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Hulett Ore Unloader in 1:32th

Started by Bernhard, February 08, 2023, 08:20:58 AM

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Hello modeling friends

As promised, today I would like to start the report on my current project: a working Hulett ore loader in 1/32th scale.

Hulett 001.jpg
Hulett 002.jpg
(Fotos: Library of Congress)

The starting point for building a scale model is not too good.
The last two of these machines were dismantled on Whiskey Island in Cleveland in 2000 and have been quietly rusting away ever since. All the other machines were scrapped before that. Unfortunately, they were not documented in detail beforehand. Thus, an important testimony to technical history is about to be lost for good.
The Committee to Save Cleveland's Huletts has been trying for years to save the remaining machines. But it is more than uncertain whether they will be saved at all and in what form.

Hulett 003.jpg
(Foto: Conrail Photo Archive)

Hulett 004.JPG
(Foto: Goole Earth)


For measuring and documenting, the remains are of course not accessible to me from Switzerland.
However, I have found about 100 original plans of the manufacturer on the internet and other sources. But they date between 1901 and 1948, so they depict different machines and different technical designs. Moreover, there is no complete set of drawings of any of the assemblies.
I also found about 60 high-resolution digitised photos. Unfortunately, these photos were not taken with the eye of a model maker at that time. Nevertheless, some of them show interesting details.
Due to the documentation situation I decided to rebuild one of the machines from Whiskey Island, Cleveland.

Hulett 005.jpg
(Plan: Wellman Engineering Co.)

If any of you have further documentation on the machines, I would be very grateful if you would share it with me. However, I have already looked at and evaluated everything that can be found on the Internet.


The prototype

ManufacturerWellman Seaver Morgan Co.
LocationWhiskey Island, Cleveland
Year of construction1912
Bucket capacity17 tn
Lenght32.9 m / 108 ft.
Width5.8 m / 19 ft.
High (leg retracted)29.3 m / 96 ft.
WeightApprox. 500 t / 550 tn
Power supply250 volts DC
Drives power930 HP (8 motors)
Cycle time<60 s
Unloading capacity900 t/h / 1.000 tn/h

The operation of ore loaders is well illustrated in the following 4 graphs.
(Source: Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, delineated by Hardlines Design Company, 2000)

Hulett 006.jpg
Hulett 007.jpg
Hulett 008.jpg
Hulett 009.jpg

I will tell you more about the history and technology of the Huletts as the project progresses.



Good heavens Bernhard, you have quite a project ahead of you. It will be interesting to follow your progress and having you fill us in on your methods.  Best wishes!


After reading all of that, I have decided that if I ever wanted a model of a Hulett ore unloader I would ask you to design and build it! -- Russ


I'm sitting at the edge of my chair with a big bucket of popcorn.

Can't wait for the next update!
Regards, Hauk
"Yet for better or for worse we do love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love the colors and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them"  -Junichiro Tanizaki

Remembrance Of Trains Past

Ray Dunakin

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Hi Bernard.
What a great project have always loved the Hullet ore loaders,the operators ride must have been bifferent to say the least.
On U Tube there are some great clips on there operation.
Yes like the rest have got a big cold drink and some popcorn lined up.

Chuck Doan

"They're most important to me. Most important. All the little details." -Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt



Waouh ! Great project ahead. it's gonna be wonderful.


Thank you all for your enthusiastic and encouraging comments. Of course, this puts a little bit of pressure on me now!

The model

Here is the current state of the design.

Hulett 0010.jpg
Hulett 0011.jpg

Up to the height of the main girders, the 3D model is complete. Actually, now it would be the turn of the trolley. But I am still waiting for original plans, which are archived in the library of Bowling Green State University. The archivist has kindly agreed to digitise some of the plans for me.
In the meantime, I have therefore already started on the construction of the swalking beam, for which I have more documentation.


I build the model from bottom to top, i.e. the first assembly is the truck.

This original drawing is from a later machine, but shows the principle of the whole truck with the drive:

Hulett 0012.jpg
(Drawing: Wellman Engineering Co.)

  • The central drive motor mounted on top of the left side of the main girder.
  • The long drive shafts running along the main girder and then down the front and rear tower.
  • The short cardan shafts between the drive shafts and the trucks.
  • The driven and the non-driven trucks.

Two important changes have to be considered for Whiskey Island:
  • In the front and in the rear only the two outer trucks are driven.
  • In the front there are only four trucks.

A few snapshots of the scrap on Whiskey Island shed some more light on the darkness, ...

Hulett 0013.jpg
Hulett 0014.jpg
Hulett 0015.jpg
(Photos: cleveland.com)   


... and a still from a video.

Hulett 0016.jpg

This made it possible to model and draw the truck quite faithfully.

Hulett 0017.jpg


Bill Gill

Bernhard, This project is monumental! Just the research is huge.
The results will be fantastic.


As long as you are doing all the research, planning, design, and component fabrication for one ... why not build 12? -- ssuR