Re: Chalk Color

Chet French <cfrench@...>

In my experience, the switchmen and carmen seemed to use the bigger
softer chalk, while the clerks often used the greasier chalks which
were somewhat smaller in diameter. Clerks often marked which
industries the cars were to go to, often with the date the car
arrived at the location where they were marked.

Chet French
Dixon, IL

--- In STMFC@..., cj riley <cjriley42@...> wrote:

I have spent 50 years in the construction business and have much
with various "chalks" (sometimes called "keel") and have always
suspected, but
have not verified, that RR car markings were done in a similar
material. It is
slightly "greasier" than classrom chalk, therefore making a very
clear and
bright mark. It came in white, yellow and blue and since blue does
photograph well in old b&w film, some of the white markings may
well be blue.
Mont's description fits this material perfectly.

CJ Riley

--- Mont Switzer <mhts_switzerm@...> wrote:


The chalks that I recall seeing came from a large box clearly
marked as and
marketed as "railroad chalk." The pieces were about 1 inch in
diameter and
maybe 6 inches long. Each piece was flat on one end and rounded
on the
other. These were heavy pieces of chalk as you would expect for
writing on
RR cars and other industrial uses. All that I remember was
white, but other
colors were certainly a possibility.

This chalk was nothing like what you would find in a
classroom. Each
"stick" reminded me of the end of a small broom handle. They fit
well in a
gloved hand.

They had many uses in the transportation business.

Mont Switzer

Barry Roth <barry_roth@...> wrote:
Maybe filched from the pool room? This brings up
another question:
what shape(s) were the chalks used on cars? Sticks like in
(breakable), or cakes (like some surveyors' chalks)?

Barry Roth

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:
West Coast photos in color from the 1950s show mostly white,
some yellow (Greg Martin is right that it might be hard to
white from PALE yellow, even in color, on a sunlit car, but
by "yellow"
I mean a deep yellow). I have not been able to find a single
of blue. It would sure have been a distinctive color to use!


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