Re: freight car red and black paint


I think, back in the days of natural pigments mixed in naturally polymerizing oils such as linseed oil, that lampblack in oil was considered a better and longer lasting coating for metal. Oxide pigments worked just as well on wood, and were cheaper, thus the common "barn red" which was essentially FCR by another name. Note that ironwork on wood structures was often picked out in black, a tradition that carried over to wood refrigerator cars when it became common to use bright colors on their sides.

The technical reason really went away with the general adoption after WWII of synthetic pigments in alkyd resin, but tradition dies hard on the railroads.

Dennis Storzek

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