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

Thursday, June 7, 2012

OO Variety in 1941, Part II: Nason Railways

The oldest and largest maker of a line solely dedicated to the OO market was Nason Railways. They produced no new catalog in 1941, but the full line appears to have still been available, based on advertising by other sellers such as Hobby Craft Stores. See the Nason 101 article for the full list. Nason themselves ran only small ads in 1941 with regular monthly specials, as follows:

  • MR and MC, January -- 5 freight car bodies for $4
  • MR and MC, February -- C&NW flat for $2.75
  • MC, March -- “trial track kit” for $1
  • MC, April -- 12 section Pullman, complete, $3.50
  • MR and MC, September -- cast aluminum Pullman, $5.85
  • MR and MC, October -- new B&O Gondola for $2.75
  • MR and MC, November -- cast aluminum combine for $4.85
  • MR and MC, December -- 5 freight car bodies for $4

That their early cast aluminum passenger cars were pushed is interesting (see an example of the Pullman here) but the new item of the year is the B&O Gondola. In 1940 Nason had introduced a PRR gondola, discussed in this prior article, which was notably reviewed in Model Railroader, Model Craftsman, and Miniature Railroading in October of 1940.  One year later in October of 1941 Model Railroader has another Trade Topics review of the gondola, probably the last published review of any Nason product.
The wood floor, sides and ends, which are furnished cut to size, form the nucleus of this OO gauge gondola car. Printed car sides with embossed rivets are glued to the framework, after which the metal underframe and formed brass external ribs are installed. End sills, ladders, trucks, and couplers are included in the parts supplied in the kits. The couplers are well proportioned die castings with widened shanks so that the 2-56 screw holes provided for mounting purposes will not weaken the material. The car can be put together quite easily, and practical drawings and instructions are included with each kit. Trucks are for either two- or three-rail operation.
The PRR version of this car is rare and it was not until I was preparing this article that I even noted there was a B&O version. Consider this car a real rarity; if anyone has one I would love to share a photo. Another item gleaned from the review would relate to couplers. All the Nason couplers I have seen have been bronze, but apparently at the end they shipped out a die cast coupler.

The other Nason item that might be considered notable on the year were the freight car body kits, as they were the special twice in the year. A prior article on the Nason E-Z Built boxcars focuses on an earlier version of the model and the marketing of this same basic kit under the Page name. Recently however, I was able to purchase this example of the reefer kit which is I believe later production.

In the standard kit you got only a basic version. Turning back to the 1940 catalog for clarity, for $1.00 you got one of the “body construction kits” and for an additional $1.90 you could purchase “hardware kits to complete body kits.” The hardware kits included trucks, ice hatches, end beams, underframe, die stamped ladders, brake wheel, formed grab irons and steps, and, the stamped/embossed reefer door hinges. In the photo you can see most of those parts so this particular kit is the body kit plus the hardware kit (but less trucks).

As I also note in yet another article, these cars came with other slight variations. For sure you would need the extra parts to build up an attractive car, so the 4 cars for $5 was not actually quite the deal they might have hoped it to be.

With that we leave Nason Railways for 1941.Next up is Scale-Craft, who introduced several new OO models in 1941.

Continue to Part 3 of 1941 series

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