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

Friday, September 3, 2010

“OO” Railway Notes: F. D. Grimke and his Series on OO Gauge, 1931-32. Part V: Freight Cars

In the December, 1931 issue of The Modelmaker we find an article that ties up the part of the series on building an OO gauge Hudson which includes a full list of the 15 Thuillgrim drawings used in building the locomotive and also this very tantalizing text,
Next month, we will start to describe rolling stock for our railroad system, including both passenger and freight. Later on, we will take up the question of electric outline locomotives accurately working from a pantograph, Oil-electric Outline Locomotives, Signals, and automatic blocks and train control.
It seems they had big plans for OO and Grimke started in on the plans in the next two issues, January and February of 1932, with details on how to build a flat car and a gondola. He gives very specific dimensional data on the wood needed and such and gives these specific details on trucks. Remember, at this point in time Thuillgrim was the only OO manufacturer and they did not advertise trucks—something pretty essential in building a model railroad! But Thuillgrim listed in a number of late advertisements “Rail, Drawings, Locomotive Castings, etc.” The “etc.” should I believe have included trucks that look like these:
The trucks are made and assembled as previously described but with the following exception: The stretcher piece between the frames is not a section of brass channel. The frames have been modified by having a lug cast on the back. The stretcher is a piece of 1/16” brass 27mm long by 7mm wide. The stretcher is fastened to the frames by means of 0-80 flat head machine screws.
The drawings reproduced here (click on them for a larger view) were published with the February, 1932 continuation of the article. This particular article ends exactly as follows: “Next month, we will illustrate the Gondola type of car and continue the discussion of box cars.”

But sadly next month never came for this pioneering series on American OO, as at this point the series ends abruptly. It seems the editors decided there was just not a lot of interest in American OO gauge out there. The final Thuillgrim advertisement I have spotted is in the November, 1932 issue of The Modelmaker, and their line of locomotives in particular had little impact; I don’t know of any that definitely exist today. It was not until 1934 that the first commercially successful American OO locomotive was introduced, the Nason Railways P5A, and it was not until 1936 that they produced a big steam locomotive, their classic 4-6-4. More on that another day.

Frederic Drayton Grimke was ahead of the curve and ahead of his time but would be heard from again in the pages of The Modelmaker as an author and in other publications in relation to his being a longtime officer in the New York Society of Model Engineers. I will have more on those another day but in conclusion I would add that on reading this series of articles in The Modelmaker it is clear that Grimke truly was the father of American OO. He in this early series set all our major standards and laid the foundation for all that was to come from the firms that followed Thuillgrim, especially Nason, Scale-Craft, and Lionel. Be watching for upcoming articles focused on their earliest products.

Return to beginning of 1931-32 series.

Continue to 1933 series

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