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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More on early Scale-Craft boxes

As noted a few posts ago, Scale-Craft shipped out kits in two types of boxes, a pre-war style and a post-war style (see that article for more on the later boxes, they must have printed a large run of these in 1946, as they were still being used in late kits with instructions printed with the Round Lake address). However, S-C used up their remaining stock of the pre-war boxes right after WWII based on the kit numbers and lettering on existing kits. The few kits I own in the pre-war boxes all have post-war numbers.

Digging further, I found two empty boxes with the pre-war numbers. This first photo is of the ends of the two kits (boxcar and Pullman) with the "X" numbers plus also the box for the pre-war drive for a gas-electric and a post-war car number hopper. The pencil notation about the pre-war box car being built up is interesting; I don’t know however if that originated at the factory or later. I am pretty sure this box came to me empty.

The larger box is very interesting from the side, with the 4-6-4 design clearly visible. It is in construction very similar to post-war boxes, but printed differently. Also note the words on the side, "A complete set of parts scaled with precision."

Dick G. also came through with a photo of another pre-war box. He reports that it contained a coach-baggage gas-electric car with the 1941 drive (seen in the photo), the number on the end of the box being K-2324-P. This is exactly as it should be for a model of this type.

The final photo compares the straight pre-war box with the pre-war boxes as sold just after WWII. Note the modifications made with rubber stamps to modify the corporate details (they are no longer Scale Models Incorporated of Chicago) and their address. Click on the photo to see this more clearly.

One final thought, it is interesting marketing that the main thing you see if you just glance at an early S-C kit are the words "train models." This must reflect something of the novelty of model train kits back in 1937 compared to the toy trains of that day.

UPDATE: Dick Gresham had this further note. "There is a picture of a S-C O gauge Hudson (5275) on each side of the box top. The same picture is in their 1940 catalog on p. 24. I have three prewar boxes that are 3 1/2" wide -- the same width as the large yellow/dark blue postwar boxes. I have one prewar box that is 3" wide -- the same width as the small yellow/dark blue postwar boxes. I think Scale-Craft may have used the same prewar boxes for their O gauge kits. It doesn't make much sense to me to put a picture of a Hudson on their OO gauge box tops when they are competing with Lionel's OO Hudson." This makes total sense to me as well, as clearly the larger OO boxes would easily hold an O gauge freight car kit.

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