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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

1937, a Big Year for OO: Part V, Nason Strikes Back!

Nason Railways had been a steady advertiser of their OO line for years by now, but in late 1937 they reached for a new level. For in the November, 1937 issue of Model Craftsman Nason bought the back cover and also had a new model to unveil.

Then as now the back cover is prime advertising space. Nason must have been aware of the Scale-Craft OO line launch and they ramped things up to keep pace. The new model is their 2-8-0, “The Freight ‘Hog’ Thousands Have Asked For.” Thousands! More details on this model may be found here, but the initial advertising copy on this “MASTERPIECE IN DETAIL” from 1937 is interesting in and of itself.
We present here and unretouched photograph of an unpainted Reading Consolidation. This model is built from rough castings (just as they are delivered to you) in order that you may see the clean moulding work and the exceptionally fine details we have put into this new kit. This also proves how accurately this model is designed. Castings are clean and true. All machining and drilling are done by modern precision methods that guarantee accuracy.


Here is a kit that will please you better than any you have ever tackled. It is easy to build because it has been engineered right—the headaches have been taken out and the interesting work left for you. We stake our four years’ reputation for building the finest OO models, that you will declare this the most perfect construction kit you’ve ever owned.
Wow. Down in the specifications we read that it uses the Nason Super motor which operated on either AC or DC and cost $29.95. It was a three rail model, there is no option for two rail as initially offered (but it would be an option later). Finally we read, “Large quantity in stock for immediate shipment…. Get yours NOW!”

They followed this up in December of 1937 with a second back cover in Model Craftsman, this one featuring their flat car but actually the full line appears to be listed on the back cover. Click on it for a closer view.

Looking at the bigger picture, Nason could have been miffed a bit at Scale-Craft for their new line being two rail with DC operation, because as shipped in 1937 all Nason products were incompatible with Scale-Craft products. Nason was firmly in the outside third rail camp and their AC/DC motors were more easily run in AC.

Then again, Nason shouldn’t have been too upset as at least there were no duplicate items between their lines and they could certainly sell OO to people that were drawn in to OO by the new Scale-Craft line. S-C was setting a new standard. But S-C cars would operate on a layout built for three rail operation and it would not be difficult to set up an S-C locomotive to run from outside third rail either, as modelers of the time would have figured out.

The bottom line though is that Nason was now not alone in a market they had to this point dominated. And New York City was now not the center of all things OO.

By the end of 1937 Lionel for sure knew about OO. They had seen all the models that were now on the market. They had held them in their hands and had seen them in stores and at shows and in the hobby press and very likely owned samples. Much was to come in 1938 from Lionel and others, a year we will look at next in this series.

UPDATE: See this article for an overview of the two different versions of the Nason catalog that were produced in 1937.

Return to the beginning of the 1937 series.
Continue to 1938 series.

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