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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Schorr OO Passenger Trucks and New Information on Fred Schorr

A source very knowledgeable on Schorr OO production recently contacted me and confirmed that one other item I have is Schorr, these great sprung and equalized passenger trucks for streamlined passenger cars. They are brass and very free rolling. I have been saving two pair of these for use on Zuhr car rebuilds I have in progress.

When I bought them on eBay a few years ago I thought they must be Schorr RDC trucks as Schorr produced no other passenger equipment. However, when I later was able to purchase a RDC I realized right away these are not the same trucks, so I was a bit stumped except that they are marked Japan, as clearly visible in the second photo.

The history of Schorr OO production is something I have been trying to piece together for years and years. This past week I certainly increased what I know about Fred Schorr thanks to being contacted by Ed Schorr, his son. He specifically first contacted me in fact to add this passenger truck to the full list of Schorr products found in this previous post.

From Ed I learned a number of things about his father and about his OO production. Fred Schorr was born in 1902 and died in 1976 and according to Ed “was a die-hard 00'er till the end.” He got started working in American OO around 1938. He worked for Pennsylvania Power & Light for 53 years and retired as Chief Systems Operator. His personal road was the Yorkville and Western, a name he registered with the NMRA in 1942. I actually own one Yorkville and Western locomotive, seen in the third photo, purchased from Bud Spice just a couple years after the passing of Fred Schorr, a model I describe further in this post.

Ed confirmed that the OO line was very much a labor of love for his father. One question I had is how many models were made?
As to the production runs, I know there were 2 runs on the Bettendorf and archbar trucks. I don't know how many total pairs (a lot!). I think there were roughly 50 pieces of each of the locomotives but can't be sure. The rarest one was the #3 RDC car, the baggage mail. I know there were only 25 of those made. There were also a few unassembled kits for the RDC that somebody wanted to build themselves.
As to other production, according to Ed
He would have also imported a B&O dock side switcher and the Ma and Pa 10-wheeler but could not get enough guys interested. He did however have a handful, maybe 5, PRR A-3 class 0-4-0s made.
That last model would be one to treasure if you have an example, it must be one of the rarest of items ever commercially produced in American OO and another that I was completely unaware of.

For anyone interested in American OO today a complete set of Schorr OO products would be an amazing thing to see. It is all fairly rare and certainly desirable; I would be much more interested in owning a set of all of these than a set of everything Lionel produced. One wonders where all the Schorr models are today; they only rarely show up on eBay. It is to be hoped that most are in good hands, if not in the hands of OO gaugers in the hands of collectors of early brass models.

As to Ed Schorr, he is retired and has for many years been very active in Sn3! He sent several photos of his models and layout set on the RGS over Lizard Head Pass, and has also been very active in recent years as a custom builder in Sn3. I thank him very much for sharing his memories and shedding much light on the great, classic models imported and produced by his father.

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