Re: Billboard Painting Prohibition. Was InterMountain HO Scale Two-Bay Hoppers (Re-Release)

Dennis Storzek

On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 10:27 AM, Bill Parks wrote:
Well then, when did this exclusive prohibition of refrigerator cars bearing product names relax?
I am thinking of Manufacturer's Railway Service Ralston-Purina checkerboard insulated/ventilated cars, Swift and Armour meat refrigerators with their names on the car sides?
These were running in the 1940's and '50's, carrying the shippers and/or product names.
We had a very extensive discussion about the "billboard reefer ban" back in 2014. View it here:

The first thing to understand is it wasn't about shippers complaining about being offered cars with advertising painted on; it was about the railroads distaste for the reefer lease fleets, because while the railroads were obligated to maintain a fleet of reefers so they could supply a car if a load was offered, when a load in a lease car was offered, they had to pay car hire on the car, while the car they owned sat. It was quite a sore point during the twenties and early thirties.

While the ban did not cover owners names, it was rather ambiguous what could be construed as "advertising." Because of the fact that the remedy was refusal to accept the car in interchange, and this decision would be made multiple times during the cars trip, every time the car was interchanged between railroads, NOBODY wanted risk having a loaded car of meat or produce refused a thousand miles away from its point of origination, so initially NOBODY painted anything on the cars that could possibly be called advertising.

As time went on, the lease fleet issue receded, and after WWII cars began to sport colorful logos again, but from the late thirties through the war the freightcar fleet became very bland indeed.

Dennis Storzek

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