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

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1934, A Tale of Two Bound Volumes, part 5: The End of a Good Year

1934 was a good year for the hobby of model railroading in general, and reflecting that trend The Modelmaker was back in print in November with a good focus on model railroading. They noted in their Foreword to this issue
It is very regrettable that our financial condition made necessary a temporary suspension of the publication of The Modelmaker. We are glad, however, to have been able to make arrangements to resume with this issue. The December issue is already in the hands of the printer….
On the following page they had an important announcement.
We have come to the conclusion that in view of the fact that 90% of our business is at present mail order it is not essential that we maintain a New York office. We are accordingly moving on December 1st to … Bay Shore, N.Y.
And also on this same page they plug the purchase of back issues by noting
“OO” gauge fans will find an extremely valuable series of 9 articles contained in Volume 8. This series entitled “OO” Railway Notes was prepared for us by Mr. F. D. Grimke, present chairman of The New York Society of Model Engineers, as a result of very extensive experimental work in this field of model railroading.
Rather vindicates the significance of his 1931-32 series, one they seem to have actually cut short.

Moving over to Model Railroader, the best advertisement of the year was this small one (enlarged here for better reading) from Nason Railways. They had already advertised a number of times but finally in this ad they actually lay out what they had for sale in American OO in 1934; the cast aluminum passenger cars, the cast aluminum buildings, and their important P-5a model. This was the first commercially successful OO locomotive (photo here) and to my mind is a must have for any serious OO collector today. [And see UPDATE]

This same ad ran in the December issue, where we also see a trade topics item on another early OO manufacturer, Raymond Willey. But overall there is a bit of a push for HO from this point forward in Model Railroader, with for example an article in this issue by Eric LaNal on “The Nature of HO Gauge.” In it he states,
HO is just coming into its own. The experimental years are over, and you have all the pioneers’ mistakes to profit by. You can get all the supplies you need, and build a most elaborate railroad for far less than the cost of a single ready-made O gauge scale locomotive.
As to The Model Craftsman, I would note in the December issue that Temple Nieter had advertising listing OO M.U. cars, wheels, trucks, pantographs, and rails. He managed to promote OO in all three magazines that year which speaks again to his enthusiasm for the scale although in terms of products for sale he would never be a major maker.

All in all it was, as already noted, a good year for American OO, particularly with several feature articles on the new scale and the arrival of a serious and stable OO manufacturer in the form of Nason.

UPDATE: I should have noted as well a prior article on Fixen, which was a supplier that sold Nason and also a line of figures. I have their price sheet from December of 1934; more on this here.

UPDATE: The 1934 series continues with this article on the early OO trucks by William O. Hillary.

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