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Metropolitan Camel Backs, or should it be Steeple Cabs?

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You may have seen this on another (rival?) forum but does anyone know when Steeple Cab electric locos were first called Steeple Cabs?

I'm asking as the normal description in London Transport enthusiast circles for the 1906 Metropolitan Railway British Westinghouse electric locos is "Camel Backs". But as someone has pointed out that more normally applies to the centre cab steam locos used on the Baltimore & Ohio, and the Met locos ought to be called Steeple Cabs. I was wondering if the Met locos are called Camel Backs simply because the name Steeple Cab hadn't yet been invented in 1906.

Can anyone shed any light on when Steeple Cab was first used to describe the layout of a centre cabbed electric loco, or can give the reason why the Met locos are called Camel Backs and not Steeple Cabs?

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I've heard them described as 'camels', rather than camel-backs....
QUOTE (alastairq @ 8 Nov 2008, 21:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've heard them described as 'camels', rather than camel-backs....

No, all the standard reference works on LT and its predecessor railway companies motive power all refer to the 1906 Metropolitan Railway British Westinghouse locos as "Camel-backs".

Don't confuse this with LT rolling stock made by Cammell Laird which became Metro-Cammell.

Personally I'd never heard of the term and always called such locos crocodiles. Camel-baclk I presume simply because it had a hump in the middle
The term originated in USA at the turn of the 20th century.

As to origins, the best I can come up with would be the dictionary definition of steeple, maybe because it looked like a tower rising from a sloping roof or the pantograph looked like a spire - who knows.

   [stee-puhl] Show IPA noun, verb, -pled, -pling.
1. an ornamental construction, usually ending in a spire, erected on a roof or tower of a church, public building, etc.
2. a tower terminating in such a construction.
before 1000; Middle English stepel steeple, tower, Old English stēpel tower.
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QUOTE (GoingUnderground @ 8 Nov 2008, 21:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... or can give the reason why the Met locos are called Camel Backs and not Steeple Cabs?
The authentic answer is because that was the name applied by the people at the time. When a distinctive form happens to arise in several different places in a short time period, and especially before the age of near instant and easy communication, a variety of descriptive names will be applied. That some of them may be confused with other descriptive names applied to something significantly different is just one of those things. If it matters enough to clarity of communication within a linguistic group then usually the names do eventually shake out to just one or two forms making clear the object being described without too much confusion. The early railways in the UK had both break and brake vans, (sometimes in the same sentence). And they were the same thing, named by their function at a time when the spelling of the device that stopped a vehicle hadn't achieved an accepted orthography...

And look at 'Jools' wanting to apply 'Crocodile'. In railway parlance that applies equally to a Swiss articulated rod coupled electric loco, and a bogie well wagon built by the GWR. Use that term without any additional qualification of the context about the English railway and it means a type of wagon to most of us.

Rule 1: There are no rules...
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I'd always thought the US coined the term steeple cab for an electric loco because they'd already used camel back for steam locos.

I also assumed that, with sloping 'bonnets' and with either a trolley pole or a pantograph accentuating the height of the cab, it was because of its profile.

Anyway here's a little 1902 cracker from Tyneside:

...though what on earth steeple cabs have to do with penguins and Fannit belongs to another thread.

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QUOTE (Long funnel & tiresome @ 21 Feb 2012, 18:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...though what on earth steeple cabs have to do with penguins and Fannit belongs to another thread.

Post #36 here:

Actually I think it should be South Pole, sorry

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I've just come across this thread and it reminded me of a photo in a book I have published by Odhams Press in the 1930s called "The Pageant of the Century" which is basically a pictorial history of the years 1900 to 1933. Included in the photos for 1904 is one captioned "Camel of the Railway" reproduced courtesy of the Metropolitan Railway, showing a Camel type loco posed above ground for the photographer with a rake of coaches and bearing a large Harrow destination sign. The accompanying text says "These (trains on the suburban line) were drawn from Baker Street to Harrow-on-the-Hill by an electric locomotive of the "Camel" type, known as a "Beetle" to the boys of the period......". I'm afraid it doesn't say who the loco manufacturer was.
Peter A
At the mention of Steeple Cabs I wondered what has happend to Alistair ?
QUOTE I wondered what has happend to Alistair ?

I have wondered that from time to time as well.

I believe he pops in to view from time to time, come on Alistair, where are you?

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