Northeastern Models

Bob Webber <no17@...>

This likely is less an issue with geography than one of perception, BUT, if one takes a look at election time, when it is fairly obvious which states have the most electoral votes and therefor the population, you just might discover that a state not in California, not in the northeast and not in Texas and having the second largest city has a fairly large population. And you might discover that certain other states in that same region, commonly known as the "midwest" also have large populations. You might also discover that Florida has a fairly good population. Of course, to some, Pennsylvania is in the midwest, and so is Ohio. To others, Colorado is. Makes a large region. But I digress.

The reason that the Northeast has the interest in models is that the railroads of the time period were overwhelmingly the largest in the Northeast. As the by now well known box car index and ratio shows, just PRR X-29's and NYC box cars by themselves made up a majority of the fleet. The operations were a lot more interesting. The steel industry was a much more lively and dispersed concern. The auto industry was much more concentrated. And, perhaps moire importantly, at that time, there were more than 4 major railroads.
The other major contributing factor is the availability of photos due to the wealth of photographers. And the closeness of photographers to subjects. You didn't have to travel a couple of hundred miles to reach a different railroad. Variety was far moire available than if you lived, say, in Sacramento. Even having the traction companies and short lines, they certainly weren't photographed to the degree you'd find in, say Albany. So, just like the RGS sees far more modelers than the C&S in narrow gauge, the Northeast sees more models due to the availability of images.

As far as parochialism, it typically goes both ways. I know a lot of New Yorkers who have the famous image of New York with Indian country to the west. I also know a lot of westerners who say that there is nothing worth seeing or modeling east of I-25 (I know, I used to be one of them). Of course, not to get to a wholly off topic bent again - but I know a lot of westerners who would refuse to go to Springfield due to the weather. Parochialism rears its head in many forms. If more westerners went where the manufacturers were, they might just find them willing to make more models of western themed equipment. I know of two manufactures right now who are looking for a "western" resin freight car project. They are in the East. Now, on the one hand, they could certainly go west, and in one case they will. In the other, it isn't going to happen due to time and/or physical restraints.

At 07:20 PM 9/22/2005, wrote:
Richard, and everyone else,

I wonder if the reason we get only northeastern prototype cars like
the Pfaudler milk reefers and not cars that were seen throughout the
country like wine tank cars, and others, is because:

1. Except for California and Texas the states with the highest
population (for example, look at any nighttime satelite photo of the
continental US and note where the largest areas of light concentration
are), and therefore potential modelers (market for models) is in the
northeast; and

2. List population excepted, many northeasterners are very parochial
in their attitudes and really don't care much about anything that
might break through their "if it is from west of the Mississippi and
north of the Ohio is doesn't matter" attitute.

Walter M. Clark
Time stopped in November 1941
Riverside, California
Bob Webber

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