Impression from the Albrecht photos


Robert kirkham
 

As I look at this series of photos, I’m struck by the dead flat of the freight car paint – even the steel cars.  Does the film from that era create the impression, or is that an accurate depiction of how it was? 
 
Rob Kirkham
 

Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 6:16 AM
Subject: [STMFC] An in service pix of the C&O waffle iron end boxcar!
 


Its in the Albrecht collection:
 
 
gary laakso
south of Mike Brock



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water.kresse@...
 

C&O FC paint specs were to cover the surface so that you could stencil them properly.  I was told by a Huntington, WV, based supplier no shinier than today's "egg shell" gloss.  Cars just coming out of the shop stand out darker and glossier compared to those being around smoke a bit.

 

Al Kresse
    





Richard Hendrickson
 

On Jan 18, 2014, at 9:58 AM, Robert <rdkirkham@...> wrote:

As I look at this series of photos, I’m struck by the dead flat of the freight car paint – even the steel cars.  Does the film from that era create the impression, or is that an accurate depiction of how it was?
Rob, I just posted a response to a similar observation by Gary Laakso.  The improvements in paint and the shift from steam locos to diesels in the 1950s have left a lot of modelers with an incorrect impression of how freight cars looked at the end of the steam era.  Paint was often more or less shiny when cars emerged from the paint shops, but that didn’t list for more than a week or two.  Under assault from locomotive stack exhaust and industrial pollution, which was far worse then than most modelers can imagine today, paint oxidized and became dull and dirt and grime accumulated very quickly.  It’s also worth pointing out that gloss does not scale down well.  On a model, paint as glossy as the fresh paint on a prototype freight car doesn’t look realistic.  What you’re seeing in those photos isn’t the film misleading you, it’s the way it was.

Richard Hendrickson


Robert kirkham
 

It is striking, especially with so much sunshine pouring down in the photos.   That sunshine also appears to wash out much indication/contrast of streaks and blotches, which generally seem fairly subdued in these shots. 
 
Rob  
 

Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 12:08 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Impression from the Albrecht photos
 


On Jan 18, 2014, at 9:58 AM, Robert <rdkirkham@...> wrote:

As I look at this series of photos, I’m struck by the dead flat of the freight car paint – even the steel cars.  Does the film from that era create the impression, or is that an accurate depiction of how it was?
Rob, I just posted a response to a similar observation by Gary Laakso.  The improvements in paint and the shift from steam locos to diesels in the 1950s have left a lot of modelers with an incorrect impression of how freight cars looked at the end of the steam era.  Paint was often more or less shiny when cars emerged from the paint shops, but that didn’t list for more than a week or two.  Under assault from locomotive stack exhaust and industrial pollution, which was far worse then than most modelers can imagine today, paint oxidized and became dull and dirt and grime accumulated very quickly.  It’s also worth pointing out that gloss does not scale down well.  On a model, paint as glossy as the fresh paint on a prototype freight car doesn’t look realistic.  What you’re seeing in those photos isn’t the film misleading you, it’s the way it was.

Richard Hendrickson


Tim O'Connor
 

Which probably explains why passenger car paint specs that I've read
call for overcoats of "varnish" -- Clearly passenger cars were intended
to be shiny. :-)

Tim O'Connor

As I look at this series of photos, I�m struck by the dead flat of the freight car paint � even the steel cars. Does the film from that era create the impression, or is that an accurate depiction of how it was?
Rob, I just posted a response to a similar observation by Gary Laakso. The improvements in paint and the shift from steam locos to diesels in the 1950s have left a lot of modelers with an incorrect impression of how freight cars looked at the end of the steam era. Paint was often more or less shiny when cars emerged from the paint shops, but that didn�t list for more than a week or two. Under assault from locomotive stack exhaust and industrial pollution, which was far worse then than most modelers can imagine today, paint oxidized and became dull and dirt and grime accumulated very quickly. It�s also worth pointing out that gloss does not scale down well. On a model, paint as glossy as the fresh paint on a prototype freight car doesn�t look realistic. What you�re seeing in those photos isn�t the film misleading you, it�s the way it was.

Richard Hendrickson


Edward
 

The varnish used on passenger equipment was like that used in marine applications, because passenger cars got washed frequently. Such washing could be hard on paint but a few coats of varnish over it would hold up and the finish would look reasonably well after many washings. Some roads like B&O (until in its death throes in the fangs of the Chessie cat) repainted their passenger cars as often as every 4 to 5 years to assure a fresh appearance.

And yes, back in the day, presenting shiny and clean cars to the traveling public was deemed better by the company brass than putting out something dull and dirty for them to board. But that is for the passenger list. Not STMFC.

However in a few instances, such varnish was also used on some freight cars - especially those painted light colors such as white, yellow or orange. These colors tended to chalk out and wear off rather quickly.

Paint was usually mixed and made on site at the railroad car shops and applied by brush. Quality and color could and did vary from shop to shop. The use of sprayers to apply paint also faced an up-hill battle on a number of railroads holding to older ways, preferring the brush and their own home-made paints. Spraying paint was looked upon as wasteful.

Modern paint formulations specifically for spraying were developed during the 1930s. They also greatly reduced the chalk-out and fading issue as well as provided more consistent color and quality for the roads willing to pay more for such factory-mixed paint. And most did, during and after WW II.

Ed Bommer


Tony Thompson
 

Ed Bommer wrote:

Paint was usually mixed and made on site at the railroad car shops and applied by brush. Quality and color could and did vary from shop to shop. The use of sprayers to apply paint also faced an up-hill battle on a number of railroads holding to older ways, preferring the brush and their own home-made paints. Spraying paint was looked upon as wasteful. 

         I think this summary folds several things together, possibly confusing the issue. The first ready-mixed paint, in a newly-invented resealable metal can, debuted in 1880. By 1910 many railroads were changing from mix-on-the-spot to ready-mix paint. This is evident in a series of articles in the 1905-1914 period in Railway Age and associated journals, in which there was an active disputation about the best way to paint the new-fangled steel cars and get the paint to stick, including evaluation of ready-mix paints. Certainly it is the case that several railroad paint chip sets from the 1920s refer to paint brands, not to mixing formulas.
          Spraying was not common before World War II, as I understand it, but became commonplace after the war. I have that impression from, again, Railway Age, but if anyone can put more specific dates to this, I would be interested to see them.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Richard Hendrickson
 

On Jan 18, 2014, at 5:30 PM, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:

          Spraying was not common before World War II, as I understand it, but became commonplace after the war. I have that impression from, again, Railway Age, but if anyone can put more specific dates to this, I would be interested to see them.

The Santa Fe adopted spray painting for its freight cars at least as early as the early ‘30s, and this made possible the application of the bold slogan-and-map lettering schemes starting in 1940.  Railway Age (and the Car Builders’ Cyclopedia) had a feature article showing spray painting equipment in use in the Topeka car shops.  The Santa Fe was evidently slightly ahead of the curve in adopting spray painting, but other railroads must have quickly followed suit, as the slogan lettering schemes adopted by Union Pacific. Burlington, Chicago & Northwestern, etc. obviously required spray painting; applying stencil paste to those very large stencils by hand would have been much too time and labor intensive.

Richard Hendrickson



Eric Lombard
 

Hi Everyone...
Here are a couple of quotes that might be of interest on this topic:

"The earliest case of spray painting applied to railway work was been described by the prominent railway journalist Angus Sinclair, who visited a Southern Pacific engine house near San Francisco late in the 1880s that was in the process of spray painting. He was told that the scheme would next be applied to freight cars."  White, The American Railroad Passenger Car, Part 2, p447.

"A box car has been spray-painted by one 54-cent man [spray painter] in 15 minutes, wheras it would take a  72-cent man [brush painter] about four hours to apply the paint with a brush. The relative amounts of paint used are 9 and 11 gallons."  1922, Editorial: Paint spraying in railroad shops. Railway Age, 1922, Vol. 72, No. 11: 724.

Eric Lombard
Homewood, IL


Tony Thompson
 

Eric Lombard wrote:

The earliest case of spray painting applied to railway work was been described by the prominent railway journalist Angus Sinclair, who visited a Southern Pacific engine house near San Francisco late in the 1880s that was in the process of spray painting. He was told that the scheme would next be applied to freight cars."  White, The American Railroad Passenger Car, Part 2, p447.

"A box car has been spray-painted by one 54-cent man [spray painter] in 15 minutes, wheras it would take a  72-cent man [brush painter] about four hours to apply the paint with a brush. The relative amounts of paint used are 9 and 11 gallons."  1922, Editorial: Paint spraying in railroad shops. Railway Age, 1922, Vol. 72, No. 11: 724.

      Thanks, Eric. Good sources. 

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





CJ Riley
 

While not directly related to freight cars, I have a cautionary tale. In 1962 I spent a summer at Levinson Steel (working in the old Pressed Steel Car plant in McKee's Rocks PA) painting the plate girders and a few trusses for bridges on the new I-70 through Ohio. A more highly paid man sprayed the steel components, but to comply with the specs, we lowly painters brushed out the sprayed paint. Evidently, the state was concerned about the spray reaching into the nooks and crannies for a proper finish.
The Levinson method allowed for the economy of paint while leaving brush marks to satisfy state inspectors.

 
CJ Riley
Bainbridge Island WA


From: Richard Hendrickson
To: "STMFC@..." <STMFC@...>
Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 5:41 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Impression from the Albrecht photos

 
On Jan 18, 2014, at 5:30 PM, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:

          Spraying was not common before World War II, as I understand it, but became commonplace after the war. I have that impression from, again, Railway Age, but if anyone can put more specific dates to this, I would be interested to see them.

The Santa Fe adopted spray painting for its freight cars at least as early as the early ‘30s, and this made possible the application of the bold slogan-and-map lettering schemes starting in 1940.  Railway Age (and the Car Builders’ Cyclopedia) had a feature article showing spray painting equipment in use in the Topeka car shops.  The Santa Fe was evidently slightly ahead of the curve in adopting spray painting, but other railroads must have quickly followed suit, as the slogan lettering schemes adopted by Union Pacific. Burlington, Chicago & Northwestern, etc. obviously required spray painting; applying stencil paste to those very large stencils by hand would have been much too time and labor intensive.

Richard Hendrickson




Ray Breyer
 

There's information on spray painting, sandblasting, and heat baking paint on freight and passenger cars in the 1919 MCBA annual report. Spray painting freight equipment is definitely nothing new.
 
Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL



From: cj riley
To: "STMFC@..."
Sent: Sunday, January 19, 2014 10:01 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Impression from the Albrecht photos



While not directly related to freight cars, I have a cautionary tale. In 1962 I spent a summer at Levinson Steel (working in the old Pressed Steel Car plant in McKee's Rocks PA) painting the plate girders and a few trusses for bridges on the new I-70 through Ohio. A more highly paid man sprayed the steel components, but to comply with the specs, we lowly painters brushed out the sprayed paint. Evidently, the state was concerned about the spray reaching into the nooks and crannies for a proper finish.
The Levinson method allowed for the economy of paint while leaving brush marks to satisfy state inspectors.

 
CJ Riley
Bainbridge Island WA


From: Richard Hendrickson
To: "STMFC@..."
Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 5:41 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Impression from the Albrecht photos

 
On Jan 18, 2014, at 5:30 PM, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:

          Spraying was not common before World War II, as I understand it, but became commonplace after the war. I have that impression from, again, Railway Age, but if anyone can put more specific dates to this, I would be interested to see them.

The Santa Fe adopted spray painting for its freight cars at least as early as the early ‘30s, and this made possible the application of the bold slogan-and-map lettering schemes starting in 1940.  Railway Age (and the Car Builders’ Cyclopedia) had a feature article showing spray painting equipment in use in the Topeka car shops.  The Santa Fe was evidently slightly ahead of the curve in adopting spray painting, but other railroads must have quickly followed suit, as the slogan lettering schemes adopted by Union Pacific. Burlington, Chicago & Northwestern, etc. obviously required spray painting; applying stencil paste to those very large stencils by hand would have been much too time and labor intensive.

Richard Hendrickson