Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Bessey … are building an OO gauge branch line of the SP, known as the Rough & Tumble RR. Equipment consists of an SP Atlantic, six freight cars and a crummy, and three passenger train cars. Two new locos and 11 freight carriers are on order.Then the very next month the first advertisement appeared in Model Railroader for his line of products. It reads,
AT LAST! Precision shapes in wood at prices you can pay. Stamp for list. Ties in all gauges. Old time S. P. Boxcar Car, “OO,” Wood body kit 55c—others coming. E. H. Bessey 183 Sunnyvale Ave. Sunnyvale, Calif.His line of wood body kits for OO gauge lacked hardware but were pre-painted and lettered. The paint and lettering were directly on the wood sides of the cars, these are not the printed car sides that you might guess the cars had. I don’t have the boxcar in my collection [UPDATE: I do now; see this article for photos and more on the boxcar] but I have seen one and I do have a set of the reefers, depicted here. The full line of OO gauge cars produced included:
1 Reefer, wood, 36', Swift Premium Ham #18431Advertisements in Model Railroader in 1940 indicate that they also produced an express reefer and a stock car in OO, but I have not seen examples of these. Bessey did however produce other freight cars in HO, an extensive line of wood shapes made from California Sugar Pine, and also bridge kits in HO, OO, and O.
2 Reefer, wood, 36', Swift Premium Bacon #18211
3 Reefer, wood, 36', Swift Brookfield #18101
4 Reefer, wood, 36', Swift Silverleaf #18321
5 Boxcar, old time, SP #34521
Back to my set of the reefers in the photo, even though they lack door hardware the look is quite good. This was a well made product. Trucks were not provided; my cars are riding now [UPDATED] on four pair of S-C trucks, which was how the builder set up these cars and was what they were on when they came to me. In the photo they are on a pair of Schorr trucks and also three pair of (oops!) Kemtron On3 trucks.
UPDATE: For a note on a 1939 letter to the editor by Bessey also see this article.