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

Monday, October 24, 2011

1939, the Peak Year: Part II, Nason

Continuing with 1939, while Nason was pretty invisible in The Model Railroader, showing up only in the advertisements of dealers, they were regular advertisers in The Model Craftsman and Miniature Railroading. Starting with Miniature Railroading, their advertisement in the January, 1939 issue trumpeted their new, 5th anniversary catalog. The text there modesty notes that they have the “Largest OO line available.” So to start we should take a brief look at that catalog.

The format of the catalog is 5.5 by 8.5 inches and the text opens as follows.
In compiling this Fifth Anniversary Edition Catalogue we take rightful pride in the rapid strides made in Model Railroading since our advent, as well as our own improvement. Interest, new confidence, and your continued patronage will forge the permanence of 00 gauge in its proper position in the Hobby of all Hobbies. Its position of “correctness in size, economy in cost, and the excellence in detail which 00 is capable of having” keep us forever alert to furnish a Quality job, for the average man’s pocketbook with the average space available for his system’s construction. Be sure to ask for our product by Name, and you will not be disappointed.
The line as 1939 began included (in the order listed in the catalog):
Most of these models have been featured at some point in American OO Today; check the links above for more information on these models.

Their advertising though the year in The Model Craftsman highlighted a number of new items in their line, often with full page advertisements.

For example in March they highlighted the new 00 easybilt (this was spelled a number of ways, depending on the year) track and switches. This was actually featured in the 1939 catalog as well. These were precision cut from “Nasonboard” with built-up switches available. The tie strip includes every 8th tie lengthened for an outside third rail. In April the news is they have lowered the prices of their freight car body kits to 75 cents and also that they had added the former Star-Continental 4-4-2 model to their line. In May the featured item is their Gas-Electric. By August the caboose kit is out as it is featured in the advertisement, and in November we get to another very new model, this “diesel electric locomotive,” seen in this first photo as presented in the advertisement.

For comparison, I have been waiting to post this photo of a very handsome Nason box cab diesel electric, this model having been built by the OO pioneer Howard Winther. It is interesting to compare it to the one featured in the full page ad in November (seen, again, in the first photo) as it is the "custom built" version of this model, “Completely painted and ready to place on your model rails for full time service. No construction is necessary.” As I noted in a longer article on this model, it is sort of an odd model in a way as while always marketed as a diesel, actually it is a model of a New Haven electric locomotive but built up without pantographs. Note in particular the slightly different roof details. The body of the model itself is “of the finest government bronze” and oh, the built up version was offered for only $48.00. “We pay postage.”

Nason was very New York in outlook and focused their line on that market. The line was to be on display at the National Model Show in New York and as also noted in that November ad they were proud to be “The oldest and most complete line of OO equipment in the country.” But they had some stiff competition. When this series returns the focus will be on Scale-Craft in 1939.

Continue to Part III of 1939 Series

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