Ashton Valve Company

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The Ashton Valve company supplied safety valves, steam gauges,whistles, and other Railroad items for around 100 years. although they produced items for locomotive, stationary, and marine boilers, the back bone of the business was the railroads.
check out the history below and if you have any Ashton Valve stories,please contact me.


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The pop safety valve made the company's name and a lot of money! Here's some info on it.



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Thanks Bill. They did look a bit odd before! I've found it difficult to find any forums that deal with the nuts and bolts (valves and gauges) of the railroad industry. I know they are not as exciting as a locomotive, but they still have a story to tell.
Speaking of stories, when a train used to discharge steam at a station, the noise could be deafening. Solution? Muffle the safety valve.
All the Ashton gauges would be tested for accuracy by a few gauge testers. Below are a few of the testers the company offered.






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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
I took a patent law course in law school. The instructor had both engineering and law degrees. I did OK in the class, but concluded I do not have an "engineering brain" necessary to write or understand patents.

Are the instruments and devices in the photos in your private collection or on public exhibit somewhere?
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I wish I could say they were on display somewhere, but they are currently sitting in a couple of book cases in my house. I set up a table at a few steam related shows each year and I bring different pieces. The backgrounds of the actual pieces in the photos in the collection are all small posters I have ordered that I use on the display tables. I like the way the pieces look on the Ashton related backgrounds. I've been doing this for about 3 years and I have given talks at three local museums. I've met some wonderful and supportive people along the way who have given me encouragement and helped me find answers to the questions I have. It's been a lot of fun and I've learned so much about the company and my ancestors.
In 1892 the company purchased the Boston Steam Gauge company and started making gauges. Attached are a couple of lists that show the the manufacture date by serial number and the amount of gauges produced by year. And a mailer sent to all their customers announcing their entry into gauge making.
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The ideal alarm gauge was another practical device. If the boiler room mechanic on watch fell asleep and the pressure went too high, a loud alarm would go off, possibly saving another boiler explosion.
One of the products the company produced was the Gauge for the Mullens Paper Tester. The tester was introduced in 1887 by the B.F. Perkins company and is still available in different forms today. The idea is basically that pressure is applied to a piece of paper or textile material until the paper bursts. The gauge records what pressure was needed to burst the paper.


Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
In the late 60's-early 70's I worked summers in a paper mill in Lewiston ID. I may have seen one of these guages used to in the lab to test samples coming off the machine. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.