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Catherine L. Gibbon: Improvements in Street Railway Construction, 1892

Serious Defects

According to the Gibbon Duplex Street Railway Tracks Catalogue No. 1, which can be viewed at right, none of the systems of railway track in use in the late 1800s were free from the "serious defect of "weak joints,"" despite the heaviness of the rails used in the construction of street railways. The Gibbon Double Girder Lap-Joint Track was invented to overcome these defective systems.

The Gibbon system saw an unreasonable number of metal parts assembled at each joint in other systems of the day, asserting that a well-known system pieced together no less than 28 separate pieces of metal at each joint and required 25 individual holes be made. The Gibbon Double Girder Lap-Joint Track boasted just six metal parts pieced at the semi-joints and eliminated the need for timber, spikes, bolts, and nuts entirely. Claiming that its construction cut down on the need for maintenance or repairs, the creators of the Gibbon system also marketed it as having a reasonable cost.

Throughout the Catalogue, the creators of the Gibbon system maintain that "The essence of good girder-rail construction is in lapping joints and doing away with "the splice bar fit.""