Sunday, January 20, 2013


Although I was born in Connecticut, and spent my entire childhood in New York, I've lived in New Jersey since I started college at Rutgers, almost three decades ago.  New Jersey is home, and nothing is more pleasant than a day spent exploring it's by-ways and highways.   Many I've traveled before, some not, but there are always new or missed things to see, and also revisiting places from the past.   The impetus, or rather excuse, usually has to do with food, shopping, or taking photos of trains and/or industries ("train shit" as my wife generalizes it)

A trip this weekend began with mentions of cravings for Thomas Sweet and Fat Cats.   Both located in New Brunswick, the former is a homemade ice cream store and the latter, a "Grease Truck" that hasn't moved from it's parking spot  in the past 15 years or so (not even sure it has wheels anymore).  I'm not even sure the name of the truck - the Fat Cats are a famous sandwich they sell.  There are actually at least thirty or more versions of the Fat Cat, and the selections are constantly growing.   The original Fat Cat is two cheeseburgers in a hoagie roll (sub, grinder, or wedge for other jurisdictions), with lettuce, french fries (in the roll), and ketchup.  It is wrapped in waxed paper and inserted into a tight fitting brown bag - current price $6.   A complete meal that can be eaten while riding your bike, running to class, in class, on a campus bus,....etc.. (I've done all)   Open virtually 24 hours, there will be a long line of partied out folks at three or four in the morning on a Thursday night.  (Thursday night is the party night at Rutgers, since it's a state school and the state is relatively small, and friday classes are avoided at all costs - a large percentage of the students go home for the weekend)     This visit,  Glori had a Chicken Fat Cat - grilled chicken, french fries, mozzarella sticks, and mayo - I had a Fat Elvis - gyro meat, lettuce, mozzarella sticks, french fries, white yogurt sauce, and hot sauce.    Anyway, two places to check out if you are ever in that area (exit 9 on the Turnpike), but probably don't eat twelve hours before or after.

New Brunswick is about an hour away by the Turnpike, but we usually choose to spend a little more time and take side roads there, the Roads of Home, or previous Homes as was the case today.  We went past our first apartment in Princeton, one of my college apartments in North Brunswick, and an old haunt in Cranbury (yes that is the correct spelling),  the Cranbury Book Worm.   It's neat to walk into a store that you haven't been to in 20 years and nothing has changed.   The same was true with a stop on our return trip, The Model Railroad Shop in Piscataway, NJ. (although it's been far far less than 20 years since my last visit there)   The Model Railroad Shop is the same as it was when I used to walk or ride my bike a good half dozen miles to by a $4 Athearn box car, while at Rutgers.    I guess in both cases, not changing has served them well - The Book Worm has been there since 1974 and the Model Railroad Shop, since 1933 - yes that last one is correct - continuously operated since then.
A Koppers By-Product Coke installation.  A nice size for modeling, but also, something I haven't seen before - two gas collecting mains on top of the battery.  Not sure why exactly.   Also, it looks like they use a bridge crane to tend their coal piles
The goodies - At the Book Worm, amongst several books, I picked up a copy of The Elements of Ferrous Metallurgy (1938) by Rosenholtz and Oesterle .    It had some interesting photos, some of those I'm posting here, and overall it gave some excellent descriptions of iron and steel making processes.   The process information was better organized and stated simpler that what I've found in the Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel.    It was a day of books and I added another Morning Sun Book to my shelves - years back I swore I would never pay $50 for one of these, but then again I said the same thing about a $30 HO freight car.   I also bough a few Tichy parts, one that I haven't seen before, that I guess maybe is new - rivet plates.  
Some things to note - the steel framework structure alongside the cast houses, and the taller structure adjoining the hoist houses - a counterweight? 
This photo is interesting in that I can't recall a depiction of this action (pouring from a torpedo car to a ladle) anywhere online or in books

A very excellent day all in all.

You wouldn't think you needed to wear a tie working in a steel mill


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