Re: Jerry White

Rod Miller

Clyde King, a long time friend of Jerrys, confirms along with Denny
that Jerry indeed was the owner of Kurtz Kraft. Clyde said that the
original KK models are still available but danged if I can remember who
he said makes them now.

FWIW, here is what Jerry told me about the demise of KK.

Convinced he would make a bundle, he partnered up with someone who
wanted to market transistor radios housed in a model rocket. After
Jerry had acquired the additional dedicated machinery to produce the
rocket moldings, his partner backed out. KK assets had to be sold to
pay off the loans with which that machinery had been acquired. Jerry
still owed money and went to work as an employee to pay the remainder
of the debt.


Denny Anspach wrote:

Gerry White was a fellow member of the West Bay Club in Menlo Park in
the '50s and '60s. He was a tremendously skilled modeler for
himself, and a professional custom modeler ("Superior Models", as I
recall) for others (his true day job). His speciality was O gauge locomotives, although I recall a spectacular HO PRR S-1 6-4-4-6 that
he built for some lucky person. We used to see all of these models
as they were tested on the Club's HO and O gauge layouts (the S Gauge
layout was difficult to test inasmuch as it was 40 volts DC).
He was one of the key persons behind the NMRA RP-25 wheel contour, and much of the actual engineering occurred in his shop. I do not know the details behind the segue from Kurtz to White, but Gerry indeed owned Kurtz Craft when I knew him along with a single partner
who in the end reportedly left him holding the bag, causing Kurtz Craft to be sold off.
To my knowledge, the Kurtz Craft PS-1 was the very first HO flat
styrene kit.
I have a small number of Gerry White productions, including a spectacular Winton/MaRa C&O 2-6-6-6 that he built with Frank Weiss, which even today out pulls and outshines just about any contemporary
Asian production.
One of my most peculiar memories was Gerry's mysterious desire to purchase or trade me out of a Walthers "Shuttle Jack" (a poor man's ATSF M-190 articulated gas electric). He finally gave me in trade an
entire 10 car Blue Line steel-shell silk-screen painted Broadway Limited- which I thought at the time was a pretty good deal.
As we speak, I have just spruced up a long-finished Kurtz Craft PS-1
(decorated as a c.1956 TNO PSCC) to help people my layout. Although
the underframe is rudimentary, the running boards are relatively thick, the grabs and ladders are thick (thin by standards of the day)
and the end corrugations are sort of blobby, if one lavishes some
of the simple attentions that Richard has been teaching us to do with
current ready-to-run styrene, the car can and does look quite presentable within any string of finer, newer models.
Note that the ladders, the bracket grabs, and the running board lateral grabs were all separate 3-D moldings- revolutionary at the time.

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