Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

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Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:22 am

The basic GG-1 mechanical design was General Electric's: a beefed up version of the New haven EP-3. At the outset, I suspect that somebody envisioned a box-cab design reminiscent of the EP-3 and GE's mechanically similar (though electrically different: straight DC) 2-C-C-2 locomotives for the Cleveland Terminal… with maybe a "Pennsylvania-ization" of the details that would resemble the carbodies of the O-1, L-6 and (non-modified) P-5. But then a change was made to the design we know: a semi-streamlined center-cab with complexly contoured hoods. (Maybe the hood treatment was a bit inspired by Westinghouse's "Visibility Cab" switchers.) This general design was used for the GG-1, its Baldwin-Westinghouse rival the R-1, the "modified" P-5a, and the later DD-2.

But it was only used on locomotives for the Pennsylvania. Mechanically similar locomotives for other railroads -- the New Haven EP-4 and (both mechanically and, I suspect, electrically near clones of the GG-1) EF-3 are the nearest cousins -- got a very different "cosmetic design," with cabs perhaps inspired by EMD's streamlined passenger units.

Was the GG-1 (etc) design a proprietary PRR design, protected by some sort of design patent or copyright? Suppose some other railroad had gone to GE and said "We want an exact copy of the GG-1, we think it is EXACTLY what we need." Would GE have built it, or would they have said "Certainly, but it is going to look like a New Haven EP-4: if you want it to look like the PRR's locomotive, you'll have to pay royalties to the PRR for permission"?

(Question inspired by a model railroader's fantasy, reported on the EL-DLW-Erie forum, of painting GG-1 models in DLW and ERie colours.")
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby kilroy » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:57 pm

I can't speak to copywriting or trade marking of the design but I know the P5a came about after a fatal grade crossing accident in Maryland with a P5. The PRR wanted to protect the crew with a center cab design so the G has a center cab.

I'm not sure anyone would want something so identifiable to another railroad. Back then, everyone wanted something unique to them (unlike today's SUV market where every make looks the same).
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:46 pm

This is just a guess, but I think Raymond Loewy would have demanded royalties even if the PRR went along. When the Friends of the GG1 Committee organized the repainting of 4935 (pursuant to a suggestion by Howard Serig in Trains magazine) in the pinstripe scheme, the committee was told by Amtrak that it would have to secure permission from Penn Central as the successor to the PRR--and that was just for the paint scheme. The committee received a very gracious reply from Penn Central Law Department (the writer was ex-PRR) saying the committee was welcome to use the paint scheme and keystone on what was by then an Amtrak locomotive.

How anyone might untangle the question of rights today is something for the lawyers--hard to say who might object today and whether they would have any standing. As to Kilroy's comment above about the improbability of one railroad wanting to copy another, imagine the PRR desiring to replace the K4 with a 4-6-4 and seeking permission to reproduce the NYC's Hudson?
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby Allen Hazen » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:04 am

ExCon90--
Thank you! I don't know what the legal rights were (that's why I asked!), but Loewy made his living from design, so he might reasonably have asked for royalty payments if his work was used.
Kilroy--
Yes, the desire for a centre cab was prompted by the grade crossing accident. Apparently this led first to the GG-1 design (and, I assume, the R-1 design) but was later adopted for the remainder of the P5a production run (the "modifiers").

I don't now how many stages of refinement the design went through. Apparently the first recognizable version was by a designer whose name I forget (he was named in a "Classic Trains" article discussed in some string on this forum). The "Classic Trains" article has a photo of his model (plaster, I think): the "shoulders" of the hoods -- the lower, side, parts of the hood -- seem to run horizontally from the cab to the ends of the locomotive. This was changed by the time the prototype unit, "Old Rivets," was built: on it they angle a bit downward. So Loewy's refinement was at least the third version. … The P5a(mod) design looks more like "Old Rivets" than the production GG-1. So perhaps the adoption of the centre-cab design for the later P5a units was decided on BEFORE the prototype GG-1 was built, and before Loewy had a chance to smoothe it out.

As for the idea of a Pennsylvania Railroad Hudson… They would certainly have disguised it cosmetically to obscure any New York Central background. I've long wondered about the New York Central's steam locomotive CLASSIFICATIONS. Their primary main-line Pacific was the K-3 (subclasses up to at least K3q). Then, just before they ordered Hudsons (1925, I think) they got a small number of a larger Pacific which they called … the K-5. Why -5? and not -4? I suspect that having a Pacific CALLED a K-4 was just too much for the New York Central's sensibilities!
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:27 pm

I can just imagine: "OMG, we can't call it that!" Reportedly the reason their 4-8-2 was designated Mohawk was that there couldn't be a "Mountain" type on the Water Level Route (and don't mention West Albany).
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby NYCRRson » Thu May 12, 2016 4:56 pm

"I suspect that having a Pacific CALLED a K-4 was just too much for the New York Central's sensibilities!"

Actually the NYC did have (GASP) a class of Pacific's called K4's. A picture of K-4 Pacific # 9231 (lettered "New York Central Lines", sub-lettered P&LE) shows up on page 170 of "New York Central's Later Power 1910-1968" by Staufer and May.

Cheers, Kevin.
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Re: Was the GG-1 design copyrighted?

Postby Statkowski » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:45 pm

And on the New Haven, a 4-6-4 was a SHORELINER. For some reason, a HUDSON would have been inappropriate (but they were okay with PACIFIC).
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