The February 1933 issue of The Modelmaker has the first published article not by Grimke on OO gauge. It is by Howard Winther and is on the topic of “Small Gauge Car Trucks.” At this point in time so far as I can tell no manufacturer was actively selling OO gauge trucks, and Winther describes in this article how he makes his own from scratch. Most notably, in principle the trucks are of a design similar to that later adopted by Lionel, especially in terms of the method of attachment of the bolster.
This type of truck frame for small gauge cars was designed to eliminate screws and tapped holes and provide a flexible truck that is simple to construct and free from trouble in use.
As shown in the illustration, the main feature of the side frame is a cylindrical lug cast into the inner face of the frame. The bolster is a length of strip brass with the ends bent down, having a punched or drilled hole in each vertical leg. The lug in the frame fits into this hole. It is fastened by a U-shaped key which fits into shallow vertical grooves cut into the side of the lug.
The writer has made a number of trucks of this type for “OO” gauge cars. The frames are die-cast in a home-made mold…. To cut the grooves for the key, use a template the same thickness as the bolster, having a hole to fit over the lug, then with a few strokes of a hacksaw cut the grooves.
From this article we learn several things but the most important one really is that a few people were actually out there building Amercan OO models in 1932, as other 1933 sources confirm.
For example, the Fifth Annual Exhibition of the New York Society of Model Engineers was in February, 1933. According to the report on the event in the April issue of The Modelmaker two people exhibited OO gauge models, Mr. M. Brownstein who displayed a 0-6-0, a 4-4-4-4 electric locomotive and trackwork and Mr. H. Winther who displayed the following OO models: a 2-6-2 "Electric Freight Locomotive," an Erie 4-4-2, a PRR A5 switch engine, three box cars, one hopper car, and a refrigerator car.
Of those the one model that stands out a bit above the rest to me is the PRR A5. If he was scratchbuilding his own trucks he could certainly have also scratchbuilt this model, but this model was actually the first OO locomotive kit that I know was produced in enough quantity that a handful have survived until today. Two sold on eBay this year for good prices. Could Winther have displayed in 1933 an example of the PRR A5 produced by the OO Gauge Model Co.? Today there is no way to know.
[UPDATE: Actually, there is a way to know, see the comments on the linked article above.]
I will come back to Howard Winther in future articles as he was very active in OO gauge. When I return to this look at 1933 we will focus in on editorial confusion over the question of HO and OO gauges in The Modelmaker.
Continue to Part II
UPDATE: This article focuses on the 1934 layout of Howard Winther.