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

Friday, July 12, 2013

American OO for ’47: Part VII, … and More

To close our look at 1947 we have a variety of topics. One of those topics are the OO models by H.R. Treat seen in “Picture Parade” in Model Railroader. The January issue featured circus cars, and then in June we see this interesting model. The caption tells us that
H. R. Treat … likes antique and unusual equipment. He built this neat passenger, caboose, and baggage car for his OO Barbaraton & Theopolis RR. from plans in “The Model Railroad Cyclopedia.” Its prototype ran on the San Luis Central RR. The model was built from scratch. Cupola lights were used on some cars.
The two Items I can add is the car is on Nason trucks and this really is a nice car, one that I would hope might still be out there somewhere and in good shape. Also Treat had a photo of a nice bobber caboose in the November issue. He was doing his part to keep OO visible in the hobby press.

Next I would like to mention two names that will be familiar to regular readers of this website. The first photo of a Moale trolley is found in the October, 1947 issue of MR; it may be seen in this article. Also Pierre Bourassa mentioned in a quote found in this article that he purchased his first OO kit in 1947, a Scale-Craft stock car.

Another annual topic was the Model Railroader survey, and July has the results. There we read “… O and OO gauges have dropped to new lows percentage-wise although holding their own numerically….” Also I would note this quote from a survey response: “Too many gauges. Either OO or HO should be eliminated.” Paralleling the survey results too you can see pretty easily over the year that the size of the OO section of ads from mail order places was shrinking, and some months have pretty long lists of used OO for sale in Readers Exchange, neither of which is a good sign.

A final topic would be that of Railroad Magazine and OO. I could have referenced it a bit more in prior installments of this series as they published between 1940 and 1947 a number of feature articles related to OO gauge. To fill that gap not long ago I updated my main article on OO in Railroad Magazine, which may be read here. As to their OO features in 1947, what I posted there was that
One of the last OO gauge features is on The Cincinnatian, subtitled “Build an OO Gage Model of America’s Newest Streamlined Steam Train,” found in the June 1947 issue, by “The Nutsplitter.” It is not a detailed article but is OO oriented and is again a part of a series of articles related to this train....
After 1947 they still had model railroad features, but as a popular circulation magazine they moved these features toward more popular gauges, in particular HO.
The bad news is in the big picture. There is at least as much coverage of TT gauge in 1947 and certainly more S guage advertising. Still, perhaps OO gaugers were making more noise among the small gauge people, as seen in this cartoon from the December issue of Model Railroader.

In several ways 1947 was the end of an era. Besides several OO makers leaving the field, it was the last year of the small format version of Model Railroader and also the last year of Model Craftsman being a magazine devoted to multiple hobbies. But the hobby of model railroading was in general booming and OO had some real established enthusiasts. When the series returns the topic will be 1948, and for a sneak peek at a highlight of the year, 1948 was the year the first of two feature articles were published on the great Norfolk and Ohio layout of Carl Appel.

Return to beginning of 1947 Series

Continue in the 1948 Series

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