B&O Freight Car Brown, was Re: B&O Wagontop

Jim Mischke

Prior to 1945, B&O used a hand mixed paint with a ferrous oxide pigment on its boxcars and cabooses, calling the recipe "Freight Car Brown".

Ferrous oxide is basically aged rust, a brown hue with a reddish overtone.

A genuine B&O paint chip for this color has not emerged, and color photos of this paint in decent shape are rare. There is a newly painted wood M-15j in a Jack Delano Kodachrome image at Galewood in Chicago at the Library of Congress web site. I work from that.

This brown paint weathers quickly (rust paint on a rust prone steel boxcar) into a myriad of effects. Sometimes it feels quixotic to search for the original color when it doesn't last. Still, it would be good to start with some documented B&O practice, however elusive.

I am looking at Tamika military model paints for inspiration, their red-brown in particular, but will withhold judgement for the time being, consider it research in progress.

In 1945, B&O began to specify bright red oxide commercial paints for new cars and repairs. Ed Hawkin's ACF paint chip collection for B&O boxcar orders shows that this transition was not uniform nor timely. Photo evidence suggests some B&O car shops kept using freight car brown for years to paint repaired cars.

The best paint for this B&O bright red oxide is Scalecoat Oxide Red #2002. I will also use Floquil Zinc Chromate primer for variety.

--- In STMFC@..., O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:

Gentlemen, any idea of which model paints, if any out of the bottle best
match this " Alkali Resisting Brown" ?

On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM, Ed Hawkins <hawk0621@...> wrote:

On Jan 28, 2011, at 10:07 PM, rwitt_2000 wrote:

I believe the post-WWII "13 States" cars should be painted oxide red
the earlier dark brown. Maybe Ed Hawkins can find the bill of
to verify the paint specifications for the 500 class M-58a built by
in 1947 for the B&O.
You are correct. According to the paint sample for the M-58A 50' box
cars built by AC&F in 10-47, the cars received Pittsburgh Synthetic
paint (an oxide shade). So the switch from brown to oxide red
occurred sometime between 12-41, when the M-55A/B box cars that
received "Alkali Resisting Brown" were built, and 10-47. This oxide
shade was similar to that used by ACL, CNW, L&N, UP and others during
the postwar years.

A portion of the M-60 and M-61 50' box cars built in 1951 received an
even lighter-brighter shade of oxide red, much like the color Western
Maryland used during the 1950s, while the balance received the same
oxide shade as the M-58A cars.
Ed Hawkins

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Fenton Wells
3047 Creek Run
Sanford NC 27332

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