Re: 1950s model manufacturers - was Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature

Peter Ness

Bob, Thanks for publishing as I also have an interest in the hobby history.


These may not help much, but perhaps be enough to jog someone’s’ memory for correct information; The newer ownership may well have removed them from a Southern California location.


Ayers Models – these were picked up by someone else-  I recall seeing the Ayers Chairs kit in Walthers catalogs, but no longer manufactured by Ayers.

Cliff Line – I recall reading years ago this line was also picked up by another company? Or perhaps I’m confusing with Dale Newton/Red Ball/Wabash Valley…

Ulrich – at one time Walthers appeared to at least manage this line along with Silver Streak; I think the products were identified as “a division of Wm K Walthers” on packaging. As of a couple years ago, someone turned up in an ebay search who was still selling limited Ulrich vehicle cast metal parts under the Ulrich name.

Kurtz-Kraft – I “think” Cannonball Car Shops produced some Kurtz-Kraft flat PS-1 kits.  I bought one in a hobby shop years ago – the shop owner told me “they used to be Kurtz-Kraft”.

Lindsay  - I am pretty sure this product line went to someone else as well; I have an old Lindsay Alco FB-2 die cast shell; may have been Hobbytown or Cary?

Revell – they also made structure kits and (my opinion) to this day have the finest styrene brick wall molding detail around (roundhouse, bakery and print shop kits).  I recall reading about the kit die-maker (or designer?) years ago.  His name was Armitage and he wrote a short booklet on working with styrene which is still available today (newer edition, from PSC) I believe the model railroad equipment and structure lines followed different paths after Revell; I recall seeing the structure kits from both AHM and Con-Cor.


Tony – I enjoyed your Globe blog as well – thanks for posting the link.


To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. The first wood freight car kit I built was a Silver Streak 36’ Wood New Haven box car. The car tuned out very nicely (my opinion) and had I used todays available detail parts (brake wheel, housing, car ends, underbody parts, stirrup steps, NBW castings, etc.) and appropriate wire for grab irons instead of what came with the kit, I think it would still stand up with many of today’s offerings. Perhaps not at the top of the heap, but in the running or honorable mention categories. Of course as a kid, almost my entire roster was Athearn and MDC/Roundhouse with a smattering of Varney and Tyco/Mantua….98 cents per kit was hard to beat for a kid with an allowance determined by weekly chore performance….


Stay healthy,

Peter Ness


From: [] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:29 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature


1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers

I've had discussions with several people who are/were model railroad manufacturers and asked them about their fellow model railroad manufacturers who were in Southern California in the 1950s. This was golden age locally with many firms located in the area.

I learned in those days long past the manufacturers were somewhat of a fraternity who frequently met socially (usually monthly) to discuss the hobby and product plans.

Sometimes they traded product lines that were either in development or on the market. 

I started to compile a list of Southern California manufacturers from the decade of the 1950s. The current list is below. It is based on advertisements placed in Model Railroader in the 1950 through 1959 January issues plus interviews with folks who were still alive to confirm details.

One point I will mention is how to pronounce the name "Suydam". I learned from the son of one of the company founders that it is pronounced "So Damn", as in "It is so damn hot outside".

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers



Primary Products


Original Owner(s)

Subsequent Owner(s)








Long Beach



Ace Products





Art Fleming Models

Grab Irons, Car Kits

Studio City




O & HO Models

Los Angeles

Irvin R. Athearn


Ayres Models


Garden Grove

Thomas Ayres



Track Cleaner

Santa Barbara



Beemax Plastics


Los Angeles



Bert Welch Co.

Trees & Bushes

Los Angeles



Bill Johnson Model Trains

O Scale Passenger Cars

Long Beach



Binkley Models

HO, HOn3 Kits




Blue Line Products

Passenger Cars

Spring Valley




Steam Loco & Parts



Lewis English (1961)

Boxcar Ken


Los Angeles



Budd Model Co.

Steam Loco Parts

Sherman Oaks



C. J. Ulrich

Track Cleaner, Signals

North Hollywood

Charles J. Ulrich


Central Valley

Trucks, Car Kits

North Hollywood

George Hook

Jack Parker, Jeff Parker

Champion Model Co.


North Hollywood



Cliff Line

Caboose Kit

North Hollywood




O & HO Couplers

South Pasadena



Don Fowler Co.

Semaphore, Crossing Gate, Wig-Wag

Los Angeles



E. Suydam & Co.


Pasadena, Duarte

Edward C. Suydam, Douglas R. Suydam


Electronic Sales Co.

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles



G. L. Electronics

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles








Hi-Ballers Corp.

Link & Pin Couplers, Car Kits




Joseph B. Maier

Live Steam Loco Plans







Dale Edwards


Kurtz-Kraft Models Co.

Signals,Switch Machines, Car Kits, Parts

Long Beach, Tarzana

Albert Kurtz, Jr.


KWR, Inc.


Los Angeles



Lindsay Products, Inc.

Locomotives, Motors, Spiker

Culver City

Robert Lindsay


Little Engines

Live Steam Loco & Parts




Mod-Ac Mfg. Co.

Hansom Cab

Los Angeles



Model Builder's Supply Co.

Hot Metal Car, Water Tank




Model Die Casting

Couplers, Handcars, Paint

Los Angeles

Clarence Mentier


Model Engineering Works

O & HO Parts, Kits


Richard Wheeler


Model Toy Mfg. Co.





Modelcraft Printing Services

Doors, Windows




Models & Miniatures Specialties

Scenery Supplies

San Dimas




Structures, Billboard Posters




Moyes J. Murphy

Power Supplies





Builders Plates

Los Angeles



Pacific Design & Development Co.


El Segundo



Pactra Chemical Co.


Los Angeles




Train Sets


Lewis H. Glaser



O & HO Locomotive, Cars

Universal City



Rollins House Miniatures

Detail Parts

Covina, Cucamonga



Silver Streak Corp.

Car Kits

Los Angeles



Standard Wire & Cable

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Culver City



Stewart-Lundahl Co.

Paint (310M)

North Hollywood



Town-Craft Models

O & HO Structures

Hermosa Beach




Track & Roadbed

San Dimas

August A. Kniff

Cliff Meistel

W. H. Olson

Builders Plates

Los Angeles



Wesley Mfg. Co.

Cannonball Products, Ore Cars

Van Nuys



Western Narrow Gauge Model Shop

Track Gauge




Zenith Model Co.

Power Supplies

Los Angeles








Clover Custom Decals


Santa Monica



Silver Streak (Truce Scale))

Car Kits

San Dimas



K & O Models

Locomotive, Power Pack

Van Nuys



G. F. Harbin


San Dimas



Gaylord Products

Power Supplies, Controls

Van Nuys























Wright Enterprises/MHP


Thousand Oaks

Dick Wright




1950 Champ decals in North Hollywood, 1951 Champion Decal Co. in Fresno, 1959 in San Jose

1950 Kurtz-Kraft in Burlingame, 1953 in Long Beach, 1955 in Oroville

Olson-Spencer probably same as W. H. Olson

1958 Weston Mini-Figure Co. in Healdsburg

1959 Clover Decals in  Santa Rosa

1959 Cal-Scale in Pinedale



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