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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hand lettered, factory sides from Graceline

One of the most notable things about early Graceline OO production is that models were marketed with sides that were hand lettered at the factory.

For example these two cars selected from my collection. The photos are of both sides of the cars.

You have to look back and forth a few times but you begin to see the differences. On the reefer, first look at the head scarf of the old Dutch woman, and also the U in “Cudahy.” These sides were not printed or decaled. Both sides were actually hand lettered, I would suspect in batches.

You can see differences in the SP box car lettering as well, the shape of the numbers, etc. This car is riding on their early type of truck that looks like Scale-Craft but is not, the wheelbase is longer and they have a different bolster. Look closely at the small lettering. I can’t imagine doing this lettering with a fine brush, but someone did it back in 1939 or 40. The circular logo is however not hand painted, it is printed on paper and was glued on the car sides.

Back to the reefer, it has a stamped brass roof that includes all details in one stamping (plus a wood roof walk), which is also interesting. The sides of both cars are a pressed fiber material scribed to look like wood.

Click on the photos to zoom in on the details even more, the comparison will be clearer. Interesting vintage cars!

UPDATE: The boxcar was further rebuilt here.

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