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American Locomotive Company (ALCO) Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MPB
Date: 30 Mar 1979

Biographical History

The American Locomotive Company was incorporated in 1901 by merging 7 small locomotive companies with the Schenectady Locomotive Engine Manufactory (incorprated 1848). At its height, ALCO had headquarters in New York City and a main plant in Schenectady, New York, with other plants in Auburn and Dunkirk, New York, and Latrobe, Pennsylvania. ALCO's Schenectady facilities had affiliations with General Electric Company there. In 1955, the company changed its name to Alco Products, Incorporated. In 1964, the Worthington Corporation acquired Alco and changed its name to Citadel Industries.

Alco's main products were steam locomotives, diesel-electric locomotives, diesel engines and generators, specialized forgings, high-quality steel, and armed tanks. Alco also made some short-lived ventures into automobiles and nuclear energy in the early days of those industries.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) Records comprise 7 series: General files, Financial material, Published material, Bound material, Miscellaneous, Display material, and Ledgers. Of special interest are the ventures Alco made in 1905-1913 during the early days of the automobile (see Box 30 and Ledgers), and in 1954-1962 into the fledgling field of nuclear energy (see Boxes 18-20, 32, and Oversize 12).

General files comprise material pertaining to advertising, deeds, designs, exhibits, finance, general, historical, international, locomotives, maps, news clippings, news releases, nuclear energy, ordnance, personnel, photographs, products, publicity reprints, special projects, speeches, taxes, and warehouses.

Financial material contains mostly tax and depreciation papers from 1901 through 1960.

In the Published material are Annual Reports from 1902 through 1964, and various forms of publicity, including press kits, promotional pamphlets, and periodicals.

Bound material comprises mostly technical and administrative manuals.

Miscellaneous material includes memorabilia, an index to Alco equipment in the field, two copies of an Alco products film, two phonodiscs, and two scrapbooks.

Display material contains designs, sketches and photographs.

More than 300 Ledgers comprise records of not only the American Locomotive Company, but also some smaller and earlier companies, which Alco acquired.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is largely in original order. For this reason, related material is not always located together. For example, publicity may be found in General files (news releases, news clippings, publicity reprints, speeches), Published material (press kits, promotional pamphlets), and Miscellaneous (scrapbooks). The researcher is advised to review the entire finding aid to ensure locating all relevant materials. Almost all of the ledgers are clearly labeled on the spine with the type of material (e.g. GENERAL LEDGER); a few also have the inclusive dates but in most cases determining the dates of a given volume requires opening it up and looking inside.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Access to audiovisual material requires advance notice to produce a use copy.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the Perry Egbert Papers and the Alco Collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Alco Products, Incorporated.
American Locomotive Automobile Company.
American Locomotive Company.
Schenectady Locomotive Engine Manufactory.
Worthington Corporation.


Diesel locomotives -- Design and construction.
Diesel locomotives -- Maintenance and repair -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Diesel motor.
Locomotive industry -- Management.
Locomotive industry -- United States.
Locomotive works -- United States.
Locomotives -- Design and construction.
Locomotives -- Maintenance and repair -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Manufacturers -- United States.
Nuclear energy.
Nuclear locomotives.
Tanks (Military science) -- Photographs.

Genres and Forms

35mm (photographic film size)
Annual reports.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Financial records.
Ledgers (account books)
Long-playing records.
Manuals (instructional materials)
Maps (documents)
News releases.
Personnel records.
Phonograph records.
Sound recordings.
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

American Locomotive Company (ALCO) Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Alco Products, Inc., 1968-1971.

Table of Contents

General files

Financial material

Published material

Bound materials


Display materials