Method of handling crossties



April 12, 1949. A. M. DEITERS 2,467,113 ' METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES Y 9 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 4, 1946 \INVEN TOR. M. DuTEns BY W ' ATITOHNPJS/s 4 131. v L F .37fl7rade arr b4 mwfll W E T m ww MN \S. w 9 RN h l l l l MM H Q wW mm -i: w NW M u N 3 Q H d N? mmvron. an. Dn'rms BY MA r M nnonuzvs April 12, 1949. A. M. DEITERS METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES Filed Nov. 4, 1946 April 12, 1949. A. M. DEITERS METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES Filed NOV. 4, 1946 9 Sheets-Sheet 3 ll TI'URNIQUS April 12, 1949. A. M.-DE|TERS METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES 9 Sheets-Sheet 4. Filed NOV. 4, 1946 INVENTOR. A. M. DEITERS By W A'ITORNEYJ' I April 12, 1949, Filed Nov. 4, 1946. METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES A. DEl TERS 9 Sheets-Shee t 5 INVENTOR. A :1 1251mm, HTTOEV April 12, 1949. A. M.'DEITERS 2,467,113 METHOD OF HANDLING CROSS'I'IES Filed Nov. 4, ,1946 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 2 T4 I i i'\ w? m w E w s z e I 1 e 1] L N i 1 ai 5 e N INVENTOR. 3 AMDEITL'RS ATTORNEYS April 1949a A. M. DEITERS 2,467,113 METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTI-ES 9 Sheets-Sheet '7 Filed Nov. 4, 1946 96 I 27 jg. BY AHDEITERS ,p I ATTORNEVS April 12, 1949. A. M. DEITERS METHOD OF HANDLING CROSSTIES Filed Nov. 4, 1946 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 nvwzzvroa A. M. 121:: TER5 BY; LE nwonutv April 12,1949. A.M.DEIT1=RS 2,467,113 1111111101101 HANDLING cnoss rms Filed Nov. 4, 1945 9 She ets-Sheet 9 1Z2 5/ A, .4"; v ATTORNEY Patented Apr. 12, 1949 2,467,113 METHOD or nannnmo onoss'rms August M. Delters, Atlanta, Ga... Southern Wood Preserving Company, assignor to Atlanta, Ga., a corporation of Georgia Application November 4, 1946, Serial No. 707,681 4 Claims. (Cl. 214-152) This invention relates to a method of handling crossties in air seasoning yards of wood preserving plants. Among other objects, it aims to provide a novel method of unloading green crossties which are usually delivered to wood preserving plants in railroad cars, pre-stacking them in the form of complete, portable ricks and temporarily storing the completed ricks at a central station or location in the yard, so that they can be transported to the points on the yard where they are to be deposited for air seasoning. Another aim is to provide a novel method. which eliminates the enormous amount of manual labor required according to the present methods for handling heavy crossties. D Still another aim is to provide a novel method of unloading green crossties, pre-arranging them in groups including layers and stringers, corresponding with the layers and stringers of the usual air seasoning ricks, and then assembling the pre-arranged layers with the stringers to form complete, portable ricks. A further aim is to provide a method of automatically and mechanically spacing a group of crossties in the form of a rick layer and conveying and arranging one or two of the crossties below the layer across its opposite ends to provide the necessary spacing stringers or risers employed in the formation of a rick. Also, the invention aims to provide a novel method of picking up successive, pre-arranged layers of crossties, together with a stringer or stringers and transferring them to form complete ricks. Furthermore, the invention aims to provide a novel method of transferring and temporarilystoring complete, portable ricks of crossties at a central station or location on the yard, awaiting transfer to points on the yard where the ricks are to be deposited for air seasoning. Other aims and advantages of the invention will appear in the specification, when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein: Fig. 1 is a plan view' showing apparatus for practicing the invention; Fig. 2 is a side elevation of a part of the unloading and conveyor equipment; Fig. 3 is a side elevation of the remainder of the apparatus shown in Fig. 1, including a spacing table for pre-arranging the crossties in groups and means to transfer them to form complete seasoning ricks; Fig. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale, showing transfer mechanism for delivering the crossties to a conveyor leading to a cut-oi! saw; Fig. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 5-5 of Fig. 4; Fig. 6 is an enlarged side elevation of spacing mechanism for the crossties; Fig. '1 is a sectional view taken on the line 1-1 of Fig. 6; Fig. 8 is a plan view of a part of the spacing table; Fig. 9 is a plan view of the spacing table showing a crosstie in the process of being transferred from the spacing table to form a stringer on one side of the table; I Fig. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevation of the apparatus shown in Fig. 9; Fig. 11 is a top plan view of a grapple for transferring groups of pre-arranged crossties from the spacing table to form a rick; Fig. 12 is an end elevation of the grapple shown in Fig. 11; Fig. 13 is a fragmentary sectional view, on an enlarged scale, of a portion of the grapple taken on the line I3-l3 in Fig. 11, parts being omitted; Fig. 14 is a side elevation of the grapple with the hooks open; and i Fig. 15 is an end elevation of the loaded grapple about to deposit a layer of crossties with a stringer in place on a rick. Referring to the drawings, the illustrated apparatus is shown as being designed to unload green crossties from railroad cars, automobile trucks, or the like, and is adapted to pre-arrange and stack them in the form of complete, portable ricks at a central location in the storage yard of a wood preserving plant. As explained in my copending application Serial Number 564,509, filed .November 21, 1944, the problem of handling green crossties in wood preserving plants has become a matter of vital importance in the industry because of the tremendous amount of arduous manual labor involved in handling them in accordance with the conventional method. Heretofore, it has been customary to unload green crossties from railroad ears, one at a time, and carry them manually to points in the yard and then form air seasoning ricks containing up to about one hundred twenty-seven crossties in each rick. The ricks are usually arranged in rows at right angles to spur tracks; so that, after they have been exposed to air driving for from, say four to fourteen months, the crossties can be loaded on tram cars and transported or conveyed to a processing mill for adzing and boring before being subjected to the usual preservative treatment. If adzing and boring are not required, the crossties are usually placed directly on ordinary treatment trams and conveyed to the treating cylinders. Railroad crossties are usually about seven by nine inches in cross section and eight and onehalf feet long. Green crossties weight from two hundred to tw'o hundred seventy-five pounds, each, and it has beenthe custom in the industry to pay laborers on a piece work basis covering each of the carrying operations to and from the stacks or ricks. Ordinary seasoning yards of large preserving plants are provided with railroad spur tracks spaced approximately one hundred twenty feet apart and the ricks are usually stacked on opposite sides of the spur tracks so that the distance to be traversed by the laborers is not more than about sixty feet. The loaded cars must be spotted on the tracks opposite the points where the ricks are to be built. The layout of a yard is such as to utilize a maximum amount of storage space on each side of the center line of the spur tracks. An ordinary rick of crossties usually comprises a bottom horizontal layer of spaced, parallel crossties supported at their opposite ends on two transverse crossties or stringers and, successive layers, including a stringer at alternate opposite ends, are stacked on the bottom layer, the.arrangement being such that the superposed layers are alternately and oppositely inclined longitudinally, zig-zag fashion, so that they will shed water and avoid surface contact between the crossties in adjacent layers. The spaces between the crossties of each layer and between successive layers provide for ample air circulation throughout each rick. The ricks must be well formed and of uniform size and shape so that they will conserve the storage space in the seasoning yard and facilitate uniform drying. The apparatus disclosed in the aforesaid co-' pending application is designed to unload green crossties and facilitate their formation into portable ricks, shown as being built on tram cars for subsequent transfer to locations in a storage yard where the ricks are to be deposited for air seasoning. The apparatus in that application includes conveyor means for delivering the crossties, one at a time, in parallel relation and in succession to a point above a tram car. The crossties are then adapted to be arranged manually by two workmen standing on an elevator platform to form a complete rick on the tram car. That method also involves considerable manual labor and the rate of unloading the crossties from a single car or vehicle is limited by the rate at which the workmen can arrange the crossties in the form of stringers and layers. Moreover, the method requires great skill on the part of the manual laborers to form vertical ricks of uniform size and shape to be picked up from the tram cars and transported by a special straddle truck. v One form of the apparatus for unloading and pre-stacking or pre-forming ricks of crossties in the storage yard of'a wood preserving plant, provided with railroad tracks, is best shown in Figs. 1, 2 and 3. It will be understood, however, that the apparatus can be used with equal facility in plants which employ auto trucks for delivering the green crossties and for transporting the completed ricks. In the illustrated example, the green crossties are shown as being unloaded from an ordinary box car It on a railroad track in or near the storageyard of a wood preserving plant. They are usually piled up in'layers in a box car and are preferably unloaded by employing a special type of crane like that shown in my Patent No. 2,382,299. It is shown as being arranged on one side of the railroad track and has a swinging arm ll adapted to be swung into position in the adjacent car door opening. It carries a horizontally movable boom l2 pivotally mounted on the arm I I so that it can be projected into either end of the box car and then out through the opposite door. as best shown in Figs. 1 and 2. The boom is adapted to be racked or projected and retracted by means of a motor l3 and it carries a hoisting cable l4 operated by a second motor is at the rear end of the boom. A multiple grapple I6, like that shown in my Patent 2,403,346, adapted to pick up a plurality of crossties by grasping them at their opposite ends, is carried by the hoisting cable and is designed to deposit the group of crossties on a slightly inclined roller or gravity conveyor l'l, it being understood that the grapple hooks are adapted to be automatically released from their grasping engagement with the group of crossties when they come to rest on the roller conveyor and automatically latched in open position. A platform It is provided adjacent to one side of the conveyor I! to afford ready access to the loaded grapple and discharged crossties, if required. The hooks are adapted to be unlatched by a workman to grasp a new load in the box car. For this purpose, the grapple has a hook releasing handle I 9 on one side (Fig. 2). The operation of the crane is remotely controlled by means of a portable switch (not shown), carried -by an operator in the car and the grapple is guided to engage the crossties by a workman stationed inside the car. When the loaded grapple is hoisted in the car, the boom is retracted and swung around to a position transversely of the car, so that it can be projected through the door to. a point above the roller conveyor I I. The boom may be guided automatically to its proper unloading position as it is projected, by any suitable guide means (not shown). The crane is adapted to unload the crossties from the box car as fast as the apparatus can arrange and stack them in the form of completed ricks. The groups of unloaded crossties roll down the gravity conveyor l1 and are carried on by an ordinary conveyor 20 having a pair of horizontal runs of sprocket chains driven by front sprockets 2| secured on a transverse shaft 22 journalled in horizontal supporting beams 23. The crossties are adapted to accumulate on the roller conveyor l1 and the first chain conveyor 20, awaiting transfer in their regular turn to a second chain conveyor 24 having spaced lugs or fingers 25 and guided in horizontal channels or guides 26 (Fig. 5) The second conveyor chains are trained over rear sprockets 21 and front sprockets 28, the rear sprockets being free to rotate on the shaft 22 and the front sprockets being secured on a transverse shaft 29. A motor 30 is shown as being connected to drive the rear conveyor shaft 22 by means of 7 speed reducing pulleys and a belt drive trained on the second chain conveyor 24, a pair of transfer cams 33 are fixed on or carried by the sprockets 21 and have cam surfaces engaging the 1 bottom of the crossties at their forward edges to lift them over the stop pins 3| (Figs. 4 and 5). The cam surfaces terminate in points 34 which engage the lower faces of the crossties behind their centers of gravity to pick up and positively transfer them over the stop pins. It will be understood thatone crosstie is thus transferred for-each revolution of the transfer cams 32 and the spacing of the lugs or fingers 25 on the chain conveyor 24 is such that the successively transferred crossties are engaged by successive fingers. Naturally, the speed of rotation of the transfer cams determines the rat at which the crossties are delivered. The second chain conveyor 24 carries the crossties in parallel relation past a circular saw 35, which is also driven by'a belt connected to the motor 30 to cut off-the crossties, which are too long, to their proper length. The cut off ends are conveniently deposited in an ordinary inclined chute 36, arranged below the saw 35 and leading to one side of the conveyor. ferred to the second conveyor, they are pushed endwise in the opposite direction into the path of saw by an adjustable pusher cam 38. Then the fingers 25 carry the crossties in succession past the saw and the ends of the long ones are cut off. Incidentally, the crossties are usually cut oil in the forest by means of ordinary crosscut saws and their length varies slightly, because they cannot easily be cut squarely by unskilled workmen. This accounts for som difference in the length of the crossties. After the crossties are cut to their proper length, they are transferred from the second conveyor 24 to a third conveyor 39, as best shown in Fig. 3, comprising a pair of sprocket chains trained over front sprockets 40 keyed on a shaft 4| adjacent to a horizontal spacing table, where the successive crossties are to be arranged in groups or layers with associated stringers. The crossties can accumulate on the third chain conveyor 39 awaiting their turn to be delivered to the spacing table and are adapted to be held back so that the-chains 39 run under them while a pre-arranged group is being picked up from the spacing table. In this example, the spacing table is shown as including a pair of horizontal channel beams 42 (Fig. '7) having upper channel guides 43 for conveyor chains 44 trained over front and rear sprockets 45 and 46 at the forward and rear ends of the beams. The front sprockets 45 are arranged on a transverse shaft 41 which 'is conveniently driven by a suitable motor 48 having reduction gearing (not shown) arranged under the spacing table. The rear sprockets 45 are free to rotate on the shaft 4| and the motor 48 is also connected by a chain and sprocket to drive the shaft 4| and the conveyors 39 and 24 (Figs. 3 and 9). The conveyor chains 44 on the spacing table are driven at a much greater speed than the conveyor chains 39, so that the first crosstie in each new group will be conveyed well ahead of the one behind it, as clearly shown in Fig. 10. Mechanically operated stop fingers 49, later to be described, act as barriers for the accumulated crossties on the third chain conveyor 39. when a layer with its stringer or stringers is removed from the table, the stop fingers 49 are retracted and permit the accumulated crossties to be transferred in succession to the spacing table in order to form another group. The front crosstie, shown in Fig. 10, is ready to be transferred to provide a stringer at one or the other end of a layer to be formed on the table. For that purpose, wide chain conveyors 50 are arranged on opposite sides of the spacing table with their upper runs below the level of the upper runs of the conveyor chains 44. They are trained over front and rear drums or large sprockets 5| and 52 and are driven in the opposite direction from the upper conveyor chains 44 through suitable reversing gearing 53 connected to the shaft 4| carrying the rear sprockets 46 of the chains 44. The stringer. chains 50 are preferably driven at a much slower speed than the conveyor chains 44. Referring again to Fig. 10, the front crosstie on the spacing table is on the way to form a stringer. It is adapted to run off the conveyor chains 44 onto a pair of horizontal, forwardly converging, cylindrical rollers 54 and 55 shown as being mounted in upstanding-bearin rackets slightly below the level of the chains 44. The arrangement of these rollers is such that the crosstie is practically balanced on them as it leaves the chain conveyors and a workman stationed on a platform 56, grasps the adjacent end of the crosstie and tilts it over toward the opposite side'of the spacing table, at the same time pushing it endwise over the roller 54, so that it will slide down onto the forwardly extending upper run of the stringer conveyor 50. Then the workman pushes the grasped end of the crosstie forwardly and to his right, as indicated by the dotted lines, so that it will ride on one of a pair of forwardly and downwardly inclined and diverging roller or gravity conveyors 51. Meanwhile, that portion of the crosstie on the forward portion of the conveyor 50 will have been conveyed rearwardly by means of widely spaced, upstanding legs 58 on the outer edge of the chain and the released end of the crosstie swings around to a position more nearly aligned with the stringer conveyor chain. When the crosstie is first pushed across the front end of the stringer'chain it is prevented from falling off its forward end by means of an upstanding post or stop member 59. Pivot posts 50 are also arranged adjacent to the forward ends of the table conveyor chains 44, so that, as the stringer chain continues its movethe trailing end portion is arrested by the post 59 and prevented from falling off the conveyor. Also'the overhanging end of the crosstie is shown as engaging a curved guide plate 6|, which serves as a stop for a released stringer and then guides it onto the upper run of the stringer chain and the stringer tie finally comes to rest against a stop member 62 at the rear end of the upper run of the stringer chain. Then the stringer chain continues to run under the arrested stringer. It will be understood that a similar operation is performed when it is desired to convey a stringer crosstie to the stringer conveyor chain 50 on the operators side of the spacing table. In that case, the operator will tilt the end, nearest to him, downwardly, while the crosstie is rolled downwardly on the roller 55 and then shifted across the gravity conveyor 51 on that side of the table. 7 Incidentally, the operator can help to guide the grasped end of the crosstie onto the upper-run of the stringer conveyor 50 while the crosstie is moving rearwardly. The cam guiding member 63 on the operator's side of the machine is therefore shorter than the cam guide plate I. This leaves ample room for the operators to work on the platform '56. a It will be understood that two stringer crossties are arranged on the stringer'conveyors when the first layer of a rick is formed on the spacing table. Thereafter, and during the formation-of successive layers, the stringer crossties are fed onto the stringer conveyors alternately on oppo-. successive site sides of the table, one for each layer. It will be readily understood that the workman can quickly dispose of the crossties whichform the stringers. Then, he watches'the many pairs of spacing fingers as there are cross-' ties required to form a layer. In this instance eight pairs of such fingers are shown to provide for making standard rick layers. The space between the fingers in their raisedposition is suchas to accommodate a crosstie and allow for the necessary air sp'acevbetween it andthe nextad- Jacent one. All of the fingersare normally parallel with each'other and fall by gravity to their inactive positions against stop pins 86; on the beams 42. They are adapted to be raised one at a time and in succession to their active positions to arrest the successive crossties on the table. ' The first pair of fingers 64 at'the front end of the table; as shown at the right in Fig. .6, is adapted to be manually raised to an initially active'position with theupper ends slightly above 7 the level Of the conveyor chains 44. For this purpose-.the lower free end of each of these fingers is conveniently connected by a link '61 to a crank ,shaft' 88 operated by a foot treadle 69 arranged cn-thejplatform 56 and adapted to be depressed by the operator after he has disposed of the required stringers. The arrangement'is such'that the-first crosstie strikes the partially lifted front fingers, shown in the intermediate dotted position a, pushes them forwardly to the second dotted position b, where they are arrested by suitable stop pins 10 projecting inwardly from the. channel beams 42. Now, the series of fingers are so connected as to be lifted 'or raised successively rear links 12 only when the fingers are initially lifted to theiractive positions a. Then, further forward movement imparted to the uplifted fingersby the crossties raises the successive fingers to their'active positions. The arrangement is the same as if the pivot pins between the links 12 and the lower ends of the successive fingers were extended into the path of the depending I links 'II to kick them rearwardly and the successive fingers upwardly to their intermediate active positions. The rear fingers, shown at the left endof Fig. 6; are shown as being connected to project the stop fingers 49, previously described, into the path of the oncoming crossties as soon as the last of a layer of crossties has been fed onto the table and pushed the last pair of fingers 64 to their uppermost position b. While this may be accomplished by connecting links, the stop fingers 49 are shown as being pivoted at their lower ends while they rest in a forwardly inclinedposition with, their upper ends normally below the level of the conveyor chains 44. A pair of tog le links 19 and 14 are shown as being connected to a pivot-pin 15 intermediate the ends of the links 49, the lower link 14 being pivoted to a stationary pivot pin Hi. The intermediate pivot pin 11 between the toggle links is connected by means ofa chain or other pull element I8 to a pivot pin 19 on each of the last fingers 64 above their pivot pins 65. The construction and arrangement of the toggle links is such that when the last pair of fingers 64 is raised to its final position -b the toggle links will be nearly straight- -ened'out,' stiff-leg fashion, andwill swing and raise the stop. fingers 49 to their vertical positions to act as barriers for the oncoming crossties. The toggle links are prevented from swinging beyond their stiff-leg position by means of a stop pin 90 in the path of the links 13. When this-happens a complete layer of crossties with a stringer or stringers is ready to be removed from the spacing table and deposited on a tram car. As soon as the pre-arranged group of crossties is lifted to clear the fingers 64, the stops 49 will fall by gravity to their normal inactive positions; asshown in full lines in Fig. 6. The pre-arranged group of crossties must be picked up and transferred, while enough crossties are approaching theospacing table to form the next group; In this example, all of the crosstiesin-the preformed' group, are picked up, as a'unit, by means of .a special hoistingv rapple 8| embodying some of the principal features of thegrap'ple shown in my Patent No. 2,403,346. Itxis adapted to be raised and lowered by means into the path of th oncoming crossties. For this purpose, a series of depending short links 1| arev loosely pivoted on thepivot bolts 65. Their lower I ends are pivotally connected to the lower ends of the succeeding links 64 by means of links 12. The links H are arranged on alternate, op- posite sides of the successive fingers 64, so that they are in different planes; while the links 12 are arranged on alternate. opposites'ides oft-the v successive fingers and the depending links 1],- so that each of the successive fingers: and the; successive links 12 lie in the same-plane, and the depending ends of the fingers will strike the'lowermost ends of the links 12 and kickthem forwardly in succession to raise the successive pairs of fingers into their initial active positions, cor 83, which also transfersthe load to the rickforming station above a tram car 84 on a spur track 95 leading to the storage yard, 'He'rein, the grapple is-shown as comprising a generally rectangular'frame having end frame members orybeams 96 and a pair of parallel grappleshafts "at its opposite sides carrying pivotedgrab-hooksla like those shown in the aforesaid patent. The hooks are so spaced as to engage the opposite ends of the spaced crossties on the'spacing or grouping table. To prevent the rouped crossties from rotating on their longitudinal axes, the hooks are shown as having pairs ,of spaced barbs 89. All of the hooks are adapted to be raised and opened by means of pivoted bail members 99 which engage and ride on the surresponding with the position act; the iirstpair of fingers. In other words,'th ef1ower ends .of the successive fingers engage the next adjacent face ofthe'crossties when the grapple is lowered on themandi the balls carry pivoted latches 9| engaging the hubs of the hooks to hold them open. The latches are adapted to be released manually by means of operating handles 92 extending on opposite sides of the frame and connected to crank arms on a spring urged shaft 93 carrying cranks 94 and links pivotally connected to the latches on opposite sides. This arrangement is somewhat similar to that shown in the aforesaid patent. In order to pick up stringer crossties with a layers of spaced ones, the grapple is also shown as having special stringer hooks 96 at its opposite ends andpivoted on its opposite sides to swing vertically at right angles to the other hooks. The stringer hooks are pivoted to the frame above the level of the side hooks 88. They are shown as being L-shaped, having horizontal arms 91 carrying stirrups 98 resting on the arms of the hooks 88, so that the side hooks willswing them to open position and all of the hooks will be operated simultaneously. The grapple is here shown as having rigid hoisting frame members 99 near the opposite ends connected to slotted plates I carrying a shiftable lifting bar IOI, also mounted in elongated slots I02 in pivoted upstanding shifting arms I03. The lifting bar extends beyond the two notched plates and is connected by links to two hoisting blocks I04 carried by cables I05 connected to the monorail carriage 82 and wound upon an ordinary winding drum on the carriage. The two plates I00 have central notches I06 and side notches I01 and I08. The upper ends of the arms I03 are bridged by a crossbar I09 to which is connected a pair of tension springs IIO normally to shift the lifting bar IOI to its central position into vertical alignment with the notches I06. When the cables are paid off, the bar will fall by gravity into central lower notches III in the plates I00. This happens when a load of crossties is deposited on the rick R. and, when tension is again applied to the cables by the hoist, the liftin bar will rise vertically to engage the central upper notch I06 to pick up the grapple and keep it balanced in its horizontal position. The side notches are so spaced that they overlie the center of gravity of the grapple, with a stringer suspended on either side, thereby making it possible to balance the load and prevent it from tilting sidewise. In order to shift the bar IIII, when the grapple is lowered upon a layer of crossties on the spacing table, the crossbar I09 is shown as carrying a pair of handles I I2 extending on opposite sides of the grapple to enable the operator to shift both of the arms carrying the. bar IOI into one or the other of the end notches I01 or I08. The operator will hold the handle with the bar thus shifted until hoisting tension is again applied. It will be understood that when a layer of crossties with two stringers is picked up, the lifting bar is not shifted from its central position. In Figure 15, the grapple is shown as carrying a layer of crossties with a stringer on the left-hand side and the lifting bar IOI has been shifted to the left-hand notches I08, so that the grapple is balanced in its horizontal position. The hoisting carriage 82 is adapted to be stopped in the proper position to lower the grapple over a layer of spaced crossties on the spacing table by means of an ordinary limit switch H3. The carriage is also shown as having guiding horns I I4 at opposite ends to receive the loaded grapple in its lifted position and prevent it from swinging while the hoisting carriage is moved from one position to another. It will be understood that the grapple can be guided to its lowered position by suitable guides (not shown). However, this can be accomplished by the operator, who can grasp one of the operating handles. There is a slight tendency for the grapple to swing endwise as it is lowered. When the loaded grapple is hoisted and conveyed to a position over the tram car to form the rick R, it is stopped automatically in its proper position by means of an ordinary limitswitch I I5. To guide the layer of crossties to its proper position on the rick, there is shown an elevator platform II6 surrounding the rick and conveniently operated by a motor III driving a .drum II8 carrying cables II9 connected to the four corners of the platform. The platform is guided by the supporting beams I20 for the monorail structure. The platform is shown as carrying upstanding, guiding horns I2I curved mwardly at their upper ends to provide cam guides ;I22' for the grapple as it is lowered to the loaddelivering position. In this instance, the grapple shafts '81 are shown as projecting beyond the end frame members 86 and they carry guide rollers I23 adapted to engage the cam guides. The upper ends of the horns are also shown as being bevelled to guide the grapple into the space between the pairs of guide horns. The elevator platform also provides a cat-walk to permit an operator to climb upon it and rearrange any misplaced crossties deposited on the rick. It is limited in its movement by upper and lower limit-switches I24. When the rick is finished, it will be understood that the elevator platform is lifted above the level of the completed rick to permit the loaded tram car to be moved out of its position and a new one spotted to be loaded. Then the elevator platform is lowered to about the level of-the platform of the tram car. To control the operation of the chain conveyors, the grapple hoist and the elevator platform around the rick, there is shown a single switch control box I25, conveniently arranged near the forward end of the spacing table on one side, where a control operator can watch the operation of 'all of the mechanism. The conveyors control the feeding movement of the crossties to the spacing table in accordance with the rate of hoisting and transferring them to pro-stack the ricks and the operator can stop the operation of any of the apparatus to permit repairs or shifting any misplaced crossties. In order to store a plurality of the completed portable ricks temporarily at the unloading station, before they are transferred to points in the air seasoning yard, the loaded tram cars are adapted to be transferred to a plurality of temporary storage spur tracks I26 adjacent to the unloading station. For this purpose, a track I2'I below the level of and at right anglesto the track carries an ordinary fiat car I28 having a platform with a section of track on it to match the rails of the track 85. A motor operated winch I29 is shown as being employed for shifting the tram cars and fiat car by means of a cable I30 and a series of horizontal sheaves I3 I. An operator can train the cable around appropriate sheaves and pull or transfer the tram cars and the tram carrier car in any desireddirection, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art, it being only necessary to hitch the cable to a portion of the tram car and shift it in the desired direction. In Fig. 1,.the cable is shown as being hitched to the transfer carriage or flat car I28 carrying a loaded rick to the proper point so that the tram car the side opposite from the storage spur tracks I26. It will be understood that there may not be enough crossties of one species of wood to form a number of complete ricks. If a rick is not complete when the railroad car is empty, the partially loaded tram car can easily be shifted to one of the temporary storage tracks I32 and there await the arrival of another railroad carcontaining crossties of the same species of wood. Then the partial rick will be returned to rick forming station and the rick will be completed. Reference is here made to the method of transferring completed ricks and depositing them in a seasoning yard, disclosed in my aforesaid copending application, Serial No. 564,509. It will be understood that a yard locomotive will pick up a train load of tram cars stored on the temporary storage tracks I26 and convey them to points on the yard where they are picked up from the tram cars by means of a special straddle truck and deposited on opposite sides of the spur tracks in rows of stacks, as fully described in said application. From the foregoing description, it will be noted that the invention eliminates all of the arduous manual labor involved in handling crossties and greatly increases the rate of unloading and prestacking them for transfer to a seasoning yard. The apparatus can be housed to enable the operators to work during inclement weather. The pre-iormed ricks are made of uniform size and shape and can easily be transferred and deposited on the seasoning yard. Obviously, the invention is not restricted to the particular embodiment thereof, described. What is claimed is: 1. In a method of handling green crossties at away herein shown and 12 an unloading station in a seasoning yard, the steps which comprise delivering unloaded ties to a rick-forming station; successively arranging roups of the delivered ties into horizontal rick layers, each layer being composed of a plurality of spaced parallel ties and a stringer tie positioned below and across at least one end of the layer of parallel ties; successively transferring each formed layer with its stringer tie as a unit, without disturbing the arrangement of the ties therein; and depositing the layers horizontally oimleI upon another to form a built up seasoning r c 2. The method, as set forth in claim 1, further characterized by cutting the ties to substantially the same length in transit from the unloading station to the rick-forming station. 3. The method, as set forth in claim 1, further characterized by'spacing the groups of ties in each layer substantially uniformly; placing a pair of stringer ties across the opposite ends of the ties constituting the first ricklayer; and then placing single stringer ties across alternate ends of the successive rick layers. 4. The method, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the successive rick layers are deposited on a portable support whereby the completed ricks may be moved away, as formed. AUGUST M. DEITERS. REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent; - UNITED STATES PATENTS Deiters July 2, 1946



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