Re: Message On Placard Board?

Tony Thompson

Dennis Storzek wrote:


Initially, the entire exterior of freight cars was wood, so cards could be tacked anywhere. This was damaging to the siding, so the MCB proposed a standard location to tack cards, to be painted black. The stencil reinforced the concept. Someone then came up with the idea to mount a separate replaceable board in that location, to further save the car siding, and the tack board was born, still painted black to comply with the tack cards on the black rectangle standard. Some operators continued to paint tack boards black at least until WWII.

    As Richard Hendrickson enjoyed pointing out, and as is borne out by prototype photos, car clerks were evidently annoyed by the bossy directive to "Tack Cards Here," and many photos show cards (and old staples and tacks) almost everywhere on the car side BUT on that black rectangle. Preferred locations were just left of the door, or over the bolster, and a black rectangle anywhere else was clearly some kind of engineering error.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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