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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some M. P. Davis, Part II: The Streamlined Caboose

As noted in part one of this series, an important character in the American OO world after WWII was Myron P. Davis, and in this prior article may be found the full list of his known OO production and a photo of my pair of E-7 locomotives. Of those items produced, perhaps the most unusual would be the streamlined caboose. This photo of a built up car is reproduced from the January, 1988 issue of The OO Road and was in the collection of George Miller.

Why this model? Not sure. The cupola resembles some contemporary designs of the time (PRR, etc.), so maybe he is thinking it would sell. But the big windows below the cupola are really unlikely in reality. In any event it is a fanciful design he liked enough to build it up in 3D, and he thought others might like too.

Jumping forward to today, here I am, owning three of these kits, apparently the last three of his stock! Note the unique ladder stock and the streamlined step castings (!) in the photo of one of the sets of parts.

With the parts I also have the steel tool used to bend the body and the foundry receipt. The receipt, dated 4-11-55 and from a foundry in Stamford, Conn, is for eighteen 4 oz bronze castings in #85 bronze. Based on the weight given I believe the receipt is for a run of castings for the cupola of the caboose, and it probably tells us that only 18 of these cars were produced. This receipt is a find to be sure and great to have with these kits today.

Going back to the photo of the example once owned by George Miller at the beginning of this article, the builder (I would guess M. P. Davis himself) went to a lot of effort to clear out the windows in that cupola casting and it looks like it might have an interior as well.

I would like at some point to build up one of these cars from the parts. It will take a pretty big chunk of time to do (a bigger drill press than I have would be helpful) but I would really like to see one of these actually in use, as this unlikely streamlined model is absolutely one of the most unique things ever produced in American OO.

UPDATE: See this article for more on the streamline caboose

When we return to conclude this series we will look at four more intriguing items that were with the caboose parts.

Continue to conclusion

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