Two members of a Union Pacific crew lubricating the side-rod bearings on an intermediate drive wheel of a 4-8-2 attached to the Overland Limited at Laramine, Wyoming. The worker on the left is feeding grease cartridges into the automatic grease gun and the worker on the right is holding more cartridges. The men wear caps; the one on the left wears bib overalls and a dark shirt and the one on the right wears coveralls.
Compressed air-actuated grease guns replaced the "mutton tallow smear" that originally lubricated the running parts of locomotives. On transcontinental runs, the service crew was still required to use their own hands to lubricate the moving parts, but now with grease cartridges, not with buckets of grease. The pictures captures this activity, repeated many thousands of times by crew members over their careers.
Pictures an alemite gun, a handful of cartridges, locomotive drive wheels, air cylinders, and rods.
Beebe managed to find bright light that illuminates the concentrated face of the crew member handling the alemite gun. He thus created a chiaroscuro effect with the mechanism of the locomotive in partial shadow. The vertical elements of the locomotive match the vertical posture of the workers, and the horizontal elements of the drive wheel match the raised horizontal planes of the workers' elbows and alemite gun. Beebe seldom photographed workers, but this is an effective effort.