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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

American OO for 1958-59: Part III, and Into 1959

Model railroading itself was booming in 1959, and notably the January, 1959 issue of Model Railroader is their 25th anniversary issue. American OO gauge was not too prominent in the issue, but on p. 92 we do read that “For a while, it looked as if OO gauge was to be the most popular of the small sizes….”

Moving ahead to their June issue we do see some great OO model making on display. In this case it is custom locomotive models built for Major McCoid by Jerry White (Superior Models). There are two engines featured. First up is this New Haven Class I-4 Pacific. McCoid was then stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Califorinia and he enjoyed his hobby by having models custom made for him, operating them on the layouts of others. This particular model had previously been seen in RMC in 1953; more on this model and on Jerry White may be seen in this article.

The second engine is this stunning Erie triplex. The caption notes that “A Pittman DC-91 is used to drive all 24 of the loco’s drivers!” Given the right layout to run on it must have been an extremely impressive model and surly these fine models still exist today?

Turning to Railroad Model Craftsman, in their September issue we find a great quote on OO from Hal Casrtens. It is in an editorial talking about all the different gauges, and of OO he wrote:
OO GAUGE – You’re way out in left field with OO gauge, a size which once seriously threatened to push out HO. Imports from Japan plus a few domestic items (and adaptable HO accessories) make life pleasant enough for pockets of real die hard modelers who wouldn’t trade OO for an island full of wild women.
In the next issue we also find this photo of a Schorr 2-8-0 on layout of George Jones. It is pretty much looking just like it would have looked out of the box from Japan, but the caption provides one interesting footnote on the OO clubs in New Jersey. Jones is active in the ABCOOR group and it states that 24 volt motors are “standard on member roads of the ABCOOR club.” Having owned several models from layouts of members of the North Jersey group, for sure they were running 12 volt DC, which eventually became the standard for those remaining active in American OO.

Keen observers of OO history will know there was one more layout story published in 1958-59, a very major one on a "super railroad," which will be the topic of the final (oh my!) article of this series.

UPDATE: Ed Schorr, son of OO manufacturer Fred Schorr, follows the site and he reports that the Erie Triplex "was built for Capt. Lacado (sp?), who was captain of the USS Upshur, a troop ship." He also notes that "His wife was very helpful in getting photos and measurements for the 2-8-0 Ma & Pa in 00." Thank you Ed! I recall seeing references to a Captain and will be looking for those again as I fill in details of OO history further.

Continue Reading 1958-59 Series

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