Re: how do you paint trucks of early freight cars?

Charlie Vlk


As in later periods, one must not be misled by early “Builders Photos”….

They would often have detail work done that is not present in regular delivery cars….wheel tire faces painted, raised lettering picked out, striping and different colors on journals and truck frames, and body hardware.

In service photos likely will show much plainer paint with maybe different colors on trucks and some hardware vs. carbodies.   Very detailed instructions on what paint process is to be used where existed and some may have survived.   Simplification of painting was a topic of Burlington Route Master Mechanics meetings and survive in notes and follow-up resolution of the discussions…mostly locomotives and passenger cars as for the times of the notes I’ve seen (1890s) I imagine freight cars were not subject to getting less fancy paint jobs.

The Aurora (Illinois) shops were the location of the Testing Laboratories for the Burlington Route and one of the ongoing areas of inquiry was the study of paint application methods, materials and durability; both commercial and local solvents, varnishes, pigments, paints and other finish and base materials were analyzed.

Charlie Vlk

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