group of active citizens
successfullyi petitioned the legislature to charter an enterprise ,
imaginatively called the New Castle Manufacturing Company, in January
1833. Neither petition nor charter mentions railroad equipment, but it
must have been in the men's minds. ... In 1836, it produced eight
engines, and one each in 1838, 1839 and 1840. ... The firm continued to
produce into the late 1850's [see picture above]. Its records do not
survive, a great loss for both New Castle and the history of American
(Ph.D. thesis, U. Delaware, 1983, p161, A Town Among Cities, New Castle,