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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OO Variety in 1941, Part IV: Graceline


Graceline Model Railroads was a steady advertiser in The Model Railroader in 1941 and had an expanding OO line.

To begin the year, in January they had nice new item, 6 wheel Pullman trucks. I have updated an older article on this truck with their advertisement, check here for more.

The next month we find another small ad in MR, this one boasting that “3,000 OO gaugers can’t be wrong!” You get the sense they were pretty excited about OO and were selling some product.

In March we get this ad which focuses on their new sprung Andrews with a great photo. These trucks were reviewed briefly in Trade Topics in the April issue of MR as follows.
A well detailed Andrews freight truck in OO gauge has been brought out by Graceline Models [sic]. The truck is sprung and equalized. Four actual working coil springs are employed to provide the springing action and the bolster works and locks on the side frame much the same as the prototype. Considerable detail has been incorporated in the bolster and the side frame. The inside of the wheels also have spiral-like detail. Good rolling qualities.
What they fail to mention is that these trucks are overscale and closer to S than OO. I have several pair of these trucks but none with the “spiral-like detail” mentioned on the wheelsets. A gondola on a pair of these trucks may be seen in this article (scroll down). Casting runs varied; some of what I have of these truck castings are in great shape and others are completely unusable today.

I would also mention that their automatic couplers were another product they pushed. There is a review/overview of the topic to be found in Trade Topics in August of 1941.

Then we get to this great, half page ad published in the November issue of Model Railroader. And it is big news as they have out 9 new body kits! I don't have their 1941 catalog but I do have one from early WWII; I believe by this date they had out most of the cars listed in this Graceline overview article. Also, note the bottom line of the ad: “Let’s boost OO!”

Of the cars listed, I have the instructions for the outside braced boxcar. This model is not common (the Hawk version being seen relatively often) and would be one to keep your eyes out for. Note the steel ends (which were metal castings, marked Graceline on the back) and doors. Also note in the drawing the one most easily identified feature of these cars, the cast metal frame, which is represented accurately in the drawing.

Finally, to close, in the December issue of MR Graceline pushed their warning signal, which were also reviewed in same issue in Trade Topics. I have several of these; they are quite a bit overscale, to the extent they must be close to O gauge. Originally they came with a printed sheet, according to the review. I believe these were also later produced by Transportation Models after the war.

In short though Graceline was looking to boost OO and sell some models. When the series returns the focus will be a number of smaller firms in the OO market.

Continue in 1941 Series

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