The Model Craftsman for March, 1938 is the first to present a report and photos, in the form of a short article with nine photos (including this view of OO pioneer Hugh Nason with a 2-8-0), “written on the day after the opening.”
…OO-gauge, 4mm. scale model of the Southern Pacific Mountain type, complete in all details. The man in the photo is Ernie Horrocks of the Flatbush A.M.E. He did not build the engine. It came from the MODEL CRAFTSMAN Experimental Shop.Careful with those pliers! Click on the photo for a better view of this scratchbuilt model.
their great 1938 catalog, which featured color photos! More on that here. Nason had “a complete line of passenger and freight locomotives,” and Star-Continental had their new 4-4-2 model. “Visitors were impressed with the simplicity of assembling the component parts.”
Turning to The Model Railroader, in their April issue they also had two reports on the shows in New York, one a signed report by Robert LeMassena and the other by “Onlooker.” LeMassena is pretty positive on the whole show. “In OO gauge Howard Winther, some of whose work is shown in the photo section of the February Model Railroader, displayed a new Erie 4-6-0 with two coaches,” featured in part I of this present series. He continues, “Because space requirements at the Society were not sufficient for proper manufacturer representation, the Association of Model Railroad Manufacturers sponsored a second show which ran concurrently several doors down the same side of the same street.” He fills in other details of interest to us, such as at the manufacturers show “A solid Scale-Craft train, an 0-6-0 switcher, an NYC Hudson, and a PRR P-5 were all going on the OO layout.” Keep in mind there were two different OO layouts; this photo below is of the OO gauge Union Dock & Terminal RR of the NYSME (with part of the O gauge layout visible as well on the left). According to LeMassena the NYSME layout had “short runs … made with a couple of locomotives and a few cars.” We will come back to the manufacturer’s layout in a minute.
In regard to the layouts exhibited in the various gauges: It seems to me that they were too hurriedly put together. The O gauge layout could have been operated in a more interesting manner. It is poor salesmanship to operate an electric switch by hand, for instance. The OO gauge layout was only a demonstration for motive power and did not show the real possibilities of this gauge. The HO layout would have been better left out entirely, especially as Mantua had a really attractive operating line within a few feet of it.The big picture though is, as noted by the Onlooker, “that there is a real and growing interest in this hobby of ours” and also I would add Lionel must have been chomping at the bit to get into OO with it being such a visible gauge at this show with so much new product featured by other firms.
Train Life website) is in an article on "Scale Comparisons" in the March/April 1938 issue. They took advertising and the first OO related advertisement I see is from you guessed it, Nason Railways, this ad at left is found in the July/August issue. I like the sentiment: "It is easy to build in 'OO' gauge." They ran a good year of advertisements in this publication.
they had a feature article on the new NYSME layout. The layout in the photo above had to be torn down with a new layout well underway in the article. But in the article they included this track plan, which is of the 1938 layout. In the article it reconfirms that on the 1938 layout "there was a subsidiary called the Union Dock and Terminal Railroad and operated as a narrow gauge division of the larger road. The dock and terminal line was '00' gauge." Looking at the plan you can easily see the perspective of the photo (the OO line being over on the right side), and that the 1938 and new 1939 layouts were featured in this magazine makes total sense as part of Lionel promoting their O and OO scale products.
To close, I would mention that Scale-Craft started publishing their Blow-Smoke newsletter in May of 1938. The beginning of that series is here.
When we return to this series we will have some big news (hinted at above) that will energize OO gauge even more.
Continue in 1938 Series