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

Monday, August 18, 2008

Zuhr Streamliners 101

As a part of my goal to cover American OO from A-Z I recently posted on Red Adams so it is a good time to hit the other end of the alphabet with Zuhr. Henry Zuhr, Inc. (Duraliner) was located in New York, NY, and their line of OO scale aluminum passenger cars was first advertised in Model Railroader in December of 1949. The line included:
001 Coach
002 Diner
003 18 roomette Pullman
004 Combination Pullman
005 Baggage coach combination
006 U.S. mail
007 Observation
008 Baggage
These smooth side streamliners are very easy to spot if you ever see them. Most of the major parts for an observation car are in the photo.

This is the first advertisement. In some papers recently received (UPDATE 2013) I found the form letter you would have received if you had written to them then for more information. It opens,
Dad-blame it !!! Something had to be done. Well ----- We did it ----- !
Here is what you have been waiting for. One of the first real pieces of equipment that has been added to "OO" gauge in years. We give you ----- All Aluminum Streamline Pullmans and Coaches (smooth sides).....
The kits are supplied with all necessary parts, screws and rivets needed for complete assembly, and can be put together in a very short time. The only tools necessary are a small hammer, screw-driver and file. You do not have to be a mastercraftsman, but the appearance depends on your skill.
We are manufacturing these cars for the neglected "OO" Gauger (including ourselves). We want to make other items for you too. So support us in our efforts to grow, and let us know what you want next in "OO"
Yours for bigger and better "OO"
Hildegard Schuler
Herbert Swan
And there is a P.S. that notes the new F-3 diesels from Fred Schorr and the Famoco GG-1, "Either of these 'loco's' with our cars would make your Dream-liner." The initial price was $5.95 complete with trucks. One oddity of the line was that the trucks supplied by Zuhr were actually regauged HO Varney F-3 trucks. While this truck was workable and is seen on models today, Schorr soon produced a much better truck that was well suited to this car, as did also Kemtron.

Finally, I wonder who exactly this Henry Zuhr was? The owners of the firm on the letter are apparently business partners and are not named Henry Zuhr, and the letter has a hand written additional note on it from H. Schuler. A bit of a mystery -- perhaps a reader can provide an insight on the manufacturer name of these great OO models.

UPDATES: Thanks to Dick Gresham I have posted a copy of the Zuhr instruction sheet here and also see this article for a longer description of each of the cars listed above as to length and more. Also see this article for photos of my train of Zuhr passenger cars (two of which are seen above) and this article for a similar train owned by Dick Gresham.

Also see this article for the 1950 Trade Topics review of the Zuhr streamliners.

1 comment:

C. R. Chinoy said...

The original kits likely included Varney's F-3 trucks because Varney's initial wood HO streamlined cars did as well. Their one-piece cast 4 wheel passenger truck seems to have been confined to conventional cars, and their sprung passenger truck was not released until the metal baked-enamel finished streamliner cars came out.