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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Nason 2-8-0

This model is a true OO classic, the Nason 2-8-0. This particular one was a recent purchase by Herb L., who shared these photos. Click on any photo for a larger view.

My collection of catalogs and magazines is not complete but the back cover of the November, 1937 issue of Model Craftsman is a full page ad for this new model which rather pins it down that it was introduced in 1937. The Nason 2-8-0 was produced until WWII, and for a brief period after WWII Nason still sold the drivers for this model. The ad for this in the March, 1938 issue of Model Craftsman begins,

Thousands have demanded an “OO” freight locomotive that could be used on a variety of roads. The Consolidation is the answer and we’ve spent a full year designing and building it for you….

The boiler, cab and tender are of extra clean bronze castings which give it necessary weight and strength. It is smooth and quiet in operation, still it has pulled 25 lbs. (freight cars weigh about 8 ozs.) on test.
The model sold in five sections or complete including paint for $29.95, but with this note: “Note: Two Rail Operation on any locomotive $4.00 extra.”

The model in the photo in the advertisement and in all subsequent Nason catalogs is set up for outside third rail. However, this model in the photos from Herb L. appears to be set up for two rail operation. I see no indication of third rail collectors and the tender trucks are clearly two rail Nason trucks with the square Bakelite bolster.

I also found in my collection a photocopy of the instruction sheet for this model. It looks like this is a pretty complete example except that it has clearly a new motor. The original motor was the “Nason Super” which operated on AC or DC; this is a DC motor from after WWII with the Nason worm mounted on it. This could be perceived as a negative for the purist (and undoubtedly the wide firebox design was chosen specifically to easily fit the Nason Super motor inside) but for a modern operator using DC it would be a plus. I have posted the instructions as a PDF to the OO Yahoo Group; if you are a member you may access them here.

There are a lot of notable details visible on the model itself but on the whole they speak for themselves, such as the blind middle drivers. It looks as if this model was being rebuilt by a prior owner who got it substantially to the point it could be made to run. The only note I would add on that topic is that I have found Nason wheelsets touchy on my turnouts [Mantua] compared to more modern wheelsets that work fine.

This is exactly the sort of model that gets me excited. Think of how many Lionel OO Hudsons are out there floating around. Then think about how many of these have you ever seen?

Returning to the early advertisement for this model, for a brief period of time Nason sprung for full page back cover ads on Model Craftsman. The ad on the back cover of the April, 1938 issue is essentially the same. In the context of S-C and Lionel jumping into OO then it is most interesting to read in the closing copy of the ad that Nason has a “Large quantity [of freight and passenger cars] in stock for immediate shipment. It’s waiting for you! Get yours NOW! We manufacture the most complete OO line. Four years with satisfied customers.”

This is an OO classic to keep your eyes peeled for.

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