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

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Page Model Company, a “Who Done It?” Story

A few years back Picard made it into the “Who Done It?” series in the Train Collectors Quarterly, and in the present issue (January, 2013) OO is featured, in the form of two kits by the Page Model Company of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Those very familiar with American OO actually would have recognized the kits right away, as they have been seen on eBay and there has been an article on Page Scale Models right here in American OO Today since 2008, updated in 2011. I have been meaning to update that article further, and there is no time like the present!

Page is in a sense still a company of mystery, but a number of details are clear. First though, as background, it has to be noted that Nason Railways produced a type of kit they called (in various spellings, depending on the year) an Eazy-Bilt kit. Their Eazy-Bilt boxcar and reefer was on the market by late 1935. As I noted in the 1935 series, “The very first advertisement I have located for the Nason “Easy – Built” freight cars (box car and reefer) is found in the November 1935 issue of The Model Craftsman… Their December ad lists ten different versions of the car being available.” My main introductory article to Nason is here.

Jump ahead now to 1938 and this advertisement, also presented in the 1938 series. As I note there,
Our final new line of note this year is Page Model Co. of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. This is a firm I have long been curious about and it took literally years to finally track down an advertisement. The line is referenced in other advertising in the October issue of MC and in December they ran this ad; click on it to see all the details of the new line. So far as I can tell these box cars and reefers are outwardly the same as the Nason Easy-Built cars (with the same sides) but have a solid block body. My guess at this time is it was an attempt to put out a lower cost version of the Nason line and perhaps also to attempt to give an impression of things really picking up in OO, with a "new" line of OO entering the market.
As noted in my earlier article on Page, the sides in particular are exactly the same as the sides sold with Nason Eazy-Bilt kits (before, during, and after the timeframe of the 1938 Page advertsing!), but they have some unique features and would only set you back 80 cents (with the cars in the TCA article clearly marked down to 50 cents).

With the TCA item out it is a good time to look a bit closer at the model. Sitting on top of the instructions seen in my earlier article (identical to in the Quarterly) is the box end and all the non-paper parts in the example I own. I believe this kit dates to the time frame that Nason was selling off the Page residual, as it has Nason cast boxcar doors with it and the Page Model Company information is pasted over on the box end (there were no instructions with my kit). The roof was pre-painted at the factory.

Stepping back a second, undoubtedly 20 years ago there were people alive who knew exactly what the situation was with Page and Nason and the duplication of some parts. The built up cars are essentially indistinguishable from each other, the main distinguishing feature being the solid block body. I don't think they fooled the OO market of the time.

Moving on to the paper parts in the second photo, the top item is the one that is marked Page, the “box car parts.” These parts could be used instead of castings. Right below that is an interesting item. According to the instructions this thin card piece was supplied to cut into strips to make the roof ribs and end walk supports. Then we get to the familiar, standard printed Nason sides and ends.

In the final photo below is another item that I believe is Page as well. It is from the parts supply (source unknown) but the printing matches the box car parts sheet. It is for reefer cars, and from the ad Page clearly also sold reefers.

This is an item from exactly that time frame when American OO was hitting the market but coming up against HO. OO gauge models were generally made along similar lines to the O gauge models of the time, but HO was cheaper and more lightly made. The solid block body would give these cars a solid feel and more weight but simplified construction and presumably cost to match HO. So far as I can tell the only other firm to sell OO scale models with a solid block body was Hawk.

As I noted in an update to the other article, the information on Page Scale Models OO is not right up at the top of Google, but an image search would have taken readers right to my article. But still, I am glad they did not find the info too easily, as then an OO item would not have been featured this month in the Quarterly in the venerable “Who Done It?” series. Great to see OO in the collector press, hopefully there will be more interesting OO gauge models featured in the future.

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