Re: Cudahy meat reefers

Douglas Harding <dharding@...>

Don, regarding the Atlas reefer, a search of the group archives will show considerable discussion of the model when it first came
out. Atlas claims the model is based upon a Cudahy car built in 1925. At the time many questioned how prototypical was the car as
photos were not known. I since found one photo of a Cudahy car, CRLX 5557, which appears to match the Atlas model. That photo is
in the Billboard Reefer book, and while built in 1928, it appears to match the Atlas model, right down to the four hinges. The car
is lettered to be returned to E Chicago IND (ie Calumet, home of the Cudahy Packing Co. car shops). Richard Hendrickson may have
more to offer.

Four hinges were not as odd as we think, they were found on many reefers, esp in early years. Manufactures moved to the six hinge
design because it added security that a door would remain in place if a hinge broke or failed, ie screws pulled out of rotted
wood, enroute.

A number of builders built meat reefers, and meat reefers were different from produce reefers. Details and car designs varied.
There is no one correct prototype or model. Vol 14 of the RP CYC had an article in General American 37' meat reefers, with lots of
photos of a specific builder's cars. Martin Loften wrote a wonderful article on Meat reefers first published by the NMRA in one of
their Symposium books, later published in a series in Mainline Modeler magazine. For HO models of wood sided 36'/37' meat reefers
we have the Mather reefer by Red Caboose, Sunshine's model, and the car by Atlas. And lest it be forgotten the old old Varney
model. The MDC 36' old timer has been used by many, I have a fleet of them, but it is not a meat reefer.

The Atlas model appears to be correct, for one prototype. Unfortunately they choose a car apparently used by only one company,
than decided it needed operating doors and ice hatches like it's larger O scale brethren. This lead to oversized hinges. I laid in
a stock of Grandt Line reefer hinges and intend to modify part of my Atlas reefer fleet by gluing the doors shut and adding new
hinges, 3 per side. Atlas offered the car in a variety of paint schemes, the schemes appear to be accurate, but none to my
knowledge were used on the Cudahy car, which is why I bought a bunch of undecs. We all would have been better served if Atlas had
chosen the General American car or another builder who supplied cars to many meat packer car fleets.

Doug Harding

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