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

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Bessey Boxcar

When I saw this for sale I knew it was out of the ordinary, perhaps Graceline? The photo was not completely clear. When it arrived I realized that it is an example of the boxcar produced by E. H. Bessey.

I wrote about the Bessey boxcar in this prior post and their reefers in this post; now I own a complete set of their cars. This is the only type of 40’ boxcar they offered and this particular one has been modified a bit.

The unique thing about all their cars is that the sides are wood but painted and lettered at the factory. A prior owner of this car modified the printing on the sides and the end to alter the car number, painting over the last digit. Maybe he had another of the same car and wanted them to have different numbers?

It would be interesting to see exactly how this was shipped out, as in what was in the box besides the painted body. The 1947 catalog just says it is a "OO OLD TIME S. P. WOOD BOX CAR G- 4 Body kit, no hdwe." It sold for 75 cents. This builder used a combination of Scale-Craft parts along with a Hawk frame, visible in the bottom view. Also visible is a brake cylinder that I have not seen before, it is turned from wood. An interesting car, one I will only lightly touch up when I set it up for the layout.

I would note to conclude that this car looks quite a bit like the comparable scribed Picard body, but if you compare them from the bottom the side stock is thicker on the Bessey cars.

UPDATE: The reworked car may be seen here.


Phil R. said...

What type of couplers are on this car in the photos? They look like some kind of working knuckle coupler.

John Ericson said...

They are actually. I am uncertain of the mfr but they have a brass part of the knuckle that would allow these to couple automatically but they were designed also to mate with standard OO dummy couplers. I will post on this more sometime soon.

John Ericson said...

More on this coupler here: