Why is a cow catcher called a “cow catcher”?


Introduction: The Origin of the Cow Catcher

The cow catcher is a device that is located at the front of a train locomotive. Its name may seem a bit peculiar, especially since it is not used to catch cows. The cow catcher’s origins can be traced back to the early 1800s when trains were first being developed. During this time, trains were not as fast as they are today, and animals, such as cows, would often wander onto the tracks, causing accidents.

The Evolution of Train Locomotives

As train locomotives evolved, so did the cow catcher. Originally, train locomotives were designed with a simple metal beam that was mounted on the front of the engine. This beam would strike any object, such as an animal, that might be on the tracks. However, this design was not effective as the beam would often bounce back into the train, causing damage.

The Problem with Wildlife on the Tracks

As trains became faster and more efficient, it became more of a problem when wildlife wandered onto the tracks. These animals would often cause significant damage to the train, which could be costly to repair. Additionally, train accidents caused by animals could be very dangerous to the passengers on board.

The Creation of the Cow Catcher

To address this problem, a new design for the cow catcher was created. This design consisted of a metal frame that extended out from the front of the locomotive. Attached to this frame were angled bars that would lift any object that was on the tracks and push it away from the train.

The Purpose of the Cow Catcher

The purpose of the cow catcher is to protect the train from damage caused by objects on the tracks. It is also used to protect wildlife from being hit by the train. The cow catcher pushes objects out of the way, preventing them from damaging the train or injuring passengers.

How a Cow Catcher Works

The cow catcher works by using angled bars or blades that are attached to the front of the locomotive. These bars or blades are designed to lift and push objects out of the way of the train. The cow catcher is positioned at the front of the locomotive to ensure that it is the first thing that comes into contact with any object on the tracks.

The Name “Cow Catcher”

The cow catcher got its name from its original purpose, which was to prevent cows from being hit by trains. During the early days of train locomotives, cows were a common sight on the tracks. The cow catcher was designed to push cows out of the way of the train, preventing them from being hit.

Other Names for the Cow Catcher

Although it is commonly referred to as a cow catcher in the United States, this device has many other names around the world. In the United Kingdom, it is known as a bogie plough, while in Australia, it is called a pilot. In France, it is referred to as a déflecteur, which translates to “deflector” in English.

Cow Catchers Around the World

The design of the cow catcher varies from country to country. In Japan, for example, the cow catcher is a large scoop that is attached to the front of the train. This scoop is designed to lift any object that is on the tracks and push it away from the train. In other countries, such as Russia, the cow catcher is not used at all, as trains are designed to withstand collisions with animals.

Conclusion: The Importance of the Cow Catcher

The cow catcher may seem like a small and insignificant part of a train locomotive, but it has played an important role in the development of train safety. The cow catcher has evolved over time to become a crucial device that protects both trains and wildlife. Today, the cow catcher is an essential part of train locomotives, ensuring the safety of passengers and preventing damage to trains caused by objects on the tracks.

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