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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

American OO in 1936, part IV: The 1936 Nason Catalog

Back more than two years ago I was given a scan of a copy of the Nason 1936 catalog. I have converted this to a full PDF version that has been posted to the files area of the OO Yahoo group, and it is also the topic of this installment of the 1936 series.

The cover is printed with their address being in New Rochelle, N.Y., but in my copy it has been over stamped with their Mount Vernon, New York mailing address. Imagine you got a copy of this in the mail back in 1936 of a full line of products in American OO. It is a small but impressive line in a new scale in a new hobby. The Forword reads,
You have undoubtedly stood on a station platform at night, after the Limited’s markers have become a mere speck in the darkness, and sensed a thrill. In the construction of a model railroad system, we visualize in each part of the labor the thrill that will come at the disappearance of our own Limited as it passes through a gorge or into a tunnel bound for its destination. This reaction is undoubtedly the same that has caused the popularity of this hobby to grow in rapid strides for old and young alike, both in this country and abroad. The thrill of your completed models will repay you a thousand fold for the many pleasant hours you have spent in their construction.

It is our desire to constantly offer you new and better model equipment, and to continually improve existing models. To aid us in carrying out this objective we welcome constructive criticism and suggestions.

If in the construction of any model or in the layout of your system you are confronted with a problem, we sincerely hope that you will at all times feel free to call on us for any assistance which we may be able to offer.
With that we get to the models in the line. First up is the P-5A, illustrated in the photo above.
The P-5A model locomotive (Pennsylvania Railroad) is an accurately detailed representation of its prototype. On actual test it has pulled 20 pounds without overheating. It is ruggedly constructed of bronze castings and is a twin motored job. It is approximately 9 ½ inches long and is an excellent unit with which to start your systems motive power.
The model sold as a finished locomotive for $59.50, as an unmachined kit for $22.00, and as a machined kit for $24.00. Sign me up for a machined kit!

Next up is a section titled “Steam Outline Parts.” What were advertised were drive wheels, tender trucks, smoke box front, etc. for a “Hudson type” locomotive. Their 4-6-4 model would not hit the market until later in 1936, but they could get you started with some useful parts by the date of this catalog.

Their standard motor was the “NASON Super Power” motor with 2” shafts. It was advertised as operating at 10 volts AC or DC. It sold for $4.00 and would have been operated with the hand reverse unit that sold for another $1.25 complete.

Next up were the passenger cars. The main listing was for the “EASY-BUILT” cars (Pullman, diner, combination, or coach) with “Bristol or die stamped and formed brass sides.” I have only seen the brass side versions of these cars; I would assume that the Bristol board type would only be very early production. Also available were the rarer cast aluminum passenger cars (Pullman, combination, coach, or all service express). Of these, they note that “These kits are the same as the EASY-BUILT type except that the car sides and floor are cast aluminum.” This photo is provided but it is difficult to say if it is the stamped side or cast version of the Pullman. This may have been intentional.

On the facing page we have their passenger trucks in a sharp photo. The four wheel trucks are PRR or Commonwealth types with bronze sideframes. Price ranged from kits for the 4-wheel trucks at $1.15 to an assembled 6 wheel truck at $2.75. Of the kit for the 6 wheel truck they note “The detailed drawing furnished with these kits make the assembly an easy matter.” However, having seen my share of sideframes that were never built up into trucks, the sideframes in the kit versions of these have no holes drilled or tapped in the bronze which would have been a very difficult job without some serious tools. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Finally we get to freight cars, their EASY-BUILT box and refrigerator cars. These were a great bargain at only $1.00. They wrote,
The sides and ends of these cars are PAINTED, SCORED and LETTERED with HEARLDS. RIVET HEADS are provided in the side and end panels of all steel box and automobile cars. The sides and end panels of the refrigerator cars are SCRIBED to represent the sheathing thus overcoming a difficult job for the model builder. The provision of the lettering and heralds on the finished car sides and ends eliminates one of the hardest jobs that the average model maker encounters….
Nason also offered hardware kits to complete these cars at a price of $2.00. These included either cast aluminum reefer hatches or boxcar doors, a cast aluminum underframe, grab irons and ladders, and assembled trucks. These items could also be purchased for separate sale.

My scanned copy of the catalog only shows seven pages but I believe there is or should be a final page. Reference is made in the listing for the freight cars of a “CAR LIST” to see the kits available.

Another thing to be read into the catalog is there is no mention of anything being available in two rail. It is clearly assumed that you will be operating OO with an outside third rail, visible in several of the photos above. That changed with the introduction of the Scale-Craft and Lionel OO lines.

The big picture though is in 1936 OO had a manufacturer that was happy to help anyone getting in the gauge. They were being joined by others, who will be the focus of the next article in this series.

Continue to Part V of 1936 Series

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