However, historians have widely felt the term "gandy" was in reference to a tool manufacturing company that is believed to have been based in Chicago.
The idea that it referred to a Chicago business named the Gandy Manufacturing Company — which supposedly supplied tools to railway workers — seems to rest on a reference in a book called Railroad Avenue by Freeman H Hubbard, published in 1945.
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Jul 13, 2007 · The name "gandy" supposedly arose from a belief that their hand tools once came from the Gandy tool company in Chicago (though no researcher has ever turned up such a company that made railroad tools). The name may also have derived from "gander" because the flat-footed steps of the workmen when lining track resembled the way that geese walk.
But most researchers have identified a "Gandy Shovel Company" or, variously, "Gandy Manufacturing Company" or "Gandy Tool Company" reputed to have existed in Chicago as the source of the tools from which gandy dancers took their name. Some sources even list the goods manufactured by the company, i.e., "tamping bars, claw bars, picks, and shovels."
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Sep 16, 2006 · Slang term for a crew member hired to maintain railroad track and roadbed. Some attribute its origin to the Gandy Manufacturing Company of Chicago, which made track maintenance tools. The Gandy Tool, used to tamp down ballast in the roadbed, was a rod about 5 feet long with a cross bar near the bottom.
It is always referred to as the Gandy Manufacturing Company, or the Gandy Tool Company. Using the following as a source I am going to change "shovel" to "manufacturing". [QUOTE] The tool was seemingly called a gandy, but where the name came from is a mystery. It would seem it was based on some bit of railway slang now lost to us.
Aug 05, 2005 · This states the belief of Charles Albi, director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, that the term comes from the fact that railroad workers used tools made by the Gandy Manufacturing Company. This is a theory I've seen elsewhere as well, but I have yet to see any proof that such a company actually existed.
Gandy dancer definition, a member of a railroad section gang that lays or maintains track. See more.