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

Saturday, September 28, 2013

American OO for 1948: Part IV, H. R. Treat and Other Notes

One of the more visible OO gauge enthusiasts in 1948 was H. R. Treat of Teaneck, NJ. Magazines seem to have been looking for good photos and he was taking them and sending them in! For we find,

  • MC February -- a Lionel 4-6-4 on a bridge
  • MC April -- circus combine model
  • MR May -- circus baggage car
  • MC September -- article on building a dining-lounge-observation

There had been views of his models published in 1947 and would be even more views of his models in both magazines in future years, so this is a good point to jump ahead a little in our narrative. In MR in February of 1949, under the heading “Track Plan of the Month” there is an article on his layout with a number of interesting details. Turning there first, the layout is mostly nestled in one end of a large room (20’ x 30’) with a single track looping around nearly three walls. The curves are super-elevated and 36” radius, with one section of 2.75% grade on the mainline. The layout ran on 12 volts DC and was divided into four cabs, but also “a d.p.d.t. switch tucked away under the benchwork enables AC operation when required for unconverted foreign locomotives, a feature not found on many roads.” This type of setup allowed for running Lionel locomotives for example on the layout, and is a feature that I have pondered adding to my layout. Finally,
Operation consists of making up and running fast mail, coach or Pullman passenger trains, peddler freight and switcher runs, plus the usual engine terminal maneuvering. It is possible to run long trains on the B&T – six- to 8-car passengers and up to 25-car freights.
This photo (from the September MC article) is captioned “The main yards of the Barbaraton and Theapolis Railroad,” and in it you can see a Lionel Hudson (probably converted to DC operation, as it is decorated for his road) and also another locomotive that I would guess to be a Scale-Craft 0-6-0. The earlier photo in this article is of a Lionel Hudson "carrying the Fast Mail" on a bridge, the latter described in the caption as being “designed for Cooper E-60 loading.” It is a layout I could have enjoyed and was in ways ahead of its time with around the wall design. Besides having an interest in sharing them I think part of what got his photos published was that he had, as he states in the September article, “a yen for the unusual.”

Moving on to a few more random items, one item worth mentioning is in the May issue of MR is found a report on the annual NYSME show -- Howard Winther won OO loco prize for his Erie Berkshire. But it was not a new model, if the same one already seen in print as far back as 1936. 

With the big slowdown of products some people were moving on to other scales. In MC in August Edmund Collins is mentioned as a “clearing house for the narrow gaugers” and he had moved on to On3. He had a scratchbuilt OO locomotive on the cover of MR in 1941. The article itself has one other item of note for the OO gauger, the On model locomotive is built on a Nason 2-8-0 drive.  And in another case of moving on, Richard Houghton authored a long series on building an S gauge layout that was published in MR. A 1946 view of his OO layout may be seen here and an earlier view of his OO layout in 1940 is in this article.

With that I will conclude this look at 1948. Things were really slowing down, and in terms of being a commercially viable scale American OO was at best on life support; not enough product was moving for a real manufacturer to make money. But there were some very enthusiastic followers of the scale who soldiered on, and as the series continues a focus will be those individuals, their layouts, their products.

Return to beginning of 1948 Series

Continue to 1949 Series

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