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American Railway Engineering Association's Specifications for Soft-Steel Track Spikes. Original document, 1926, revised last in 1968

Courtesy of ThomasPowers from a post back in January.

Page 5-2-2 Section 11. Marking. A letter or brand indicating the manufacturer shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added.

Page 5-2-3: Specifications for high carbon steel track spikes 1968. Carbon not greater than 0.30%, nor greater than 0.20% c
opper. Page 5-2-4. Section 6a. Bending properties: The body of a full size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 120 degrees around a pin, the diameter of which is not greater than the thickness of the spike without cracking on the outside portion of the bent portion.

Page 5-2-5 Section 11. Marking: A letter or brand indicating manufacturer and also the letters "HC" indicating high carbon, shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added."

Here

-Aaron @ the SCF

P.S. I know, that still doesn't answer the MC question.... :D

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I'd say according to this specification, it's a manufacturer's mark.

Page 5-2-5 Section 11. Marking: A letter or brand indicating manufacturer and also the letters "HC" indicating high carbon, shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added."

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  • 3 months later...

Damascus Mike, I see 2 posts stating spec's and you post a wild guess? how is that going to help?

If you would spend as much time reading post here as you do making so many yourself, you might learn something. Please stop posting gibberish, and read a few of the existing posts, you will be surprised what is listed here.

Edited by steve sells
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A wild guess can be anything. An educated guess is the best estimate derived from the facts and knowledge you have at the time. Once you have the facts, and knowledge on the subject your answer is no longer a guess, but a distillation of your research into a working solution.

IForgeIron is all about good information. In blacksmithing there are many different ways to do something, all of them correct as long as the final results you wanted are achieved. Different people have different stock and different tools available, and due to their different life experiences and training, approach problems differently. It is what makes the craft so wonderful, there is no right way to get the job done.

We are not picking on Damascus Mike. His is a valued member of IForgeIron and his input is welcome. In this case just 2 posts earlier, sandy creek forge stated

American Railway Engineering Association's Specifications for Soft-Steel Track Spikes. Original document, 1926, revised last in 1968. Courtesy of Thomas Powers from a post back in January.
This came with reverences to both the original source for his information and credit to the original poster to IForgeIron, both of which can be looked up and reviewed to get the full article.

Sometimes the original source is a person who has spent years of personal research, along with trial and error testing, working with and on the subject. They are the experts on the subject.

IF a reference was given to support his *wild guess* we could have gone to that reference, and reviewed it to get more details. It may or may not have agreed with the original reference, but it would add to the information on the subject.

A *wild guess* sometimes results in misinformation, or misdirection from the facts, which then gets repeated, disbursed, repeated again until people hear it so much and so often that it MUST be factual. It is the stuff that makes urban legends. (And yes we try to stop those when we can by providing the proper information in the next post on the subject.)

IForgeIron is all about good information. We need these references to support the information provided so that those reading the material can either take it at face value, knowing the source, or use those references as a starting point for more in depth research into the subject.
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I'll give it a wild guess.... by purchasing items from Mcmaster Carr - I know they are a supplier and re-seller of items, my guess is that they are not in the RR business enough to have custom stamped spikes with their initials on them, there for "MC" would stand for something more relevent to the spike itself. This is an example of a guess that is basically derived from some experience of doing business - not just a outright wild guess as there is a reason for my thinking. - JK

Also I don't believe anyone is triing to run anyone away from IFI.

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funny how someone would think that, when as staff we can just remove a problem person.

Mods are servants to IFI not rulers, but we have a job to keep information flowing smoothly. When a person asks questions they have no idea if a responder is an experienced smith, or a person just posting to see their own names. So we try to explain to them how to post here, when they don't listen, or read anything for themselves, then we have have to use other methods to resolve problems. Not all members are privy to all the issues here, so its understandable when someone misunderstands.

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The author of the web page I linked to states that the $ symbol on his spikes (also with MC) is the makers mark of 'Gerdau Ameristeel' - Im my opinion this rules out MC being a makers mark. He states MC means Medium Carbon.

We dont even have railroads in the UK so I have no personal knolledge of this - just pointing out what I have read on the net.

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post 1
there are some members that just do there best to chase members away from iforge iron why is that, do you think that this site is only for you the man said it was a wild guess just leave it at that
post 2
it is not removing someone i am talking about it is making people feel abused here in fact when it is all said and done we still are not real sure what the mc means on railroad spikes do we?


In post 1 you make an accusation of trying to run someone off, then in post 2 you deny that, and make a serious accusation of Abuse? What is the problem here? What cant you understand that is getting you so upset?
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Leroyk,
Posting your opinion of how the site is run in public, without consulting the site administrators and giving them a opportunity to fix things, is considered poor etiquette.

If you have a concern with the way the site is run, contact me directly. I will ask you to name those you feel are trying to upset the site, and for specific references to the posts involved in order to review all the material. At that point I will reply and if needed discuss the matter with you. Once I have given the matter due consideration I will then make a final decision.

we still are not real sure what the mc means on railroad spikes do we?


We do have one reference on the mc as BobJS pointed out.
A Gerdau Ameristeel Spike Of Medium Carbon - 'MC'


The discussion continues and information is still being presented. We are only 20 posts into the thread with one third of those posts being off topic. It is, in my opinion, still too soon to declare definitively what the mc marking means.
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hum... no railroads in uk anymore??? i say anymore cause the first railroads were there... thats too bad......


But we do have plenty of Railways (not as many as we used to :(), I believe there are some similarities with these Railroads you speak of :D

The only spikes I have come into contact with here look like dogs wih little ears.

Ps wouldn't be supprised if it were actually east asia who had the first - I know they had deliberate sets of grooves in the road for cartwheels. Sorry, gone a bit off subject there. Edited by Bob JS
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I went to the link that Bob provided and followed it to the spec and notice that while he has listed MC as being medium carbon there is no MC mentioned in that spec---makes me what to know where he got that info.

I guess I will have to brake down and contact some RR people and try to get a current spec on spikes anhd their markings. With out a group of such spikes being analyzed or an "official" spec I am hesitant to trust something just posted on a web page---shoot I could create a web page and state that the MC stands for Motor Cycle when on a spike or malicious centaurs,...

Why I try to provide the cite when I can for factual issues. (and try to remember to use something like "in my experience" when talking about stuff that is an opinion...)

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Leroyk,
I ask that you contact me directly with any concerns. I just checked my personal messages, emails, im's etc and have received no response from you. I have received several responses from other on the subject, and have replied back to them.

You are correct, it is time to get back to finding out that the MC on the end of a rail road spike indicates.

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