L.D. Porta Centennial Anthology Vol 2


This second volume continues on from the first, with articles and papers about the Argentinian engineer Livio Dante Porta (1922 – 2003) focusing on his later career between c.1960 and his death in 2003.

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 fell in 2022 in time for which the first volume was published.  It is hoped that the two volumes will do him justice.  (* Note: this second volume contains a couple of non-technical articles by Porta himself, and transcriptions of several of his letters.)

Filling 330 A4 pages including numerous black in white and colour images, this second volume is priced like the first, 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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