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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Trucks of Mystery [Hoffman's]

I spotted a couple items I wanted in a recent eBay lot and with them got a few items I was not as interested in, including this car with these trucks.

The car itself is pretty much a garden variety, standard early Scale-Craft reefer with the sand cast doors and hatches, lettered for the Santa Fe and with chipping decals. The really unusual thing were these trucks. Take a look; they appear to be die cast and are sprung. Side on they look similar in ways to Scale-Craft trucks but the details are different. Visually for me they are right on the fence between being a manufactured item and perhaps a prototype of an item put together by a skilled modeler with an eye to either personal use or sales. That they are on a pre-war car may say they are pre-war or it may say that they got put on this car later. The standard S-C truck screws are used to attach them but with a bunch of extra washers, which would imply that originally the car had S-C trucks.

The wheelsets are gone and no wonder, there is at present way too much play between the bolster and the side frames. This maybe again points to the skilled modeler theory. This truck bolster has the round section in the middle and the other is square at that point but otherwise identical.

If they are manufactured items I don’t have the slightest idea of the manufacturer [But see UPDATE at end]. What is sort of sad as well is I don’t believe there is anyone reading this article that will have any idea either. Some things we can figure out with some effort and luck but if this is a manufactured item then this for sure is a low production, oddball item by probably a very minor maker and from the detail level pretty early on.

If anyone else even has a pair of these on a car I would be curious to hear from you.

UPDATE: My thinking now is these are Hoffman's trucks, sold with their kits introduced in 1938. More on Hoffman's here. They appear to have produced the first sprung trucks ever marketed in American OO.

UPDATE II: See this article for another Hoffmans truck, one that looks to be complete and original.

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