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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

1934 Series Bonus: Scratchbuilt OO Gauge Trucks

Before moving on to 1935 in the series on OO history, I was very recently able to purchase five more issues of The Model Craftsman from 1934, which shed a bit more light on the situation for the OO gaugers of that day.

The earliest of the issues just obtained is the April issue and it in we find an extended report on the 1934 New York Society of Model Engineers show, complete with many photos of manufacturer displays. For example, "The Mantua Toy & Novelty Company had a display of their 00-gauge and 0-gauge motors, specially designed for this work." Also Fixen had a display (which is seen in a photo as well) of "Standard and 0-gauge materials that showed switches and track for replacing the regular tin variety. They also had motors and car bodies for multiple unit trains." And also in this issue Nieter was advertising his OO gauge MU cars and parts.

In the May/June issue (there were only ten issues published that year, July/August were also combined) Fixen had an ad that notes "00 wheels on axle 60c 4 pair. Soon in production." These wheels would have been very handy to build the trucks featured in the November 1934 issue and illustrated below.

The article was by William O. Hillary and is part two of his article "Construction of a 00-Gauge Refrigerator Car" that was featured in this previous post. He begins,
The trucks for the 00-Gauge freight car are quite simple to construct, but it is advisable to purchase the finished wheels, which come complete on the axle.
The side frames are made out of sheet metal 1/16" thick. The design should be drawn out and then marked on the surface of the metal with a fine centre punch. Then drill and file out the open holes. Use a fine rat-tail file to finish the interior corners. 
The axle boxes should then be made out of 1/8" square brass and sweat soldered onto the side frames. Then drill the holes for the axles on the inside of the frames, being sure that those holes are not drilled through the axleboxes. Use a drill that is slightly larger than the axle ends. These should run freely.... 
The cross piece, which connects the two frames together, is made out of 1/8" square brass, and is fastened to the side frames with shouldered bolts. ... The frames should be loose on the crosspiece in order that the wheels can take up the inequalities in the track. The holes in the side frames should be made to fit snugly over the shoulder of the bolts.
His article concludes by explaining how to drill the center hole in the crosspiece to attach the trucks to the car and also has notes on painting the trucks. To see some very similar trucks on a car, look at the trucks in this article by Howard Winther, especially the caboose. They should be made by a similar method, with the bolt heads exposed on the outside, and look different than the trucks he described in his 1933 article on the topic of trucks.

In spite of Hillary saying that these were "quite simple to construct," making a pair of trucks from scratch from two types of brass stock (1/16" sheet and 1/8" square) could not have been easy. If you have a car riding on trucks of this general type you can be pretty sure that they are very early trucks.

Also, looking at the big picture of this, trucks were a big concern of early OO gaugers. Of all the early articles on American OO this is perhaps the only topic to have two articles published. The availability of commercial trucks for OO gauge use would get better in 1935, more on that soon.

Return to the beginning of the 1934 series.

Continue to 1935 series.

1 comment:

Nealie said...

if you like scratch built models check out this tumblr site:
scratchbuiltmodels.tumblr dot com
It just started but some cool pix are already posted and instructions will be included