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

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh! Oh! Here's OO, part 2

As noted in part one, February of 2009 marks the 75th anniversary of an important feature article on OO, “Oh! Oh! Here's OO,” published in the February, 1934 issue of Model Railroader. The article focused on OO scale MU cars then being constructed by Temple Nieter, who was active in OO into the early 1980s.

Four of these cars were made, and at least one survives today. Here it is! These photos were first posted in 2005 to the American OO Yahoo group, with the question what was it? It is very clear this is an original Nieter car, lettered for his road the Lake Line and matching the article perfectly. The photos speak to another fact as well, that if a model once existed there is always a chance that it still might exist and turn up. This is seen all the time in train collecting and it is exciting to see it happen in OO.

The car featured on the cover of the February, 1934 issue of MR was unpowered; this one is powered.

The photos again in many ways speak for themselves, posted here with the permission of the current owner of this model Mike Slater. Click on any of them for a larger view.

The motor is large and is clearly seen in these photos. According to the article it should be an early Mantua motor, and it does look a bit primitive.

Nieter had at the time very recently earned degrees in physics and engineering and had a rather grand scheme for a power system for his layout with working overhead wiring. I believe that it might have closely resembled modern command control systems if worked out fully. In the article he states,
The plan is for constant trolley voltage from a storage battery floated across a trickle charger. Reverser and speed controller are in the trailer car, actuated by alternating currents of medium audio frequency superimposed upon the trolley direct current. Suitable chokes and condensers separate the two currents. So many bugs have turned up in the mechanisms that progress has been halting.
Nieter certainly started out with three-rail and so far as I know stuck with it until the end of his OO operations in 1984, but I believe using more conventional voltages and power supplies. This model looks to be set up for outside third rail with third rail shoes on the trucks.

The car is not currently operable but the owner hopes to return it to operating condition. And Mike does run his OO; his 1938 Lionel set is the one featured running in the YouTube video in this post.

What an interesting find! It is hoped that the three mates for this car also still exist. If any reader has other Lake Line cars of any type I would be happy to feature them as well.

Temple Nieter was the person who encouraged me the most as a young OO gauger, and I certainly enjoyed very much seeing this car and preparing this article. Thank you again Mike S. for sharing these great photos.

UPDATE: See this article for more on the Mantua Midjet Motor.

And the story does not end! Nieter penned another article with a very similar article that was published in Model Railroader in 1984. Continue reading at the link below for yet more.

Continue reading "Oh, oh!" series

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