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Steel cars

Calumet & Arizona versions of compartment and division cars Bisbee, Az

Calumet & Arizona versions of compartment and division cars

Steel cars were introduced in in Bisbee soon after the mines converted to using rock drills. The early rock drills used conventional steel (integral)  this is where the bit end is a forged part of  the drill steel and not removable.  When the bit became dull the whole steel had to be replaced not just the bit like in the later years. This created the need to transport large quantities of drill steel from the drill sharpeners to the working places underground.

Compartment  cars

These cars were used only on the surface inside the blacksmith shop mostly for moving drill steel from the oil-quenching tanks to the forge. The compartment is rotatable on a turntable this allows each section to hold a different length steel for convenient sorting. The Copper Queen version allowed the compartment section to be removed from the trucks.  Compartment cars are usually referred to just as steel cars.

Division Car

Division cars are used to transport the drill steel from the blacksmith shop to the undergroundmines.   Division cars were more commonly known as steel cars or tool cars. The Copper Queen style has triangular shaped box mounted on trucks with steel rack on each end of the box. The manufacturer of the car is unknown.  This style fell into disuse after the Copper Queen and C&A merger. The merger changed the focus of mining towards the C & A mines, as the Copper Queen mines were nearly depleted by then. The track gauge in the C & A is 18” while Copper Queen was 20”. This difference made Copper Queen cars unusable in C & A mines.


The Calumet & Arizona version was made by the El Paso Foundry and machine Company. They come in two types one with the half the car with rack for drill steel and the other half for supplies. The other type is the tub is fully occupied with racks for drill steel. In the later years the car would be parked at a shaft station loaded with drill steel,  lyners (rock drills)   and stopers. Miners would pick up steel if they needed any or the tool nipper would take the steel and drills and deliver them to the work places. The C & A cars were used until underground mining ceased in Bisbee, their use lessened with the introduction of interchangeable bits, causing the amount of drill steel to be shipped underground to drop.  Melvin Elkins a tool nipper in the Cole mine remembers when the mine was closing in 1975 taking the manufactures tag off a tool car

Copper Queen Division car

Copper Queen division car

Copper Queen Compartment car

Copper Queen Compartment car

Copper Queen Divison car displayed at Queen mine tours

Copper Queen divison car

Steel ring used to tie off supplies when being transported

Calumet & Arizona divison car displayed at the Queen mine

C&A divison car  half rack version

Half rack inside  C&A Division car

Calumet and Arizona divison car

C & A divison car full steel rack version

Divison car located at Bisbee Blue Lavender pit view point

Divison car with steel rack removed located at the Lavender pit view point

El Paso Foundry & Machine Company

Manufactures tag on C & A divison car

Full steel rack version of C & A divison car

Divison car at the Junction Shaft Collar Bisbee, Arizona

Divison cars located at the junction shaft collar

Divison car parked at the Oliver shaft Bisbee, Arizona

C&A Division cars parked at the collar of the Oliver shaft

C & A Compartment Car located at the Queen mine tours

C&A Compartment car



Cochise review November 24, 1900

Henry Hernandez 2011, pers. comm., 2 March

Gilman George, Mining practices 1919, Engineering & Mining Journal pp94-97

Richard Graeme IV 2011, pers. comm., 10 March

Richard Graeme III  2011, pers. comm., 4 March

 Pete Oller 2010, pers. comm., 8 March

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