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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More Early American OO Freight Trucks

I figured out within a few days actually the maker of the truck sideframes in this earlier article, so today I have two more mysteries that I think won’t be so easy to solve. They both came to me very recently in purchases of parts. Click on the photo for a larger view.

The trucks on the right look really early. Size wise they are similar to Nason but they are much rougher looking than I have ever seen. The bolster was with these parts in the lot they came in and seems to match. They look to me to be aluminum castings. My guess is either they actually are very early parts by a low production, early maker (possibly even Nason or maybe Page) or they are home made. In either case they could still be rebuilt to use on the layout and seem to have seen layout use back in the day.

On the left is most of a pair of sand cast bronze trucks of a leaf spring, arch bar design. It is a type most often seen on cabooses. I don’t know of an OO maker that produced such an item but here we are and these sure look like early OO parts with the detail level we associate with the typical sand cast bronze casting. Note also that the wheelsets in the truck when it got to me were not insulated; they were for three rail use.

Making use of my parts supply I was able to set the caboose trucks up for two rail use with a vintage caboose. The wheelsets I used I believe are Famoco. I also spent some time setting up a pair of Nason 4 wheel passenger trucks that came to me with un-insulated wheelsets at the same time; one now has Famoco wheelsets and the other Scale-Craft. Both took some effort, the setup involving finding usable wheelsets with an axle either the correct length or just a bit long so that the bolster could be shimmed out with washers. To use the S-C wheelsets I had to change the truck over to a fresh pair of insulated bolsters. To offer a bit of general advice you have to work out as much play as possible not only so the wheelsets don't fall out (!) but also so that if they have a metal bolster the trucks don’t short out in two rail use. Ultimately the trouble is worth it as I got some great vintage trucks working for cars I hope to run on the layout (they roll great) but still it renews my respect for the craftsmanship of early OO gaugers and it speaks also to the idea that it was easier to make trucks that worked in three rail back at that time.

Returning to the photo, looking at the parts they also remind me that as much as you can try to study old catalogs and such there are questions that very likely the answers to are lost to history, such as who actually produced these trucks. Some mysteries out there maybe won’t be solved.

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