Re: The Atlas model of Cudahy meat reefers

Richard Hendrickson

On Dec 6, 2008, at 5:39 AM, Donald B. Valentine wrote:

Cudahy was also represented in the Boston area at least up
through WW II AFAIK. With that in mind I've had interest in the Atlas
36 ft. meat reefer. It is my understanding, and I'm looking for
correction on this, that the Atlas car was modeled after a Cudahy
prototype, particularly with the odd use of only four hinges for the
two halves of each door. Is this or is it not correct? Also, are
photos available for such cars in other than the "billboard" paint
offered by Atlas and, if so, are decals available. If what I'm
questioning is correct it is a shame that Atlas has offered that
model painted for just about every packing company that ever existed
but, apparently, few that any of us can use and be prototypically
correct as it is also my understanding that Cudahy was about the only
packer that used these oddball prototyes. I'd just like to have a
couple in a later Cudahy paint that is prototyically correct....

I'm always surprised (though perhaps I shouldn't be, by now) when a
lot of speculation and mis-information is posted on a subject which
is well documented. The responses to Don's query are a notable
example. 36" meat reefers with four hinges on each door were not at
all exclusive to Cudahy; large numbers of them were built in the
1920s (as well as 40' cars with the same door hinge arrangement) by
the Pressed Steel Car Co.'s Hegewich, IL plant. North American
Despatch owned many such cars and applied a variety of billboard P/L
schemes to them, and smaller numbers were owned by other leasing
companies (e.g., MDT). There are many photos of these cars in the
Billboard Refrigerator Car book by myself and Ed Kaminski that was
recently published by Signature Press. For the Cudahy cars, see pp.
39-40 and 180; for the NADX cars, see pp. 50-59. Other examples are
scattered elsewhere in the book. That's not to say that some of the
Atlas models aren't bogus - a bunch of them are - but some are
correct (except for the model's unfortunate shortcomings) and the
book shows many other examples that Atlas hasn't yet produced, but
could. This is yet another instance where what you want to know may
not be on the internet but is readily available elsewhere. The book
has been widely advertised and reviewed, and if you don't want to buy
it, then any library should be able to get a copy via interlibrary
loan. The day when every piece of information known to man can be
googled may be coming, but it ain't here yet.

Richard Hendrickson

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