The January issue of The Model Railroader is one that really helps set the context of the time. The opening editorial is on the topic of "Smaller Gauges Gaining in Popularity." There we read,
The smaller gauges, OO and HO, are rapidly growing in popularity, and nearly half the letters we receive concern them. Material on construction for these gauges has been sadly lacking, and we are trying to fill this lack, while at the same time not neglecting the more established gauges.
The possibility which OO and HO offer of realistic railroading in one-fourth the space it would require to do the same thing in O gauge is the chief advantage. But most model railroaders are discouraged before they start by what would seem to be difficulties of building to such small scales....
Difficulty is encountered, if we are to judge by the questions asked us, in choosing between HO and OO....
The difference between the two gauges and scales in this country seems, so far, to be not only in size but in methods. We can't see any reason why the same methods should not be applicable to both. The HO gaugers use largely those easily workable materials, cardboard and balsa wood, and build up their stock. O gauge methods have been transplanted to OO with nearly the same variety of parts and kits available.
For OO the standard series wound motors of the Mantua Co., Woodbury Heights, N. J., are the favorite. They can be used on A.C. or D.C., 6 volt, and control is left nearly the same as the standard O gauge practice. Most HO gaugers are using English drive units, which have permanent magnet fields and run only on D.C.The editorial continues with names of manufacturers and such but the the central text on the topic starts a few pages later in the article "OO or HO Gauge -- Which?" The case for OO is made by a name familiar to American OO enthusiasts today, H. T. Nieter, which he summarized at the conclusion of his section as follows:
In recapitulation, then, OO is presented as superior to HO in convenience of dimensioning, in accuracy of scaling, and for ready availability of parts and materials. Notwithstanding the excellent results individuals have attained, on the whole HO has not the characteristics of convenience which are basic with OO. These considerations were influential in my own choice when both gauges were up for inspection some years ago; OO won, and I present the case for it just as it was built up then.The response on the side of HO was by James F. Dechert. From his response I would draw these bullets:
- OO requires 1/7 more space
- HO is very popular in England and has many more suppliers
- HO is much less expensive, OO manufacturers "continue to insist on building in metal and the HO world uses lighter materials"
- DC operation
Starting with the smallest track, the center table in the main room will have a complete 00-gauge system and this rolling stock will be in continuous operation during the Show. This almost microscopic scale has made great strides in the last few years. Both the locomotives and cars are now fully equal in performance to those in the larger scales.This illustration is given of the room and paints the clear picture that if you go to their popular annual show you will see OO gauge on display. Click on it for a better view.
Moving on to the March and April issues of The Model Craftsman, in March we find a small Nason ad focusing on rail. April has a classified advertisement from the OO Gauge Model Co. and also advertisements are to be found from Nason for their (sand cast) passenger car kits—Pullman, Coach, Coach Baggage, and Diner—priced between $5 and $6.50 and Fixen for their line of 16 figures for “H0 and 00.”
I profiled him briefly in a prior article; he worked closely with H. L. “Red” Adams and also obviously had some plans for OO production at that time. The bigger picture being that OO activity was spreading across the country, it was not as centered on a few individuals in the New York City area.
a side view may be seen in this article) and you can also get a sense of his layout as well; it looks like there is an upper level with a reefer on the tracks above the baggage car. Click on the photo for a larger image view.
When this series returns the topic will be the start of a series of articles by one of the most central figures to the development of American OO, Hugh Nason.
Continue to Part II