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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

American OO for 56-57: Part IV, Articles in 1957

In 1957 Model Railroader was pretty much devoid of coverage of American OO gauge, but the topic does come up a couple times in Railroad Model Craftsman.

The first item of note is found in the May, 1957 issue of RMC. It is a photo of the layout of George Jones, his layout having been described further in this article. The caption mentions the Lionel Hudson “freshly coaled and ready for any run,” but there is more to see here. The diesel pulling the train is probably one of his scratchbuilt models; the passenger cars are neatly painted for the Union Pacific, the car on the left being a cast Scale-Craft coach and the next one looks to be Zuhr on the Varney F-3 trucks. The cars in the yard are obscured but finally I would note that it looks like his switch stand is a DPDT toggle switch with springs connecting it to the turnout. A practical solution to the issue of wiring the points and frog of the switch for the correct polarity; he was clearly an operator and was ready to run trains with his OO club friends.

The same issue has a photo of a TT scale engine built by a modeler with a name I recognized; Howard A. LeVan Jr. He started the firm that put the first OO gauge locomotive on the market, the OO Gauge Model Co. More on that early firm here (they did not last long), and clearly LeVan was enthusiastic about trains still but not active in OO.

The other interesting item is found in the October, 1957 issue of RMC, a letter from Dave Sacks with a photo of his back yard and mention of both New Jersey OO groups

First off, how many photos have you ever seen of an OO gauger’s back yard? I am not sure from the text but I am guessing that is a detached garage, not his train building over to the left. In his letter Sacks mentions that “This buckboard was donated along with the Liberty emblem by the Jersey Central for our North Jersey Midland Model Railroad Assoc.” He plans to add a board with “Green Brook Lines” and also noted that the marker light at the top “has been wired up electrically.” To this the editors added, “Dave is a double-O gager, has just put up a new 55 foot long pike having 650 feet of track and 60 turnouts. The North Jersey area is still an OO stronghold with two very active clubs, the NJMRRA and ABCOOR.”

George Jones was active in the ABCOOR group and Sacks in the NJMRRA group. And there were OO gaugers many other places. Looking ahead to 1958-59, if you are anxious to read ahead the November, 1958 issue of MR has a great feature story on the layout of Carl Appel, for more see this article.

When the history series returns the topic will be 1958-59.

Return to the beginning of the 1956-57 series

Continue to 1958-59 Series

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