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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

OO Models by Howard Winther Featured in The Train Collectors Quarterly

I am very pleased to have authored another article on American OO that has been published in April, 2014 issue of The Train Collectors Quarterly. 

“Then and Now: Early American 00 Gauge Models Built by Howard Winther” is a compilation of materials from a series of articles developed for this website, reorganized for better flow and focus on prize winning models by Winther that were featured in early hobby publications, showing how the models look today and giving additional context to the early days of American OO.

The layout of Howard Winther was featured for example in The Modelmaker and in The Model Railroader in 1934, and he won a number of prizes at NYSME events before and during WWII. For some flavor of the content of the article start here and click on the links. Or click on the label “Winther” on the sidebar or here for the full run of articles related to Howard Winther models (in reverse order).

I can’t thank enough the sons of Howard Winther for their photography of models such as this one and notes on their father. It is great that the Internet can bring together people and make possible an eight page TCA article such as this on these very significant and beautifully built and preserved early American OO models.

Finally, as new readers may find this article based on seeing the TCA article I would offer this on my personal perspective on model trains. The best description I can come up with is that I am a “retro-modeler.” I talk about this in a longer article (here) but this is the gist of what I do and relates to why I appreciate so much the Winther models.
For years I have known what I do but at the same time it always is hard to explain to others outside the OO community. It is a little bit like Hi-Rail but not really as there is no toy-train basis to what I do. I am sort of a collector but not a pure collector; I like exploring the history of OO a lot but I also very much like rebuilding old models (these days quite often junkers or old unfinished projects) to fit the theme of my layout, with the idea of running them realistically. My main goal is a functioning model railroad in 1/76, so while I do use vintage items such as these I also have models made with modern techniques and materials that I enjoy as well. 
Another way to say it is I like Lionel OO but have no big collecting desire to own every variation of their production or the budget to achieve that goal. I am much more interested in the bigger picture of all the OO lines. Some items I have were purchased or have been kept purely from a collector standpoint but the ones that excite me the most fit into the theme of my operations.
In short, while I am working to collect for example all of the different models produced by OO makers such as Nason and Schorr, I actually run American OO on a layout (as in the photo above, see more here) and really enjoy OO the big puzzle of sorting out history as well. Great to see the OO coverage with the TCA, and if old scale model trains are an interest keep coming back to American OO Today for more.

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