Topics

1950s model manufacturers - was Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature

Peter Ness
 

Bob, Thanks for publishing as I also have an interest in the hobby history.

 

These may not help much, but perhaps be enough to jog someone’s’ memory for correct information; The newer ownership may well have removed them from a Southern California location.

 

Ayers Models – these were picked up by someone else-  I recall seeing the Ayers Chairs kit in Walthers catalogs, but no longer manufactured by Ayers.

Cliff Line – I recall reading years ago this line was also picked up by another company? Or perhaps I’m confusing with Dale Newton/Red Ball/Wabash Valley…

Ulrich – at one time Walthers appeared to at least manage this line along with Silver Streak; I think the products were identified as “a division of Wm K Walthers” on packaging. As of a couple years ago, someone turned up in an ebay search who was still selling limited Ulrich vehicle cast metal parts under the Ulrich name.

Kurtz-Kraft – I “think” Cannonball Car Shops produced some Kurtz-Kraft flat PS-1 kits.  I bought one in a hobby shop years ago – the shop owner told me “they used to be Kurtz-Kraft”.

Lindsay  - I am pretty sure this product line went to someone else as well; I have an old Lindsay Alco FB-2 die cast shell; may have been Hobbytown or Cary?

Revell – they also made structure kits and (my opinion) to this day have the finest styrene brick wall molding detail around (roundhouse, bakery and print shop kits).  I recall reading about the kit die-maker (or designer?) years ago.  His name was Armitage and he wrote a short booklet on working with styrene which is still available today (newer edition, from PSC) I believe the model railroad equipment and structure lines followed different paths after Revell; I recall seeing the structure kits from both AHM and Con-Cor.

 

Tony – I enjoyed your Globe blog as well – thanks for posting the link.

 

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. The first wood freight car kit I built was a Silver Streak 36’ Wood New Haven box car. The car tuned out very nicely (my opinion) and had I used todays available detail parts (brake wheel, housing, car ends, underbody parts, stirrup steps, NBW castings, etc.) and appropriate wire for grab irons instead of what came with the kit, I think it would still stand up with many of today’s offerings. Perhaps not at the top of the heap, but in the running or honorable mention categories. Of course as a kid, almost my entire roster was Athearn and MDC/Roundhouse with a smattering of Varney and Tyco/Mantua….98 cents per kit was hard to beat for a kid with an allowance determined by weekly chore performance….

 

Stay healthy,

Peter Ness

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:29 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature

 

1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers

I've had discussions with several people who are/were model railroad manufacturers and asked them about their fellow model railroad manufacturers who were in Southern California in the 1950s. This was golden age locally with many firms located in the area.

I learned in those days long past the manufacturers were somewhat of a fraternity who frequently met socially (usually monthly) to discuss the hobby and product plans.

Sometimes they traded product lines that were either in development or on the market. 

I started to compile a list of Southern California manufacturers from the decade of the 1950s. The current list is below. It is based on advertisements placed in Model Railroader in the 1950 through 1959 January issues plus interviews with folks who were still alive to confirm details.

One point I will mention is how to pronounce the name "Suydam". I learned from the son of one of the company founders that it is pronounced "So Damn", as in "It is so damn hot outside".

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

++++

1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers

 

Company

Primary Products

City

Original Owner(s)

Subsequent Owner(s)

 

 

 

 

 

A.C.I.

Locomotive

Long Beach

 

 

Ace Products

Roadbed

Pasadena

 

 

Art Fleming Models

Grab Irons, Car Kits

Studio City

 

 

Athearn

O & HO Models

Los Angeles

Irvin R. Athearn

 

Ayres Models

Structures

Garden Grove

Thomas Ayres

 

Baumgarten

Track Cleaner

Santa Barbara

 

 

Beemax Plastics

Structures

Los Angeles

 

 

Bert Welch Co.

Trees & Bushes

Los Angeles

 

 

Bill Johnson Model Trains

O Scale Passenger Cars

Long Beach

 

 

Binkley Models

HO, HOn3 Kits

Inglewood

 

 

Blue Line Products

Passenger Cars

Spring Valley

 

 

Bowser

Steam Loco & Parts

Redlands

 

Lewis English (1961)

Boxcar Ken

Rail

Los Angeles

 

 

Budd Model Co.

Steam Loco Parts

Sherman Oaks

 

 

C. J. Ulrich

Track Cleaner, Signals

North Hollywood

Charles J. Ulrich

 

Central Valley

Trucks, Car Kits

North Hollywood

George Hook

Jack Parker, Jeff Parker

Champion Model Co.

Decals

North Hollywood

 

 

Cliff Line

Caboose Kit

North Hollywood

 

 

Devore

O & HO Couplers

South Pasadena

 

 

Don Fowler Co.

Semaphore, Crossing Gate, Wig-Wag

Los Angeles

 

 

E. Suydam & Co.

Structures

Pasadena, Duarte

Edward C. Suydam, Douglas R. Suydam

 

Electronic Sales Co.

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles

 

 

G. L. Electronics

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles

 

 

Globe

 

 

 

 

Hi-Ballers Corp.

Link & Pin Couplers, Car Kits

Burbank

 

 

Joseph B. Maier

Live Steam Loco Plans

Pacoima

 

 

Kadee

Couplers

Reseda

Dale Edwards

 

Kurtz-Kraft Models Co.

Signals,Switch Machines, Car Kits, Parts

Long Beach, Tarzana

Albert Kurtz, Jr.

 

KWR, Inc.

Locomotives

Los Angeles

 

 

Lindsay Products, Inc.

Locomotives, Motors, Spiker

Culver City

Robert Lindsay

 

Little Engines

Live Steam Loco & Parts

Lomita

 

 

Mod-Ac Mfg. Co.

Hansom Cab

Los Angeles

 

 

Model Builder's Supply Co.

Hot Metal Car, Water Tank

Duarte

 

 

Model Die Casting

Couplers, Handcars, Paint

Los Angeles

Clarence Mentier

 

Model Engineering Works

O & HO Parts, Kits

Monrovia

Richard Wheeler

 

Model Toy Mfg. Co.

Structures

Burbank

 

 

Modelcraft Printing Services

Doors, Windows

Pasadena

 

 

Models & Miniatures Specialties

Scenery Supplies

San Dimas

 

 

Modelton

Structures, Billboard Posters

Burbank

 

 

Moyes J. Murphy

Power Supplies

Arcadia

 

 

Olson-Spencer

Builders Plates

Los Angeles

 

 

Pacific Design & Development Co.

Motors

El Segundo

 

 

Pactra Chemical Co.

Paint

Los Angeles

 

 

Revell

Train Sets

Hollywood

Lewis H. Glaser

 

Robico

O & HO Locomotive, Cars

Universal City

 

 

Rollins House Miniatures

Detail Parts

Covina, Cucamonga

 

 

Silver Streak Corp.

Car Kits

Los Angeles

 

 

Standard Wire & Cable

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Culver City

 

 

Stewart-Lundahl Co.

Paint (310M)

North Hollywood

 

Ulrich?

Town-Craft Models

O & HO Structures

Hermosa Beach

 

 

Tru-Scale

Track & Roadbed

San Dimas

August A. Kniff

Cliff Meistel

W. H. Olson

Builders Plates

Los Angeles

 

 

Wesley Mfg. Co.

Cannonball Products, Ore Cars

Van Nuys

 

 

Western Narrow Gauge Model Shop

Track Gauge

Inglewood

 

 

Zenith Model Co.

Power Supplies

Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clover Custom Decals

Decals

Santa Monica

 

 

Silver Streak (Truce Scale))

Car Kits

San Dimas

 

 

K & O Models

Locomotive, Power Pack

Van Nuys

 

 

G. F. Harbin

Reostat

San Dimas

 

 

Gaylord Products

Power Supplies, Controls

Van Nuys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wright Enterprises/MHP

 

Thousand Oaks

Dick Wright

 

 

 

1950 Champ decals in North Hollywood, 1951 Champion Decal Co. in Fresno, 1959 in San Jose

1950 Kurtz-Kraft in Burlingame, 1953 in Long Beach, 1955 in Oroville

Olson-Spencer probably same as W. H. Olson

1958 Weston Mini-Figure Co. in Healdsburg

1959 Clover Decals in  Santa Rosa

1959 Cal-Scale in Pinedale

 

 

Dennis Storzek
 

On Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 07:08 AM, Peter Ness wrote:

Revell – they also made structure kits and (my opinion) to this day have the finest styrene brick wall molding detail around (roundhouse, bakery and print shop kits).  I recall reading about the kit die-maker (or designer?) years ago.  His name was Armitage and he wrote a short booklet on working with styrene which is still available today (newer edition, from PSC)

That would be Al Armitage, the "dean of styrene". With that booklet he singlehandedly changed the course of scratchbuilding (and pattern making) in our hobby. As to the Revell engine house/bakery/print shop, that was cast tooling. The brickwork has so much character because every single one of those scale size bricks was placed in the pattern by hand.


 

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. The first wood freight car kit I built was a Silver Streak 36’ Wood New Haven box car. The car tuned out very nicely (my opinion) and had I used todays available detail parts (brake wheel, housing, car ends, underbody parts, stirrup steps, NBW castings, etc.) and appropriate wire for grab irons instead of what came with the kit, I think it would still stand up with many of today’s offerings.

The problem I've always had with the old wood craftsman kits was the maker's insistence on using Northeastern scribed wood for the car siding, the stuff with the inch wide gaps for board grooves. The hobby didn't get a decent representation of V groove siding until Evergreen came out with their scribed sheet in the late seventies.

Dennis Storzek

 

 

Tony Thompson
 

Peter Ness wrote:

Ulrich – at one time Walthers appeared to at least manage this line along with Silver Streak; I think the products were identified as “a division of Wm K Walthers” on packaging. As of a couple years ago, someone turned up in an ebay search who was still selling limited Ulrich vehicle cast metal parts under the Ulrich name.

     Walthers bought the dies and produced the GS gondola cars for a time; I have several in Walthers kit boxes. The gentleman in Colorado who obtained the dies from Walthers really only wanted to do the highway trucks, and to my knowledge never re-issued any freight cars.

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. .. (they) would still stand up with many of today’s offerings. 

     Very true. I have enjoyed owning (and restoring) a number of HO scale classic freight car models, including an excellent Athearn metal tank car, as described in a blog post. If you're interested, here is a link:


Tony Thompson



Kenneth Montero
 

Walthers also produced the Ulrich metal hopper cars.

Ken Montero

On 06/27/2020 2:25 PM Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:


Peter Ness wrote:

Ulrich – at one time Walthers appeared to at least manage this line along with Silver Streak; I think the products were identified as “a division of Wm K Walthers” on packaging. As of a couple years ago, someone turned up in an ebay search who was still selling limited Ulrich vehicle cast metal parts under the Ulrich name.

     Walthers bought the dies and produced the GS gondola cars for a time; I have several in Walthers kit boxes. The gentleman in Colorado who obtained the dies from Walthers really only wanted to do the highway trucks, and to my knowledge never re-issued any freight cars.

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. .. (they) would still stand up with many of today’s offerings. 

     Very true. I have enjoyed owning (and restoring) a number of HO scale classic freight car models, including an excellent Athearn metal tank car, as described in a blog post. If you're interested, here is a link:


Tony Thompson



thmsdmpsy
 

Both Cliff LIne and Clover Decals are currently owned by Clover House.  Tom Dempsey, Owner, Clover House

On Friday, June 26, 2020, 07:09:04 AM PDT, Peter Ness <prness@...> wrote:


Bob, Thanks for publishing as I also have an interest in the hobby history.

 

These may not help much, but perhaps be enough to jog someone’s’ memory for correct information; The newer ownership may well have removed them from a Southern California location.

 

Ayers Models – these were picked up by someone else-  I recall seeing the Ayers Chairs kit in Walthers catalogs, but no longer manufactured by Ayers.

Cliff Line – I recall reading years ago this line was also picked up by another company? Or perhaps I’m confusing with Dale Newton/Red Ball/Wabash Valley…

Ulrich – at one time Walthers appeared to at least manage this line along with Silver Streak; I think the products were identified as “a division of Wm K Walthers” on packaging. As of a couple years ago, someone turned up in an ebay search who was still selling limited Ulrich vehicle cast metal parts under the Ulrich name.

Kurtz-Kraft – I “think” Cannonball Car Shops produced some Kurtz-Kraft flat PS-1 kits.  I bought one in a hobby shop years ago – the shop owner told me “they used to be Kurtz-Kraft”.

Lindsay  - I am pretty sure this product line went to someone else as well; I have an old Lindsay Alco FB-2 die cast shell; may have been Hobbytown or Cary?

Revell – they also made structure kits and (my opinion) to this day have the finest styrene brick wall molding detail around (roundhouse, bakery and print shop kits).  I recall reading about the kit die-maker (or designer?) years ago.  His name was Armitage and he wrote a short booklet on working with styrene which is still available today (newer edition, from PSC) I believe the model railroad equipment and structure lines followed different paths after Revell; I recall seeing the structure kits from both AHM and Con-Cor.

 

Tony – I enjoyed your Globe blog as well – thanks for posting the link.

 

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. The first wood freight car kit I built was a Silver Streak 36’ Wood New Haven box car. The car tuned out very nicely (my opinion) and had I used todays available detail parts (brake wheel, housing, car ends, underbody parts, stirrup steps, NBW castings, etc.) and appropriate wire for grab irons instead of what came with the kit, I think it would still stand up with many of today’s offerings. Perhaps not at the top of the heap, but in the running or honorable mention categories. Of course as a kid, almost my entire roster was Athearn and MDC/Roundhouse with a smattering of Varney and Tyco/Mantua….98 cents per kit was hard to beat for a kid with an allowance determined by weekly chore performance….

 

Stay healthy,

Peter Ness

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:29 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature

 

1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers

I've had discussions with several people who are/were model railroad manufacturers and asked them about their fellow model railroad manufacturers who were in Southern California in the 1950s. This was golden age locally with many firms located in the area.

I learned in those days long past the manufacturers were somewhat of a fraternity who frequently met socially (usually monthly) to discuss the hobby and product plans.

Sometimes they traded product lines that were either in development or on the market. 

I started to compile a list of Southern California manufacturers from the decade of the 1950s. The current list is below. It is based on advertisements placed in Model Railroader in the 1950 through 1959 January issues plus interviews with folks who were still alive to confirm details.

One point I will mention is how to pronounce the name "Suydam". I learned from the son of one of the company founders that it is pronounced "So Damn", as in "It is so damn hot outside".

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

++++

1950s Southern California Model RR Manufacturers

 

Company

Primary Products

City

Original Owner(s)

Subsequent Owner(s)

 

 

 

 

 

A.C.I.

Locomotive

Long Beach

 

 

Ace Products

Roadbed

Pasadena

 

 

Art Fleming Models

Grab Irons, Car Kits

Studio City

 

 

Athearn

O & HO Models

Los Angeles

Irvin R. Athearn

 

Ayres Models

Structures

Garden Grove

Thomas Ayres

 

Baumgarten

Track Cleaner

Santa Barbara

 

 

Beemax Plastics

Structures

Los Angeles

 

 

Bert Welch Co.

Trees & Bushes

Los Angeles

 

 

Bill Johnson Model Trains

O Scale Passenger Cars

Long Beach

 

 

Binkley Models

HO, HOn3 Kits

Inglewood

 

 

Blue Line Products

Passenger Cars

Spring Valley

 

 

Bowser

Steam Loco & Parts

Redlands

 

Lewis English (1961)

Boxcar Ken

Rail

Los Angeles

 

 

Budd Model Co.

Steam Loco Parts

Sherman Oaks

 

 

C. J. Ulrich

Track Cleaner, Signals

North Hollywood

Charles J. Ulrich

 

Central Valley

Trucks, Car Kits

North Hollywood

George Hook

Jack Parker, Jeff Parker

Champion Model Co.

Decals

North Hollywood

 

 

Cliff Line

Caboose Kit

North Hollywood

 

 

Devore

O & HO Couplers

South Pasadena

 

 

Don Fowler Co.

Semaphore, Crossing Gate, Wig-Wag

Los Angeles

 

 

E. Suydam & Co.

Structures

Pasadena, Duarte

Edward C. Suydam, Douglas R. Suydam

 

Electronic Sales Co.

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles

 

 

G. L. Electronics

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Los Angeles

 

 

Globe

 

 

 

 

Hi-Ballers Corp.

Link & Pin Couplers, Car Kits

Burbank

 

 

Joseph B. Maier

Live Steam Loco Plans

Pacoima

 

 

Kadee

Couplers

Reseda

Dale Edwards

 

Kurtz-Kraft Models Co.

Signals,Switch Machines, Car Kits, Parts

Long Beach, Tarzana

Albert Kurtz, Jr.

 

KWR, Inc.

Locomotives

Los Angeles

 

 

Lindsay Products, Inc.

Locomotives, Motors, Spiker

Culver City

Robert Lindsay

 

Little Engines

Live Steam Loco & Parts

Lomita

 

 

Mod-Ac Mfg. Co.

Hansom Cab

Los Angeles

 

 

Model Builder's Supply Co.

Hot Metal Car, Water Tank

Duarte

 

 

Model Die Casting

Couplers, Handcars, Paint

Los Angeles

Clarence Mentier

 

Model Engineering Works

O & HO Parts, Kits

Monrovia

Richard Wheeler

 

Model Toy Mfg. Co.

Structures

Burbank

 

 

Modelcraft Printing Services

Doors, Windows

Pasadena

 

 

Models & Miniatures Specialties

Scenery Supplies

San Dimas

 

 

Modelton

Structures, Billboard Posters

Burbank

 

 

Moyes J. Murphy

Power Supplies

Arcadia

 

 

Olson-Spencer

Builders Plates

Los Angeles

 

 

Pacific Design & Development Co.

Motors

El Segundo

 

 

Pactra Chemical Co.

Paint

Los Angeles

 

 

Revell

Train Sets

Hollywood

Lewis H. Glaser

 

Robico

O & HO Locomotive, Cars

Universal City

 

 

Rollins House Miniatures

Detail Parts

Covina, Cucamonga

 

 

Silver Streak Corp.

Car Kits

Los Angeles

 

 

Standard Wire & Cable

Power Supplies, Motors, Controls

Culver City

 

 

Stewart-Lundahl Co.

Paint (310M)

North Hollywood

 

Ulrich?

Town-Craft Models

O & HO Structures

Hermosa Beach

 

 

Tru-Scale

Track & Roadbed

San Dimas

August A. Kniff

Cliff Meistel

W. H. Olson

Builders Plates

Los Angeles

 

 

Wesley Mfg. Co.

Cannonball Products, Ore Cars

Van Nuys

 

 

Western Narrow Gauge Model Shop

Track Gauge

Inglewood

 

 

Zenith Model Co.

Power Supplies

Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clover Custom Decals

Decals

Santa Monica

 

 

Silver Streak (Truce Scale))

Car Kits

San Dimas

 

 

K & O Models

Locomotive, Power Pack

Van Nuys

 

 

G. F. Harbin

Reostat

San Dimas

 

 

Gaylord Products

Power Supplies, Controls

Van Nuys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wright Enterprises/MHP

 

Thousand Oaks

Dick Wright

 

 

 

1950 Champ decals in North Hollywood, 1951 Champion Decal Co. in Fresno, 1959 in San Jose

1950 Kurtz-Kraft in Burlingame, 1953 in Long Beach, 1955 in Oroville

Olson-Spencer probably same as W. H. Olson

1958 Weston Mini-Figure Co. in Healdsburg

1959 Clover Decals in  Santa Rosa

1959 Cal-Scale in Pinedale

 

 

Richard Bale <Rhbale@...>
 


Indeed, Alan Armitage designed the Revell engine house and fought hard with management who wanted nice even bricks rather than the weathered variety. The tool maker on that project was Jack Parker, who later purchased Central Valley Models.
Richard Bale

In a message dated 6/26/2020 10:50:27 AM Pacific Standard Time, destorzek@... writes:

On Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 07:08 AM, Peter Ness wrote:

Revell – they also made structure kits and (my opinion) to this day have the finest styrene brick wall molding detail around (roundhouse, bakery and print shop kits).  I recall reading about the kit die-maker (or designer?) years ago.  His name was Armitage and he wrote a short booklet on working with styrene which is still available today (newer edition, from PSC)

That would be Al Armitage, the "dean of styrene". With that booklet he singlehandedly changed the course of scratchbuilding (and pattern making) in our hobby. As to the Revell engine house/bakery/print shop, that was cast tooling. The brickwork has so much character because every single one of those scale size bricks was placed in the pattern by hand.

 

 

To keep this within STMFC content; It’s amazing (to me) that “back in the day” some manufacturers really made such a top effort to produce both accurate and detailed freight car kits working with the available technology. The first wood freight car kit I built was a Silver Streak 36’ Wood New Haven box car. The car tuned out very nicely (my opinion) and had I used todays available detail parts (brake wheel, housing, car ends, underbody parts, stirrup steps, NBW castings, etc.) and appropriate wire for grab irons instead of what came with the kit, I think it would still stand up with many of today’s offerings.

The problem I've always had with the old wood craftsman kits was the maker's insistence on using Northeastern scribed wood for the car siding, the stuff with the inch wide gaps for board grooves. The hobby didn't get a decent representation of V groove siding until Evergreen came out with their scribed sheet in the late seventies.

Dennis Storzek