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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two Early Hopper Cars by Howard Winther

Among the photos I recently received of OO gauge equipment by Howard Winther (see here for more background) are photos of a pair of early hopper cars. Click on any photo for a larger view; they are all certainly worth a close look.

First up we have this Pennsylvania hopper. First up is this ¾ shot which shows not only his personal coupler style (more info in this article) but also just the general level of detail. The car looks to be wood with metal details, everything very nicely proportioned and riding on his homemade trucks.

The side view shows more detail. Note that the lettering is a combination of hand lettering and decals. I would think the decals were added later, and the car has a coal load just visible. Note also the hand painted built date and marking with it: “H.W. 3-36.”

Mention of Winther is found a couple months later in the May, 1936 issue of The Model Railroader.  In their "Along the Division" column we read that,
The OO gauge Bergen & Western of Howard Winther ... [of] Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., has added 10 freight cars. The line now has 4 engines and 26 cars. Two-rail distribution is used.
From that this car must have been part of that group of ten new cars. This car was rolling on his layout in 1936, more than a year before Scale-Craft introduced their die cast hopper car and some two years before Lionel entered the OO market.

The final photo is of another hopper, this one also scratchbuilt but of Western Maryland prototype. This one seems to be a little more recent in construction, with a few more details in the brake hardware, ramp operated hook and loop couplers, decal lettering, and Scale-Craft trucks. Note how the cars are similar yet distinct, based on different prototypes.

Thanks again to the Winther family for these great photos, which we will be visiting again soon.

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