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Southern Pacific Fireman Filling the Tender (editor's title)

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Filling the tender
A fireman filling a tender with water, using a spout, and standing on the top of the tender. The Southern Pacific was using steam power when the picture was taken about 1938. Beebe took this at Lucin, Utah, where the Overland Limited was stopped for water.

Beebe, a journalist and socialite, popularized railroads, their romance, and railroad photography. Beebe's intense documentation of railroading extended to photos of workers engaging in routine activity. Water stops could occur as frequently as every 100 miles or so.

The image shows a Vanderbilt tender and water spout on a Southern Pacific Lines passenger train in 1938.

Beebe made this photograph from the ground, shooting upward to capture the fireman and spout silhouetted against the sky, creating an image that celebrates work and technology in heroic, dramatic, and romantic terms.
Source California State Railroad Museum
Coverage Spatial, Lucin, Utah; Temporal, c. 1938
Rights California State Railroad Museum
Date Created c1938
Resource Type
Extent Not available
Depicted Railroad
Location Lucin, Utah
Depicted Occupation
Image Type Industrial portrait
Train Type Passenger train
Creator Description Lucius Morris Beebe (1902-66) popularized railroading and its appeal beginning with his 1938 picture book "High Iron." He was a flamboyant writer, photographer, and socialite who ultimated published 27 books about railroads. He came from a prosperous family, was expelled from Yale for troublemaking, and was graduated from Harvard in 1926. He wrote for the "New York Herald Tribune," beginning in 1929, covering cafe society, a term he invented, and was featured on the cover of "Life" magazine in 1939 wearing top hat and tails. He fell in love with railroads and began documenting them in the 1930s. He moved in 1950 to Virginia City, Nevada, with Charles M. Clegg, his partner and collaborator. Clegg, too, was a photographer.
Collection Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg Collection
Image ID BC negative 3792
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