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

Sunday, March 17, 2013

American OO in 1946, Part II: Scale-Craft Starts the Year with Big Plans


As the year started Scale-Craft was trying to gear back up for model railroad production. Instead of issuing a new catalog their 1941-42 catalog was simply reprinted with a bit of revised text, some items marked “not available,” and a price sheet. From the text of this later printing, on page 2 we have the screaming headline “IMPORTANT NOTICE! Read this first!”
Because of the difficulties now plaguing the industrial world and the uncertainty of deliveries of materials and supplies we are unable to offer, at this time, all of the items which were available prior to the war. In order that we may give you a catalog without too much delay we have reprinted our 1941-1942 issue. Those items which have been temporarily withdrawn have been marked “not available at present”….
To simplify our inventory control we have instituted a new system of numbering all parts. To avoid confusion we are showing both old and new numbers in the price list.
I have multiple copies of the price sheet dated effective Feb. 15, 1946, which would seem to be the first one issued after the war. The catalog shows as available all the passenger cars (passenger, baggage, Pullman sleeper, observation, and diner) along with the reefer, box car, stock car, tank, flat car, hopper, and caboose. The O gauge line was stripped down even more, with no locomotives available in either scale. The sheet notes also that those items in the catalog marked as not available “are being redesigned and will appear gradually throughout 1946 in new clothes.”

 The March issue of The Model Craftsman has the same drawing that was published last year in The Model Railroader of their new plant. The text notes that this was “Probably the first modern manufacturing plant ever designed especially for the production of scale model railroad equipment.” It has “glass walls for daylight efficiency” and note in particular that “The plant covers several acres of an eight-acre plot.” This was no small operation.

UPDATE: See this article for more on this factory.

That same month MC and MR both have full page ads that feature their trucks, and looking ahead a couple months the MC back cover for May has this full page ad trumpeting their new draft gear. Looking at it now, the product is a bit of a head scratcher for me. I have several examples, but none on cars as I basically don’t use dummy couplers on the layout. The ad copy says this was a “major improvement for the development of model railroading” but I am more inclined to think was this a product people were really waiting for? I am not sure many would have thought it worth the extra $1 to gain a little slack action.

What people were really waiting for was locomotives, and certainly during the first half of the year no Scale-Craft locomotives shipped out in OO or O gauges.

Scale-Craft has BIG news later in 1946, but before this series covers that we have several other makers to look at, in particular Nason Railways, which will be the topic of the next installment.

Continue in 1946 Series

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