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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And Then There’s Vanden Boom. Part I: Reefers

Regular readers might assume that this website has by now covered it all in American OO! But actually, Vanden Boom is a perfect example of the more you study a subject the more you discover there is to learn.

Looking at a list of car sides I recently received that had been put together by a deceased OO gauger I saw references to a very large line of printed car sides by Vanden Boom, a pre-war hobby shop in Kansas City. The name rang a bell in a way as I had seen their advertisements such as this one from MR, 11/40 -- and it is just a memorable name -- but they basically never mentioned OO gauge in their advertising which puzzled me a great deal. And then, digging in my files I discovered that I actually had instructions for their caboose kit as well!

This all led to my buying a copy of their 1940 catalog, which is the source of the great illustration below. Click on the photo for a better view. They offered a large line of reefer cars with printed sides in O, OO, and HO, something that so far as I can tell their print advertising never indicated! Their Model Railroader advertising typically only indicated they had a catalog and, in late 1940 various specific models with no gauge indicated. But I should note that OO does come up in their advertising for one specific product -- a series of ads beginning in the May, 1939 issue of MR features their new HO and OO tie strip.

The actual car numbers listed below are as printed in the illustration. The Private Reefers number -- PR-1, etc. -- is as in the illustration in the catalog, but when they list the specific OO versions of these models later in the catalog the numbers are 00R1, etc.

PR-1 Union Refrigerator/IGA 16803
PR-2 Union Refrigerator/Carnation 23090
PR-3 Union Refrigerator/Pabst-ett 23249
PR-4 Union Refrigerator/Heileman’s 19511
PR-5 Union Refrigerator/Prima Beer 19524
PR-6 Union Refrigerator/A&P 23027
PR-7 HBCX 101 Hills Bros.
PR-8 Union Refregerator/Phenix Cheese 23237
PR-9 URTC 23333 Pabst
PR-10 Union Refrigerator/Carnation 23099
PR-11 URTC 40679 Best Foods
PR-12 NADX 6000 Pacific Egg Producers
PR-13 NADX 1828 Page Milk
PR-14 NADX 2688 Pluto Water
PR-15 NADX 6337 Land O’ Lakes
PR-16 URTC 93185 Miller High Life
PR-17 URT 66000 Hormel
PR-18 NPKX 100 Pikes Peak Pure Lard
PR-19 DMRL 2532 Decker Meat
PR-20 NADX 3116 White House Brand Poultry
PR-21 NADX 6268 Baby Ruth
PR-22 Northern/Bananas 7100
PR-23 Cudhay 7471; one side Old Dutch Cleanser and the other Puritan
PR-24 CIPX 101 College Inn
PR-25 ART 419 Crazy Crystals
PR-26 URTC 10802 Jelke’s
PR-27 WWDX 1043 Wescott & Winks
PR-28 WCL 7554 Wilson’s
PR-29 KOHX 1005 Kohrs
PR-30 MFAX 105 Producers Creamery
PR-31 URTC 93132 Schlitz

31 different sides! There is also a line of Standard Reefers, those being listed only with their OO item numbers below. These models were “not lettered, but sides painted, decals furnished.” The illustration below is from the catalog and shows a Private Reefer and a Standard Reefer, presumably the actual OO models they sold as they look as if they could be on Nason trucks. But ... the Blatz car is not a model listed for sale! So yet another layer of mystery there, or maybe it is the 0037 car, with decals?

0032 SFRD
0033 CB&Q
0034 MILW
0035 SOO
0036 NP
0037 URTC
0038 NWX
0039 BOWX
0040 NRC
0041 RI
0042 FGEX
0043 PFE
0044 Erie
0045 MDTSP
0046 MDTWP
0047 M&StL
0048 ART

A total of 48 different reefers are listed; building all those could keep you busy for years. I also mentioned a caboose kit earlier, and the line was even large than that! For more read on to Part II.

Continue reading Part II.

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