The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two more Nason box cars

Sand cast items have long fascinated me. One I have yet to hold in my hands (but would like to) is a very early, classic OO item, the Nason cast aluminum box car.

Dick Gresham sent in these photos of this model in his collection. Aside from the wood roof and the cast bronze couplers it is all aluminum. This car is on Scale-Craft trucks as well. It is an attractive, well proportioned model.

This model is one of the first commercial models in American OO, introduced I believe in 1934. By the date of the first Nason catalog in my collection (Summer, 1938) the model had actually been dropped from the line, replaced by the EAZY-BILT version of the car, and it most likely it was dropped from the line earlier than that as the later version was advertised in the December, 1935 issue of Model Craftsman for example. (Anyone with a very early Nason catalog, I would love to hear from you).

I should note, however, that the car was back in production in 1940! The sixth anniversary catalog reads,

"ALL STEEL BOX CAR. Due to popular demand we have again made available the All Steel Box Car kit at a new low price. This kit includes aluminum sides, ends, floor, and cat walk. Doors are cast into sides and under-frame into floor. Brake wheel platform cast into ends."

The complete kit was then $4.00, as compared to the EAZY-BILT version for $2.90.

Well after the end of Nason production M. P. Davis is also reported to have produced a limited quantity a run of these from the original masters as well.

Speaking of the EAZY-BILT cars, Dick also forwarded this photo of the Nason PRR round roof automobile car. It is of the PRR X-31 design and was number 5 in their catalog list. I believe it is one of the original ten cars of this type mentioned in the advertisement mentioned above from December of 1935. This car has printed card sides and ends applied to a built-up wood box (rather than a solid piece of wood as seen in the car kit in my previous post on Nason boxcars). It also has Nason cast bronze couplers and Nason 3-rail trucks. Another pre-war classic! Thanks again to Dick for sharing these photos.

UPDATE: A couple more photos from Dick Gresham. First we have a side view of the X-31 car.

The other photo is most interesting and brings up a question. It is a side by side of the Nason cast box car the Lionel box car. They sure look a lot alike! Lionel was very aware of the Scale-Craft line when they launched their own OO production. It is almost as if Lionel got hold of one of these Nason cars and told their people to make a very similar car but die cast. A very interesting pair to see side by side. Click on the photos for a larger view.

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