L.D. Porta Centennial Anthology Vol 1

The Argentinian engineer Livio Dante Porta (1922 – 2003) remains an unsung hero in the long history of steam locomotive development. Most famously, perhaps, in his iconic book “The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam“, David Wardale refers to himself as the “Wizard’s Apprentice” and Porta as the Wizard whose theories and advice he followed in designing his modifications to SAR Class 19D No 2644 and Class 26 No.3450 that so successfully demonstrated what steam might have achieved had Porta’s principles been adopted by steam designers in the 1950s. 

Following in the footsteps of Chapelon, Porta rebuilt numerous locomotives in Argentina and elsewhere, and designed several revolutionary locomotives, both large and small.  Like Chapelon, none of his designs were built and most of his rebuilds have been lost to scrap.  He has however left a rich legacy in the form of over two hundred technical papers covering a wide range of subjects and written in at least three languages, the majority in English.  A few of his papers were published in conference proceedings; some were typed, but the majority were left as hand-written manuscripts.  Many were written for specific purposes such as “Application of the Gas Producer Combustion System to the 141R”  and “On the Hudson-Orrok Heat Transfer Equation” which were written to guide David Wardale in his South African or his China endeavours.  Others would have been written for the purpose of guiding present and future engineers and designers towards the further development of steam locomotive engineering.

Chris Newman has transcribed over 40 of Porta’s English-language papers which have been published in three volumes by the Advanced Steam Traction Trust.  Further volumes of his papers are planned.

This Compendium, however, takes the form of a collection of articles and papers, not by Porta but by other writers, about the life and work of this great man.  These have been assembled by Chris Newman to celebrate the centenary of Porta’s birth which falls in 2022.  It is hoped that it does him justice.

Time and space limitations have necessitated the publication of this Compendium in two volumes.  This first volume, to be released on Porta’s 100th birthday on 21st March 2022, covers the first part of Porta’s career from 1947 to the end of his work on the Rio Turbio railway towards the end of the 1970s.  The second volume will cover the work that he undertook elsewhere in Argentina and in other countries.  

The preface to Volume 1, listing its contents plus a background summary, can be downloaded here

Filling 230 A4 pages including numerous black and white and colour images, this first volume is priced at £27 including postage within the UK. £29 within Europe and £31 outside Europe, with a 20% discount offered to ASTT members

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