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Inventory of the Thomas Dowrick Collection, 1938-1950
MS 7  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Collection Description
  • Historical Background

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thomas Dowrick Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1950
    Collection number: MS 7
    Creator: Dowrick, Thomas
    Extent: 1 document box (5 folders)
    Repository: California State Railroad Museum Library
    Sacramento, California 95814
    Shelf location: Big Four Building or off-site storage. Please contact the Library in advance of your visit.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Gift of Mrs. Betty Kees and Mrs. Ruth Green, 1985

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Senior Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Thomas Dowrick Collection, MS 7, California State Railroad Museum Library, Sacramento, California.

    Collection Description

    The Thomas Dowrick Papers contain biographical materials, documents, including a diagram, pertaining to the whistle valve invented by Dowrick and Chase, their patent on the valve, and the marketing of the invention by Viloco. The papers also contain letters to and from Viloco concerning the whistle valve, and records of royalty payments to Dowrick and Chase.

    Historical Background

    Thomas Dowrick was born in England in 1890, and after serving an apprenticeship in a shipbuilding firm emigrated to the United States. In 1917 Dowrick went to work for the Southern Pacific at Sacramento as a machinist. He later worked for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, but returned to the Southern Pacific, eventually becoming a foreman at the Sacramento Shops.
    In 1938 Dowrick and James Forrest Chase invented and patented a locomotive whistle valve. Eventually the valve became used on Southern Pacific steam locomotives and was marketed by the Viloco Railway Equipment Company.
    Thomas Dowrick retired from the railroad in 1952 and died in 1958.