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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

American OO in 1936, Part V: Products on the Upswing

If you were to pick up as a first issue of The Model Craftsman the June, 1936 issue you would have found nearly the entire Nason line at the time listed inside the front cover in the Hobby Craft Store advertisement and later in the issue this advertisement by Nason itself. Nason had a network of at least three dealers at that time for their line but felt it still important to specifically mention that OO gauge was ¾” between the rails.

The bigger news for us in retrospect in this same issue is found on page 49, a half page advertisement announcing that American Model Engineers, Inc, had changed hands and was now known as SCALE-MODELS, INC. The president of this O gauge line was now Elliott Donnelley and with a pledge for faster service and prompt delivery he notes that
Every Scale-Craft feature will be retained—manufacture to scale—fidelity of reproduction—excellence of materials—moderate prices. The greatest railroad line in America will be kept as before except that improvements will be continue to be made as in the past.
Not in the ad, but we all know, development of an OO line was in the picture either by that date or soon.

In 1936 another OO line did enter the field, LIMCO or the Long Island Scale Model Co. This is their first advertisement, in the July issue of The Model Craftsman, which curiously hides what exactly they have coming out. The signature item of their line was their die cast 64’ PRR MU coach, an example of which may be seen in this article. It is a very rare item today. Their ad in the August issue of The Model Craftsman has a lot more text and details of their MU car drive with fully equalized trucks, and hints at freight car production as well, which ultimately included a reefer, a box car, and a tank car, all very rare.

Looking at those two issues of The Model Craftsman it is interesting to note there is an article in the July issue on building an OO sand house and in the August issue a big article on HO by Eric La Nal that completely ignores OO.

The other big new item of 1936 was the Nason Hudson. The development of this model was hinted at in their 1936 catalog and it is first announced in the October issue of The Model Craftsman, but no ad with a photo of the model appeared until the December issue, reproduced here. Photos of a nearly complete kit may be found in this article. The model came just in time to keep OO going forward, as HO had a number of products coming in as well and for example in that same, December issue there are two articles to be found on building HO locomotives.

As Nason was the only company with locomotives in production at this point in time so their electrical setup was the 1936 default for American OO. The model initially was three rail with a AC/DC motor and was set up to be used with a hand reverse as well. More on bench testing this type of motor may be found here.

Another maker that I have not made note of yet was H. L. "Red" Adams. He was active working toward OO products and sold a limited number of  SP 4-6-2 models, the patterns of which he would sell to Scale-Craft. He was also a very prolific author in The Model Craftsman; I describe his early adventures in OO in more depth here.

Finally, another line came in with OO gauge production, Strombecker, discussed in this article. Certainly their OO sized wood models helped expose the scale to a wider audience and helped build the audience for OO. But HO, as already noted, was coming on strong and a battle was clearly underway. More on that battle will be noted in the final installment of this series on 1936.

Continue to conclusion of 1936 Series

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