Link and Pin Coupler

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Link and Pin Coupler


ca. 1840


This link and pin showcases the simple and dangerous method used to couple cars together for the first decades of railroad operations in the United States. These pieces of hardware, made from wrought iron, were manually attached to railroad cars and locomotives. The lack of safety devices for these items led to the injury of many workers and would not be alleviated until more modern “automatic” couplers began to appear after the Civil War.