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

Friday, March 20, 2009

“Scale Models Chicago”

More than a few people over the years have been confronted by a classic American OO gauge die cast 4-6-0, 4-4-2 or 4-6-4T model and have wondered what company made it. The only marking on the locomotive itself is “Scale Models Chicago” as in the photo below. The words are on a builders plate below the smokestack; click on the photo for a larger view.

I remember wondering why this Scale-Craft model was marked this way when I first got started in OO. The answer is actually pretty simple. When Scale-Craft introduced their OO gauge line in 1937 the Chicago-based company was officially known as “Scale-Models, Inc.” They produced “Scale-Craft Working Models.” Even at that time the line was known primarily as Scale-Craft, and later the name was officially changed to Scale-Craft, but the dies remained unchanged and these locomotives are marked with the more obscure Scale Models Chicago marking. But rest assured that these are Scale-Craft products.

UPDATE: See the comments below for a few more notes.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scale Models, I think, was always the name of the company. ScaleCraft being a "line".
I have all sorts of original 0 boxes, they all say Scale Models on the end of the box. The 0 couplers say Scale Models, also.

John Ericson said...

Actually during the time frame that the OO line was produced they had at least three different corporate names. Originally they were Scale-Models, Inc. It is probably worth updating this article with the complete chronology and dates, as it is easy to follow in their print advertising for any reader who wishes to chase the trail. The next name was Scale-Craft & Co., when they were based in Libertyville, IL. They were incorporated at that point in time still too, but then sold the line for several years to an individual in California. Donnelley bought the firm back and the final name (Round Lake era) was Scale-Craft & Company (with the added phrase “Not Incorporated” prominent).

John Ericson said...

And it is worth noting the original name of the firm (1933) was American Model Engineers, Inc. See: http://americanoo.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-look-at-early-years-of-scale-craft.html