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Baldwin paint research

Discussion of specific prototype locomotives and other equipment of all gauges.

Baldwin paint research

Postby Randy Hees » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:56 pm

Jim Wilke and I spent the afternoon at Stanford with the Baldwin color and decoration book.
It was a good day.

Jim was working on information for the restoration of Glenbrook, the Carson Tahoe Lumber and Fluming narrow gauge 2-6-0 currently under restoration at NSRM.

The goal was finding evidence of Wine, Lake, and Baldwin Olive Green. Sonoma at CSRM wears their interpetation of Lake... Glenbrook was painted Wine, and recently, a sample of what is believed to be original paint was located on a cab support. We have seen what is believed to be original Baldwin Green on the dome cover for V&T 27...

Now, in the paint book, we believe we found the Rosetta Stone…

The book contains samples of Cabs, domes, cylinders, tanks (tender tanks, saddle tanks) each in the original color, with stripping, each numbered. The Baldwin style system has a table with numbered styles, each containing a cab, a tank, a wheel, and a dome… the assemble parts show a painter how to paint and stripe a locomotive. There are also Motor bodies (steam dummies) and headlights, not included in the table… The Motors are wonderful. There is even one inspection locomotive included.

We looked at tanks, from 1 to the end, assuming that they were in chronological order of design… but the base colors don’t correlate… It starts with Lake not wine… (there may be an example of wine further in, but is should be first.)

The headlights were an afterthought, so I have until now, not given them much time… But the headlights are the Rosetta stone… They included examples specifically called out such as Headlight 2 "Wine color and gold” or Headlight 7 “Lake and color” There are examples of Lake and Gold, Wine and Gold, Olive Green and color. On a single page we have examples of the three “base” colors used by Baldwin in the narrow gauge era… Jim had a Munsell book, I had my 19th century paint cards… notes were made.

Also… Other headlights held information… Headlight 18, Tuscan matches my 1878 Masury sample… Headlight 4, “Black no stripes” suggests that even the lack of striping is worth documenting… my contention is that even if a painter couldn’t read English, he could look at a picture of a black headlight with no striping and paint a headlight black (without striping)

More as I work through my notes….

Randy
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby r3feetr » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:04 am

This is great news! Thank you both for taking the time to decipher the book. Will you be producing a chart of paint colors and Munsell numbers? That would be extremely helpful.
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Andrew Brandon » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:49 am

Wonderful news! I look forward to seeing what you've dug up. Did the sample from Glenbrook come close to what you found in the book?
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Randy Hees » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:45 pm

We didn't have the Glenbrook paint sample at hand. It is in a lab in LA for chemical analysis...

We did have a full Munsell chip set, as well as a 1878 Masury, 1915 Valentines, and 1900 Detroit White lead paint catalogs with samples. We represented a bit of a challenge to the rules as followed by the Stanford Special collections... most people don't bring stuff like we did...

We found that Munsell has doesn't have quite the range to cover these colors. It helped to have two sets of eyes. We made notes like, a bit darker than... or similar to... One plan is to make a range of custom match cards with artist acrylic paint based on the notes, then take the match cards and see if any come closer.

If the acrylic paint match cards work, we will then compare them to as many "real world" examples as possible, then, when comfortable with the colors, we will likely make a limited number of sets of drift panels for use at various museums (and a set for ourselves)

Randy
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby James » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:21 am

Sometime during the 1890's, Baldwin appeared to change the formula of its green paint somewhat. Specification sheets from this period transition from "Olive Green" to "Dark Olive Green." I suppose it's possible this was a mere designation change, but that would be odd to say the least.

What's the full list of colors Baldwin used on its locomotives during the narrow gauge era (let's say 1870 through 1900)? I can think of the following:

Wine
Lake
Olive Green
Black
Tuscan Brown
Dark Olive Green?
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Andrew Brandon » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:42 pm

I've seen "Ivy Green" on various foreign spec sheets, some of David Fletcher's drawings note this as well.
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Randolph Ruiz » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:38 pm

Randy Hees wrote:We didn't have the Glenbrook paint sample at hand. It is in a lab in LA for chemical analysis...


One should not take the colors in this photo too seriously since it is just a snapshot taken indoors, but this is the sample Randy referred to on one of engine's cab brackets.
paint sample.jpg
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Randolph Ruiz » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:59 pm

I've been curious about visualizing some of these older paint styles. As a member of Orange Empire, I became specifically interested in trying to imagine how Nevada Central 2 would have appeared when new. While I was unable to find a builders photo of an 1881 Baldwin 36" 8-20D, I did find this standard gauge Oregon Railway & Navigation Co. mogul from '79 or '80 in the 1881 Baldwin Catalog at Archive.org. http://archive.org/details/illustratedcatal00baldrich

I know there are a handful of errors in this, but I think it gives a good idea of how the Baldwin Olive and American Iron looked.

Andrew Brandon has seen this and commented that the Green was too light, and perhaps it is, but the technique I am using allows me to adjust Hue and Saturation, but not Value. The brightness or darkness of the colors is directly linked to the grey tones of the original photo, which of course may not have accurately captured the luminance of the actual subject.

I'd be happy to hear your feedback.

Randy (other) Ruiz
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Brian Norden » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:26 am

Randy,

I would not trust a builder's photo for the depth or darkness of a color.

In the 20th Century the firms were known to apply a gray wash or even a special paint color to obtain contrast between components and make some better stand out. Then the wash was removed or the locomotive repainted; the wash or paint may have only been applied to one side of the locomotive.

It would not surprise me if this occurred during the 19th Century.
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Re: Baldwin paint research

Postby Randy Hees » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:05 am

Randy,

I like the rendition... it gives the feel of the generally dark loco with flashes of green, planished iron jacket with brass... There is a lot going on but its not a circus.

Randy...
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