Tampa Streetcar Fest 2004 - Birney # 163 Craftsmanship - Page 10


Among the most famous of the presumably standardized cars was the Birney.  The Birney can best be described as a single-truck, lightweight, safety car--that is, a car equipped with safety devices.  THE BIRNEY CAR by Harold E. Cox,  http://www.telcen.com/streetcars/  


A "truck" is a wheel assembly; larger cars use "double truck" design with eight wheels, 4 located at each end of the car.  The Birney has 4 wheels, with all sets of wheels mounted on one truck in the center of the car.




Seat restoration was financed by donations of $250 per seat.  Contributors were honored by a brass plate with their names, mounted under the window by their seat.





The seats are made from cherry wood.









The hardware that holds up the seat back is designed to allow the seat back to be moved from leading edge of the seat to the trailing edge.  This for the purpose of allowing passengers to always face their direction of travel after the car has reached the end of the line and reverses direction on the same track.






Photo at left demonstrates the movement of the seat back from edge to edge.


























Advertisements from days gone by adorn the Birney.



Leather straps provide stability for standing room only passengers.










What makes it a safety car?  All the controls can be operated by one person, the driver, from one location.  


The vertical handle at the upper left makes the car go, the horizontal silver handle on the right makes the car stop.  The red handle?  Not sure, possibly operates the doors or parking brake.  One button on the floor is the trolley bell.













Read about the St. Louis Car Company that originally built this particular Birney.











These controls are located above left to the driver.




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Click to enlarge controls




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