Railroad Tie and Spike

Item Description

Railroad tie with spike from abandoned mine-railroad built by Thomas Edison in northern New Jersey. Railroads consumed huge amounts of timber for cross ties. Every mile required more than 2,500 ties, and in 1900 ties needed replacement every five to seven years. One historian has said, “Just replacing ties on a sustained basis required 15 to 20 million acres of forest land in 1900.”

Courtesy of Dan Richter, Durham, NC