As Keith Hayes requested, here is a notice that the Another Where-is-this thread about a photo near Idaho Springs has started to morph into a coupler discusstion, including:
Chris Walker wrote
..."Selden Automatic Coupler"... is that what "Sam's Patent" is about as I have seen references to both over the years.
S. C. Sams and Samuel Shelden each had similar patented automatic link and pin couplers. See the patents for Sams and Shelden. Note that it is a Sams' coupler, not Sam's. The main difference between Sams and Shelden appears to be how the pin was supported prior to coupling and how the pin on the other coupler held the link in the correct position (Sams with wings on the side of the pin, Shelden with a notch in the back).
It is interesting to note that David H. Moffat (of Moffat Tunnel fame) was President of the Sams Automatic Coupler Company, with a General Office at 515 Equitable Building, Denver (July 21, 1898). Moffat was also at one time the President of the D&RG. The Railroad GAZETTE reported on February 24, 1899 (p.135) that the D&RG had the following number of cars equipped with Sams Couplers for the years: 1895 (64); 1896 (173); 1897 (430) and 1898 (495).
The Virginia & Truckee also equipped some of its cars with Sams Couplers in a attempt to comply with the new Federal laws, but the Sams Coupler was deemed to NOT comply with the provisions of the new Safety Act. Then in about 1903-04, the D&RG, V&T and many other roads adopted the Janney patent coupler.
Before the nation's railroads finally adopted a standard coupler, there were at least fifty different patented "automatic" coupler designs. Some years ago, I fould a Sheldon (notched) coupling pin on the abandoned Union Pacific grade at Piedmont, Wyoming.