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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Selley OO parts

One line that stands somewhat uniquely in the classic American OO market is the Selley Mfg. Co. of Brooklyn. Rather than sell a line of cars Selley sold a line of parts in HO, OO, and O gauges. The line was first advertised in 1941 and they remained active well into the post-war era. For example, the text of their advertisement in the June, 1944 issue of Model Railroader makes clear the basics of their production:
SELLEY CAN STILL SUPPLY FROM STOCK ALL PARTS LISTED IN CATALOG NO. 14. Send 5c for your copy NOW. All Illustrated. 130 HO Parts. 207 O Parts. 60 OO Parts.
Besides the HO, OO, and O gauge train parts they also note in the ad that their catalog of boat and airplane parts is also available for 5 cents.

I don’t have a Selley catalog for reference. But a version of the line of Selley OO parts was marketed starting in the late 1980s by Bowser under the name English's Model Railroad Supply. This photo is of several of these parts I purchased from them; the 20041 reefer underframe, 20046 boxcar doors, 20044 Dreadnaught ends, and 20049 depressed center flat sides. A listing for the line with illustrations may be found in the July, 1986 issue of The OO Road, with additional items listed in the July, 1987 issue. The following were marketed by Lew English (then a OO SIG member) from the original Selley line; the image (click for a larger version) is from their listings for Selley (thank you Dick G. for the scan):

Passenger car ends and accessories:
20001 Pullman or coach ends
20002 Blind baggage ends
20003 Coach ends
20004 Solarium ends
20005 Diaphragms
20006 Vestibule doors
20007 Vestibule partitions
20008 and 20009 Steps, type A and B
20010 Rear emblem plate
20042 Coach or diner ends
20043 Caboose ends
20044 Dreadnaught ends
20032 Ladders
Brakes, valves, reefer and freight parts:
20012 and 20025 Triple valves, type A and B
20013 and 20026 Air valves, type A and B
20014 and 20027 Generators, type A and B
20028 Brake cylinder
20029 Globe valves
20030 Steam traps
20031 Pullman vents
20045 Plain ice hatch covers
20011 Reefer doors
20033 Reefer end sills
20034 Box or reefer end beams
20050 Flat car end sills
20051 Reefer end, channeled
20052 Reefer or box car ends
20035 Double doors
20046 Doors with plate
20037 Gondola reinforcement strips
Couplers and underframes:
20021, 20022, and 20023 Couplers, types A, B, and C
20049 Depressed center flat car sides
20016 and 40 Box car underframe
20017 Tank car frame
20018 Centersill and crossbeams
20019 Crossbearer
20020 Bolster w/coupler pocket and cover
20041 Reefer underframe

Several of these OO parts I have are quite similar to Graceline parts but I am inclined to say they are similar but not the same. Really I am not certain on this point, they could have supplied the parts to Graceline or they could have purchased the dies from Graceline and modified them slightly for their own production or they could have copied them. The frame in the photo for example is essentially identical to a Graceline frame except that it is about 1/8 inch shorter in overall length. Shrinkage? Other parts look a lot like Nason, etc.

In addition to these Selley parts several reproduction Lionel parts were marketed by English, including truck parts.

The sad news is that these parts were available until fairly recently but are not today. This was confirmed by a very recent note from Lee English. I am glad I was able to buy a few of these parts when they were available. They could not have been much of a money maker for Bowser; these parts are ones to keep your eyes peeled for.

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