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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

OO Variety in 1941, Part VII: Scratchbuilding and Layouts

There were some pretty active model railroaders out there in American OO in 1941.

First up I would like to highlight again Edmund Collins. He was mentioned back in the 1939 and in the 1940 series, and his 4-4-2 Reading Atlantic was featured on cover of the May, 1941 issue of Model Railroader. This photo shows a bit more detail of his work. The model is outside third rail and had won third prize in the National Model Railroader Model Contest in 1940. He also won third prize in the same contest in 1941 with an interurban car that is seen in the July issue of MR. There it describes him as a “furniture store proprietor.” However, [UPDATE] I note in a letter to the editor of MR in August 1947 he was by that time in the hobby industry, working for Pittman.

Also, note the rubber stamp on the cover in the above scan! It is of interest to me as it is for a hobby shop in the smallish town I am from in Kansas and says something of the spread of model railroading and the hobby industry in general by 1941.

The epic article of this category was in the November and December issues of The Model Craftsman from Red Adams on scratchbuilding a modern passenger diesel, seen here. His article begins, “Well boys, my Mohave OO railroad has at long last acquired one of those new-fangled dielectric streamlined locomotives.” After a bit of defense on the topic of a modern diesel model being the topic of an article we read,
[W]hen I write one of my construction projects for publication, I really build, run and test, change, improve, etc. on the job. If you like these construction articles, I feel that I have done our hobby some good. If you don’t like them, tell the Editor, and he’ll see to it that you get what you want. He tries to give the readers what they want; not necessarily what he feels they should have.
He had written a similar article in 1940 on the topic of sand casting steam boilers. This time the topic is a bit more up to date! This article is too long to really cover properly in this series but if you are interested in the process it is full of drawings and cool photos, with two completed models visible in these photos. He goes way beyond my humble sand casting 101 article; however, I did update it with another photo from his November article that illustrates the patterns and core box castings needed to make this model if you are interested in learning more.

And also Red Adams layout was featured in the March 1941 issue of Miniature Railroading. See this article for photos and more on that layout feature.

Speaking of Miniature Railroading, they had some advertising related to OO as well, but it was not a scale seen a great deal in their pages in 1941, their last year of publication. One interesting item in the April/May issue is in the form of club news from an OO club in Red Bank, NJ, who were building a portable OO layout. Officers of the group were John Muller, G. L. Whitehead, and William McVey.

Turning back to The Model Craftsman, a long article in defense of OO was published in their February issue. The article is by T. W. Cartwright and includes four photos of his layout. The battle of the gauges still raged on but it was not stopping people from building some nice layouts. Some flavor from the article:
So far, I have made converts of several HO boys, and I’m just getting started. So, if there is any truth to this popularity poll business, there is going to be a surprise in store for Mr. LaNal the next time we read the vote. I have not converted only HO gaugers, but there are plenty of O gaugers, also. For instance, a group of twenty-five who were forming an O gauge club paid me a visit first. They became an OO gauge club.
To close the look at layouts, The Model Craftsman had a layout contest in 1941, the OO winners being featured in a six page article in their May, 1941 issue.

Their first prize winner was Sid Wells of Glencoe, Ill, with his Birmingham and Glencoe layout. A photo of his layout very similar to one in the contest may be seen here, published in the 1941 issue of Blow-Smoke, and this photo is one published in the contest article but also later used as the cover photo of The Model Craftsman for March, 1943, from where this scan was made. The layout itself was a bit larger than 7’ X 13’, with a track plan and more to be found in the article.

The second prize winner was Richard Houghton, “a newspaperman from Los Gatos, Californy.” A photo of a small scene from his layout is seen in the final segment of this series on 1941, from an article he wrote; Houghton was particularly interested in block signaling in two rail.

Third prize went to Edmund E. Pattison of Pawtucket, R. I. He gives a rundown of his equipment roster which had some standards and some surprises. “Our motive power consists of Hudson, P5A and gas electric together with a roundhouse goat. The gas electric is equipped with a rectifier as will be the Hudson and P5A in the near future.” As to equipment, surprises include a depressed center flat and a Reading bobber caboose out of a total roster of less than 30 cars.

To close, the final segment of this series on 1941 focuses on some dilemmas of the time for OO gaugers. I was able to update an article from 2010 to serve as the series conclusion, as it already had much of the content I had spotted that I wanted to close out this look at the last year before WWII. So with no delay this time please continue reading at the link!

Conclusion of 1941 series


Steve Neubaum said...

I like the picture with the cat pawing the trestle. Being a lifelong cat person (No one ever really OWNS a cat!), I've found they have an intrinsic interest in model trains. My last cat Annie, used to sleep in tunnels in a Lionel layout, until being rear-ended by an express passenger train, but even then chased the trains around. Current cat Loki (Shelter named her for Norse god of mischief!), likes to "play trains" and push cars on sidings. Now would she be considered a 1-1-1-1 switcher, or a 0-2-2-0?

Ron Pare said...

I also liked the Cat. Great article you have, I love reading about MRR from way back. Thanks


Anonymous said...

That statement Edmund E. Pattison made about fitting a Hudson and Gas Electric with a rectifier reminded me of a OO layout my grandfather helped build when he was growing up. This layout was designed for overhead wire operation and as such all of the locomotives that ran on it had pantographs. Even the steam engines (two converted Lionel OO scale Hudsons) had pantographs on their tenders to collect overhead current. From what I hear this was common with modelers in other modeling scales. My grandfathers personal layout was 3 rail OO which used three Lionel Hudsons for motive power. I myself am planning a new layout which is to be Triang-OO (1:76 OO scale models on 16.5mm track)