Print Friendly, PDF & Email

O Scale Hall of Fame Candidate Criteria

The following is the criteria for consideration of candidates for the O Scale Hall of Fame. This criteria should be centered around those whom were early adopters, promoters and persistent proponents of 2-rail O scale (including outside third rail) either as individuals or groups as well as those who are currently involved and having an impact on the 2-rail O scale hobby today.

  • Has the individual manufactured or imported any products that have greatly impacted the 2-rail O scale hobby?
  • Has the individual developed any significant standards that have been adopted and are currently in use in the 2-rail O scale hobby?
  • the individual been influential in organizing significant clubs, groups or shows that continue to support the 2-rail O scale hobby?
  • Has the individual shared knowledge freely in order to aid or assist others in the 2-rail O scale hobby
The following individuals have been inducted into the O Scale Hall of Fame
for their contributions to the development and history of 2 rail O scale modeling.
The following will show the individuals by the show and year they were inducted.
Adams, Lindsey L. Hall of Fame Denver – 2021
Alexander, Edwin P. Hall of Fame 2020
Armitage, Al Hall of Fame California – 2019
Armstrong, John Hall of Fame Chicago - 2018
Athearn, Irving Hall of Fame Chicago - 2017
Auel, Carl Hall of Fame Chicago - 2016
Bechtold, Bruce C. Hall of Fame Chicago - 2015
Blackburn, Dr. Howard Hall of Fame Chicago - 2014
Buckhart, Norm Hall of Fame Parsippany - 2012
Canter, Jamesᅠ Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 2011
Clemens, John Hall of Fame Santa Clara – 2010
Clouser, Bill Hall of Fame Baltimore – 2009
Colson, Bob Hall of Fame Worcester – 2008
Cronkhite, Minton Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 2007
Cross, Lou Hall of Fame Parsippany – 2006
Donnelley, Elliott Hall of Fame St. Louis – 2005
Dressler, Tom Hall of Fame Washington, DC – 2004
Duddy, Ed Hall of Fame Irving – 2003
Eichman, John Hall of Fame Chicago – 2002
Ellis, Roland Hall of Fame Stamford – 2001
Ellison, Frank Hall of Fame New Orleans – 2000
Fischer, Joe Hall of Fame Marlboro – 1998
Foehrkolb, Joeᅠ Hall of Fame St. Louis – 1997
Giannovario, Joseph A. Hall of Fame San Antonio – 1996
Grandt, Clifford D. Hall of Fame Teaneck – 1995
Gray, Max Hall of Fame Denver – 1994
Haedrich, Thomas W. Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 1993
Harper, James
Hegge, Bob
Heier, Greg
Henon, Dan
Henry, Ken
Hill, Mike
Joiner, Lorrel
Jones, Vane
Kamalyan, Levon John
Keil, John
Kleinschmidt, Stu
Lenoir, Bill J.
Lobaugh, Rollinᅠ
Lorenzen, Jan
Mann, Scott
Mann, Mort
Marsh, Tomᅠ
Meyer, Richard Louis
Miller, Rod
Mucci, Pat
O'Connell, Mike
Piccirillo, Tom
Pope, Bill
Raas, Jean
Schnepf, Schnepf
Smith, John
Smith, Bob
Sofue, Kimpei
Staufer, Alvin F.
Stepek, Thaddeus (Ted)
Stevenson, Bob
Thornburgh, Mel
Vaughn, David
Waddington, Dave
Wagner, Robert
Wagner, Richard M. (Rich)
Wallace, George
Walthers, William K.
Waterman, Vince
Weaver, James J.
Weaver, Bob
Whelove, Bob
White, Jerry
Wolfer, Billᅠ
Yoder, Rich
Yorke, Thomas A.

Vane Jones
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 1993

Founder and publisher O Scale Railroading Magazine.

Bob Weaver
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 1993

Quality Craft and Weaver.

Bob Smith
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 1993

1997 marked the 50th year of continuous operation for one of O Scales foremost institutions: Central Locomotive Works. CLW was unique in several ways. Throughout all those years, just one man – Bob Smith, operated CLW. Even more remarkable, in contrast to the few other firms that go back that far, Bob Smith as CLW was still doing exactly the same thing he did 50 years previously – making the highest quality O Scale locomotive kits. Over those 50 years, Bob developed, engineered, and introduced significant innovations and advanced technologies that were rapidly adopted by the entire model railroad industry.

Bob’s model railroad manufacturing career began in 1940 when he machined drivers on a second hand lathe. He became quite well known in the Chicago model community for his custom machine work. This led to a commission by ALCO to custom make a model of the brand new PA diesel. Central Locomotive Works got its start when Bob decided to produce kits of the PA diesel. Next came power trucks. Bob’s redesign of diesel mechanisms included a chassis mounted motor with a transfer box on the end axle transmitting power to the wheels. This is the pattern that has been followed by other manufactures ever since, and is just one example of Bob’s many innovations copied throughout the model railroad industry. In 1950, Central Loco Works absorbed the Lenoir/Saginaw line of locomotive kits, and then the ScaleCraft O Scale line in 1951.

The famous PS-4 locomotive kit began with a request for a custom made model. Other O Scalers heard of the project and also asked for a model. The decision was made to make patterns and use lost-wax technique to produce the many detail parts for the PS-4. Thus was born what has become perhaps the finest steam engine kit ever available to model railroaders.

Bob moved to Florida in 1956. He later went to work at the model shop at the RCA computer plant near West Palm Beach. His alertness to new developments led him to design his own gearboxes out of an extremely tough, wear resistant but self-lubricating plastic. Bob, in the CLW shop behind his garage, carefully assembled every gearbox. Bob’s later diesel kits introduced “triple etching” for body parts. Another innovation was tabs on the etchings to help the modeler fit parts together in exact alignment.

Bob Smith’s engineering excellence and innovations changed and improved the product lines of many other model manufactures in all scales. Bob was one of the first inductees to the O Scale Hall of Fame. Over 50 years many hundreds of O Scale modelers were grateful to Bob for enabling them to be able to say with pride, “I built it.”

Central Locomotive Works was sold in 1999 to Lou and Bette Houlemarde due to Bob’s declining health.

Joe Gianovario - OST

Bill Clouser
O Scale Hall of Fame Denver – 1994

Clouser scale models.

Dan Henon
O Scale Hall of Fame Denver – 1994

Founder, O Scale News.

Lorrel Joiner
O Scale Hall of Fame Denver – 1994

Author and modeler.

Frank Ellison
O Scale Hall of Fame Teaneck – 1995

Frank Ellison was an O scale model railroader with no equal. His approach to model railroading was unique. He treated the layout as a stage and the trains as actors. He wrote articles about the roles the trains played on the stage. Ellison was one of the first to describe a card order system in order to “direct” his trains. Throughout his modeling career Ellison authored 116 articles about model railroading and inspired generations of modelers to come after him. Although he was first published in 1940, his seminal work was “The Art of Model Railroading” originally published in 1944 and reprinted in 1965 by O Scale Hall of Fame Model Railroader magazine.

Ellison was not just a theoretician. He used the systems he described. His O scale railroad, The Delta Lines, was constructed to facilitate operation, and, I seem to recall it was outside third rail.

One of Ellison’s legacies to the hobby is the scale mile or “smile” as he termed it. The length of a smile depended on the speed of the “fast” clock used. A train running at a scale 60 mph covers a scale mile in one real minute. It travels a smile in one “fast clock minute”. Divide a scale mile by the clock ratio to get the length of a smile. Ellison liked to use the “five minute hour” or a 12x fast clock. Ellison called his model mileposts “smileposts.”

Frank was elected to the O Scale Hall of Fame in 1995 at the O Scale National Convention in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Joe Gianovario - OST

Max Gray
O Scale Hall of Fame Teaneck – 1995

Early importer of O scale brass, founder of Champion Decal Company.

Rollin Lobaugh
O Scale Hall of Fame Teaneck – 1995

Rollin Lobaugh was one of the pillars of the O scale community. He started his model business in 1931. By 1941 Lobaugh offered an astounding 11 locomotive kits ranging from a 4-4-0 to a 4-6-6-4 Challenger and just about every wheel arrangement in between. Lobaugh also offered over 120 freight car kits. Lobaugh offered a “Warrantee of Fine Craftsmanship: Any purchaser of Lobaugh equipment who is not satisfied will, upon return of the equipment within thirty days, receive a refund of the full purchase price, plus a refund of all transportation costs paid by the purchaser.” Mr. Lobaugh liked to boast that no one had ever taken him up on his offer.

Compared to today’s imports many Lobaugh locomotives may seem crude, and they were in regard to fine details, but they were mechanical masterpieces. Many are still running today. Lobaugh produced models from 1931 through 1965, first under Mr Lobaugh himself and then under Earl Allison, the chief engineer and designer after Mr. Lobaugh’s death. Since then the Lobaugh line has passed through many hands over the years, getting split here and there. It currently is divided among three concerns, Locomotive Workshop, Trackside Specialties and Stevenson Preservation Lines. This last company` probably has the most extensive collection and has resurrected the Lobaugh SP Mikado kit.

Rollin Lobaugh was elected to the O Scale Hall of Fame in 1995 at the O nationals in New Jersey. In 1996, he was enrolled in the Model Railroad Industry Association (MRIA) Hall of Fame.

Though long gone, Lobaugh remains a pillar of the O scale community both in material presence and in spirit.

Joe Gianovario - OST

Bill Wolfer
O Scale Hall of Fame San Antonio – 1996

Bill Wolfer was an O scale custom builder, model manufacturer and mail order re-seller. Bill was a police detective in Philadelphia for almost 30 years. He became a part-time O scale dealer in the mid 1950’s. He ran “Bill’s Railroad Shop” from his home in Penna, then in California and later, on a reduced basis, in Ohio.

In the mid 1970’s he produced about 100 PRR GG1’s with imported body shells and his own drives. He also built smaller numbers of PRR FF-2s, E-33s and E-44s, later selling the patterns to Ed Duddy. Bill also produced about fifty 60' auto-parts boxcars (a late 1960’s prototype similar in some ways to the current AtlasO car).

Bill’s specialty was passenger trains; the classic named trains of the 40s and fifties. He researched every detail including interiors. And they were real beauties. Most had brass sides, wood roofs and were illuminated to show off the accurate interiors. For some customers he included a trademark passenger somewhere in each train, a person sized rabbit! Bill also built the huge passenger terminal at the Citrus Empire Model Railroad club in Orange, California where his passenger trains were always a hit.

A real gentleman and genuine booster of O scale, Bill was a lot of fun to be around. Bob Courtney/Joe Gianovario - OST

Bob Whelove
O Scale Hall of Fame St. Louis – 1997
Jerry White
O Scale Hall of Fame St. Louis – 1997

Jerry White grew up in Keene, NH, which was serviced by the Boston and Maine railroad. While he was a high school student in the mid-1930's he built his first model, the B&M railcar that provided local passenger service. The engineer was so impressed he bought it from Jerry. Thus started Jerry's career in railroad model building.

After graduation he developed and manufactured 2-8-0 and a 4-6-0 O scale locomotive kits.

Attempts at sharing equipment with other modelers led to his strong interest in standards in order to facilitate inter-operability. He was an early member of the NMRA in order to support its standards efforts. He served as technical chairman of the NMRA for four years, and is an NMRA Master Model Railroader.

Prior to World War II he worked for Rollin J. Lobaugh, one of the early manufacturers of O scale locomotives and rolling stock. After WW II he started Superior Models in Redwood City, CA, where he scratch built models of steam locomotives in TT, HO, OO, S, and O scale. He also scratch built some diesel locomotives, and many passenger cars including complete trains such as the Western Pacific's California Zephyr and the New York Central's Mercury.

In the 1950s Jerry designed and manufactured HO scale models of the PS-1 boxcar under the name of Kurtz Kraft. The bodies were injection molded, had separate free standing ladders, hand grabs, etc. The kits were available painted and lettered for several road names.

Over the years, he concentrated his model building activities on O scale, which was his personal favorite. He also developed a lively drive systems business as people who purchased imported brass locomotives discovered they left a lot to be desired in both smooth running and pulling power. Today an import locomotive with a Jerry White drive commands a premium price.

Jerry's locomotive building business and products were featured in an article in the September 1954 issue of Model Railroader magazine. In the February 1963 issue of Model Railroader magazine he was interviewed on the subject on locomotive performance. He also wrote an article on model locomotive gearing that was published in the August 1976 issue of the NMRA Bulletin.

Jerry presented clinics on model building, drive systems, and gearing at numerous NMRA and O Scale meets.

In 1995 Jerry retired to Napa, CA. Jerry passed away in October 2007.

Rod Miller

John Armstrong
O Scale Hall of Fame Marlboro – 1998

John Armstrong is a unique member of the O Scale Hall of Fame, as his fame extends far beyond the borders of the O scale community. He is respected in the model railroading world as the “Dean of Track Planning,” as well as in the railroad industry for such works as his introductory text, “The Railroad: What It Is, What it Does,” published by Simmons Boardman. Many of his other writings dealing with 12 inches to the foot scale, the only scale he considers superior to O, have been featured in Railway Age, and Trains.

John is probably the foremost advocate of the thesis that layout design should reflect actual railroad operations. Although he gently demurs when the word “inventor” is used, such concepts as walk-around control, staging, and multiple level construction were and are popularized by his writings, all in support of the original thesis.

He has the ability to connect, not only with the advanced modeler, but with the beginner. With Thaddeus Stepek (my personal pick for the next Hall of Fame nomination; vote early and Get Started in 2-Rail Scale Realistic • Accurate • Affordable Come Discover Modern O-Scale Models at These 2-Rail O-Scale Meets vote often!), he created the little Atlas trackplan pamphlets that many of us started with. For intermediate and advanced modelers, his several Kalmbach books, such as Track Planning for Realistic Operation, and numerous articles in Model Railroader over the years, are real treasures of ideas and techniques. For those who want to avail themselves of his services, he has created some 200 custom layout designs, based on the individual’s “givens and druthers,” and available space.

John is one of the founders of our O Scale group in the DC area, has been very active with the NMRA for some 50 years, especially with the Layout Design Special Interest Group, and his clinics pack ’em in for miles. He taught me that association with your peers makes you a better modeler. The social aspects of the modeling community allow people to share ideas, results, and many stories ending with the oft used phrase, “...and I never tried THAT again!”

Through it all, John maintains a lively sense of humor and (running the risk of embarrassing him with this flowery prose) is that rarest of humans, a true gentleman. If you want to know the definitions of some of the popular Armstrong- isms, such as a “blob,” a “reverted loop”, or whether something is “sincere,” read one of his books or take in one of his clinics. Don’t forget to come to DC for the National in 2004 (a shameless plug!) and visit his Canandaigua Southern, justifiably famed as the only model railroad featured in a painting by the late Ted Rose. You won’t wonder why he’s a member of the O Scale Hall of Fame.

Brian Scace OST


Bill J. Lenoir
O Scale Hall of Fame Marlboro – 1998

He built his first scale model locomotive in 1932 and after that time he had an active interest in one-quarter inch scale railroading. The first engine built for a customer, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, who had just been enhancing the operating layout and displaying the highly detailed historic models of the Chicago Great Western Railroad.

From 1935-1936 he worked for W .K. Walthers, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Walthers’ first O-gauge material was marketed. Then in 1936-1937 he went to the Scale Model Railways, Huntington, Indiana. In 1940-1941 he developed the Saginaw line of Pennsylvania Railroad engines for the Saginaw Pattern & Manufacturing Company, Saginaw, Michigan.

From a beginning in the late 1940’s, Bill was president, mechanical draftsman, superintendent, and the entire labor force of the Lenoir Locomotive Works, located in Tampa, Florida. Bill continued building locomotives until his retirement in 1987. All of his locomotives were built from the same blueprints used to build the real locomotives by such companies as Baldwin, Lima, Alco and other locomotive builders. At his peak, Bill could turn out a locomotive in five or six weeks. In his early years, Bill scratch built all of the parts needed for an engine. Later, as good quality castings became available, he used commercial parts to speed construction. He could machine anything he needed in his well-equipped shop, often supplying parts to other manufacturers such as Lobaugh or Athearn.

It has been said the Bill Lenoir was a true gentleman. Very quiet and unassuming to the point of being shy, Bill never bragged. He didn’t have to—his work did it for him. He had a lot of friends around the country and many of the Scalers were sorry when he retired, but that time comes for everyone. In Bill’s case, his legacy will always remain in the wonderful historic models he created. Today his models can be found in both private collections and in museums.

Cedar Falls Historical Society
Photo by Brian Scace, OST

William K Walthers
O Scale Hall of Fame Marlboro – 1998

Manufacturer and distributor of model railroad kits, accessories, and products beginning in 1931 with O scale and now encompassing all popular scales. Published his first Walthers Catalog in 1932. Introduced his first O scale car kits in 1933. Added an O scale steam locomotive in 1934. Walthers was known for a number of “firsts,” such as: accurate lettering data, twin solenoid switch machines, two-rail signalling circuits and much more.

Walthers was well-known for his humorous ads run during World War II. Some feel he personally kept model railroading alive despite the wartime restrictions on materials used in model railroading. After the war, Walthers introduced his “Polydrive” system for powering steam locomotives. It made every axle a geared driver. It never really caught on and was gone by the late 1950’s. However, Walthers extensive line of O scale passengers are still sought after today. Bill retired from the business in 1958 and turned it over to his son Bruce.

Bill Walthers was also a prolific author, writing for the Model Railroader, The Modelmaker Corp., and finally publishing under the Walthers name. He was also a co-founder of the National Model Railroad Association in 1935 and was NMRA Life Member #1, as well as Master Model Railroader #6. Bill Walthers was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in 1985 and the O Scale Hall of Fame in 1998 in Marlboro, North Carolina. Joe Gianovario - OST

Edwin P. Alexander
O Scale Hall of Fame New Orleans – 2000

Ed Alexander was an agent for custom builders Fred Icken, Paul Egolf and others in the 1920s. He promoted O scale at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair where he designed an O scale layout for the C&O RR display. Ed was one of the first to establish a mail-order company specializing in O scale locomotives, cars, structures and parts. Kits ranged from a NYC #999 4-4-0 to the famed Alexander PRR GG1. Ed also produced a set of cast aluminum PRR heavyweight passenger cars marketed under the E.P. Alexander label.

Ed was also a prolific author writing in many model magazines and authored many books about prototype railroads including (but not limited to): American Locomotives in 1941; The Pennsylvania Railroad, a Pictorial History in 1947; The Collector’s Book of the Locomotive in 1966, and Down at the Depot; American Railroad Stations from 1831 to 1920 in 1970. As one can see, Ed was not one to rest on his laurels.

Ed is also considered to be the “father” of the Train Collectors Association. The group that would eventually incorporate as the TCA in 1957 first met at Ed’s residence in late 1954. Ed held TCA Honorary Charter Member number 4. Ed was inducted into the O Scale Hall of Fame in 2000 at New Orleans.


Minton Cronkhite
O Scale Hall of Fame New Orleans – 2000

One of the pioneers of O scale, he is best known for the large exhibit layouts he constructed. He built the San Diego & Santa Fe for the exposition in 1935 in San Diego and built the Texas & Santa Fe layout for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. And in the late 1930's he built the Museum &; Santa Fe Railroad at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, which was Q gauge, 1 and 3/16ths. He likely participated in several of the other large exhibitions of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The earliest reference, in the June 1936 Model Railroader, says that Cronkhite, H. B. Vanderhoef, and Carl Otto Noack in 1924 developed “...the first O gauge scale models that could be called such by present day standards.” Cronkhite and Vanderhoef were in business together as Crovan Railway Models which seems to be a combination of their names, but note that the Model Railroader credits Carl as being the head of Crovan until he died in 1936.

And no, Minton was not Walter’s older brother.

Joe Gianovario OST

Joe Fischer
O Scale Hall of Fame New Orleans – 2000

Costume builder of O scale passenger cars.

Levon John Kamalyan
O Scale Hall of Fame Stamford – 2001

Owner Kemtron and US Hobbies.

Bob Colson
O Scale Hall of Fame Stamford – 2001

All Nation.

Irving Athearn
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago – 2002

Irv Athearn began his life-long affair with model railroading in 1938, when he filled his mother’s house with an elaborate O-scale layout that he was constantly modifying. A few years later, Irv valued his O collection at $10,000 and placed an advertisement selling it in Model Railroader. Response to his ad was rabidly favorable, giving Irv the idea that perhaps selling model railroads would be a good living.

He continued to sell O scale motive power and box car kits and other train products out of his mother’s house through most of the 1940’s, eventually becoming a full-time railroad retailer in 1946 and opening a separate facility in Hawthorne, California in 1948, the same year he branched out into HO kits for the first time.

Early on, Irv recognized the importance of time and value to his customers. He introduced “an entirely new principle in HO car construction,” a reefer kit with a preassembled body and spot-welded underframe—a precursor to the popular Ready To Roll line. Athearn continued to shake up the model train industry through the years, consistently marketing their products as innovations in quality, workmanship and excellent value. Irv’s ability to recognize new trends and change with the times allowed Athearn to strike with a flaming iron. For instance, in 1956, he released the EMD F7 diesel utilizing the revolutionary “Hi-F” drive, and, in 1973, he introduced the F45 and FP45, among the first model locomotives to include flywheels on the motor shaft.

Irv Athearn passed away in 1991, but the company he founded lives on as one of the greatest forces in model railroading history.

Clifford D. Grandt
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago – 2002

Founder of Grandt Line Products.

Ed Duddy
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago – 2002

House of Duddy O scale supplies and kits.

Stu Kleinschmidt
O Scale Hall of Fame Irving – 2003

Custom drive developer.

Al Armitage
O Scale Hall of Fame Irving – 2003

Master styrene modeler and fine scale pioneer.

Richard M. “Rich” Wagner
O Scale Hall of Fame Irving – 2003

Wagner Car Company

Richard M. “Rich” Wagner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1914. He graduated from Hughes High School and attended the University of Cincinnati. He began making scale models at age 16. He served during World War II in North Africa, France, Italy, and Germany as a First Lieutenant in a railway operating battalion.

Rich began custom-building O scale traction models and a marketing a wide variety of mechanisms and detail parts beginning after the war, founding the Wagner Car Company. His address, 59 Euclid Avenue, Wyoming (a Cincinnati suburb), became well known among trolley modelers nationwide. Rich was a gifted designer, machinist, and photographer, and was known as a meticulous craftsman, even a perfectionist, throughout his life. Many of his O scale trolley power trucks are still giving dependable service today.

Rich married his wife Birdella (Birdie) in 1942, and she became an equal partner in the business. She founded Trolley Talk, a national magazine for trolley modelers; he served as its technical editor. Along with Roy Wright, the couple published a well-regarded multi-volume history of streetcars and inclines in Cincinnati, as well as other books that are still in demand today.

Rich passed away in 1990, survived by his wife and a daughter, Ronda, who is a retired Army chaplain (United Methodist). The Wagner Car Company’s line of power trucks and detail parts was sold to The Current Line. Birdie continued to publish Trolley Talk for a time, then passed it along to others. She passed away in 2000. Ronda continues to reside in Wyoming.

Mike & Mary Brestel/Peter Weiglin, Roger Somers photo.

Bill Pope
O Scale Hall of Fame Washington, DC – 2004

Owned All Nation Line.

Vince Waterman
O Scale Hall of Fame Washington, DC – 2004

Owned of Trackside Specialties, NMRA’s Distinguished Service Award (1990) and President’s Award. (1986).

Richard Louis Meyer
O Scale Hall of Fame Washington, DC – 2004

Owned of Champion Decal Company and a founding board member of the MRIA.

Jan Lorenzen
O Scale Hall of Fame St. Louis – 2005

Owned Locomotive Workshop.

Tom Dressler
O Scale Hall of Fame St. Louis – 2005

Norfork & Western Historian and Modeler.

Lindsey L. Adams
O Scale Hall of Fame St. Louis – 2005

Founder of Adams & Son Model Foundry

As told by Gilbert L. Adams (& Son)

This is the story of Adams & Son Model Foundry founded in Corsicana Texas in 1940 and later Wichita Kansas. Lindsey had built a 2-4-2 Steam Engine of standard gage for his son. The model was made of mahogany, white pine, cherry and metal. The number he had put on the cab was 2-3-41 which I believe was the date he finished it, as he always dated everything. At the same time he had acquired a Standard gage of the Silver Streak streamliner for my sister. These were run on a layout in a large sunroom. This was the only layout dad ever had.

By 1939 while working for Bethlehem Supply Co. in Texas as a pattern maker he made patterns for his double disc sander and lathe head and had them cast and machined in the shop. Here again it had Lindsey L Adams, 1939 cast on it. I have the sander, lathe head and pattern making tools and chest he made for them.

Also in 1939 he built a two seated race type body car that was front wheel drive and powered by an Indian Twin motorcycle engine. I still have sketches of another car he had planned on building.

While in Texas his shop was only 12’ x 12’ where he made his patterns. It was in this room dad heard that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and had to keep telling me to be quiet.

I don’t remember what Dad’s first pattern was but I do have the O scale “Pilot” which is my favorite as it is made of so many pieces. (Around 98). I have a door knocker made from the cab of an O Sale Diesel A Unit. I also have a cast silhouette of an A Unit with Adams & Son raised lettering that was used on top of our mail box. I also have a plaque with 48 different castings mounted that dad made, they are HO and O scale.

The first building in Wichita was about the size of a three car garage that was to be used as the foundry and core making area. An area about eight by fifteen was the furnace room for melting the metal. In the foundry there was the molding machine, molding sand and pouring equipment. The molding sand used was fine enough to cast your finger print. In the area where the metal was melt the temperature would get above 120 degrees. Brass was poured at 2000 degrees with aluminum at 1200 degrees. The metal was poured by two men one with two handles who had the control of the pour and the other man had a single handle. During the making of the molds, if a part was hollow, a core was placed in it to make it hollow. The cores were made from a coarser sand that was mixed with linseed oil and baked. After the pour (Called heats) the molds were shaken out and the cores knocked out. Then the parts were cut off the gates, wire brushed and ready for the customer.

The addition of the pattern shop was added and was fifteen by thirty. Dad spent many hours a day in this area sometimes seven days a week. This area had Dad’s double disc sander that he had made and a fourteen inch band saw, a ten inch band saw, drill press, grinder, and his pattern making tools. I still have the band saws, grinder, and his pattern making tools.

There was always a demand for A&S products and still are in demand today but as we know plastic came in the market that was the end of sand casting with great detail and weight.

During the late 40’s and early 50’ Dad’s only O Scale Diesel A Unit ran at the State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas where the local club had a layout.

After Dad left Wichita he was a pattern maker for various firms. While working for National Automatic Tool Company, Inc. Dad was in charge of a fifty eight station model of one of the nation’s leading automobile manufacture for machining cylinder heads. This model performed all of the functions of the real machine. The model, scaled one inch to the foot was twelve feet long. I have a model of the cylinder head that was used on the model. There were approximately 55,000 to 60,000 parts in the model.

Later when Dad worked for Cooper Bessemer he was asked to carve the company logo of two horse heads and other parts. At this time Dad became sick and had to take extended time off. The company would not let anyone else work on it. I don’t know if it was ever finished.

Dad was ill off and on for eleven years before passing away. Dad was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on January 9, 1910 and passed away on May 12, 1972. Dad was only seventy one years old. The hobby lost a very gifted man.

Gilbert L. Adams (& Son)

Mort Mann
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany – 2006

In 1975, Mort Mann started Sunset Models. Sunset Models was among the first importers of true scale brass models from the Orient. This began a 15 year long relationship with Samhongsa of Korea. While most of the models built at Samhongsa were HO scale, a few were in 'O' scale. Mort's business quickly outgrew the garage and he moved the business to an office building in Campbell, CA in 1979. For many years Mort produced 100s of different prototypes of the steam era which Samhongsa has copied and built for countless other importers.

In 1985, he attended a Cal Stewart meet in San Jose. He brought a converted and unpainted brass NYC 4-6-2 K-5 to the meet fitted with 3-Rail pickup rollers. This was his test market of the first highly detailed brass engine in 3-Rail. Many who witnessed the shiny brass model gliding back and forth on the track commented, "What would anyone want with a detailed model in 3-Rail?" Mort was not deterred, but he did not see an opportunity to enter the market until 1993. After receiving a fax from his builder in Korea, he learned that another builder had gone bankrupt and their entire tooling and partially completed production had been sent to the Korean bank for sale to the highest bidder. Mort's builder contacted the bank in Korea, on Mort's behalf, and successfully bid for this material. The bankrupt builder's name, at the time, was Hyo-Dung ,now known as Korea Brass and after a name change to avoid a lawsuit, MKT is the new name. The tooling and parts were for the 3-Rail models of the PRR S-2 Turbine and 3RD RAIL was born.

Mort Mann had a long interest in O Scale model railroading. He was an active junior member of NYSME in 1941. He was at the club, across the street from the Empire State Building, the day the WWII B-25 bomber struck the Empire State Building on an overcast day in 1945.

Scott, his son has mentioned that he learned a great deal from him about respect, honor and the process of making a successful business. He was a very wise man, with a tenacity for being fair, and being fairly treated too.

Scott Mann Sunset-3rd Rail

John Smith
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany – 2006

Owner of Pecos River Brass and Founder of the O Scale Kings.

Robert Wagner
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany – 2006

Story by Bob Lavezzi

“In April 1934, Bob Wagner applied for membership in the New York Society of Model Engineers (NYSME). (Note: The New York Society of Model Engineers was incorporated in 1926 and has been well known in the modeling community for their size and various activities.). On his application it reads that he was interested in ship and railroad models, and his occupation at the time was that of student. This young man was definitely exposed to some of the finest model builders of the time - Ickens, Alexander, and Joe Fisher, all members of the Society, and some less well-known modelers such as George Brunges, who showed Bob some amazing woodworking techniques.

In May 1935, he was approved for regular membership. This started a remarkable period in his model building career, over which he produced his now famous private road billboard reefers. Bob’s true love were the billboard reefers – whether 34’, 36’, or his well-known 40’ reefers. These beautiful advertisements, which are a part of a most colorful period of advertising on American railroads, were cut out in the mid-30’s because of unfair business practice in advertising deemed by the ICC. At that time, there were no color photographs of them. But bob was undaunted by this.

From his correspondence that I can trace, we know he began writing letters to the packing companies and other companies that owned the private reefers as early as 1932. He once told me he so thoroughly enjoyed writing and obtaining information from the railroads that his father complained to his mother one day about their crazy son who had requested drawings from the UP railroad for the M4000. Low and behold, a small tractor trailer appeared in front of his house in Bay Ridge and a tube was unloaded and placed on their front porch. Enclosed was a full scale erection drawing of the M4000 which the railroad had sent to him. Not only did he get the drawings from the companies that assembled the cars, he wrote to the packing companies, breweries and other concerns that had these reefers. He obtained lettering diagrams and the color numbers from these companies, as well as color chips from Dupont. But he wasn’t satisfied. He also went out and obtained individual packaging from these items to get an absolute color match.

He accumulated over 300 drawings, and even more photographs. He was known to have such an extensive library on privately owned reefers that Hormel wrote to him in later years asking for information on their history.

His obsession for detail led him to research each car to find out which foundry had forged the side frames and trucks for each reefer and which company had built the underframes, then wrote to them requesting detailed drawings, and again received them directly from each company. He scaled down the drawings to 17/64s which was the common building practice of the time.

He made his own positive molds, then went to a casting company on Canal Street in New York and had bronze castings made of the side frames, bolsters, and end sills. He made his own axles to fit the side frames, and obtained 33” metal wheels from Lobough. Every car he built had metal underframes as well, which he constructed out of 44 pieces of brass shaped on a small brake. The reason he used brass was the result of an experience at the Society when one of his cars was involved in a serious train wreck after a wood screw holding the coupler fell out. After that, he would only use metal frames and Monarch operating couplers.

He next turned his attention to the body of the car. He built a wooden frame to which he applied a thin wooden skin painted the basic color. It was then he did his most remarkable work – hand lettering and drawing each billboard. If you were fortunate enough to have attended his lecture at the 1995 O Scale National Convention, you learned of his technique. He first traced lettering and trademarks on tracing paper. Next, after chalking the back of the tracing paper, he transferred the tracings to the car. Finally he painted over the outlines, then filled in the lettering and trademarks. He worked with a 5/0 brush, fine point drafting pens, and at times even used a strand of his own hair as a fine brush. “The lion’s mane on the Monarch Foods car is an example of the detail he achieved with this technique.

Bob built 42-1/2 reefers over his lifetime – that half being a two axle Hormel reefer – the only one of its type in the US. He completed his first in May 1940, and his last, in May 1998. Before the NMRA came into existence, the best modeling contest to win in the US was that of the New York Society of Engineers. Bob won the Best of Show with his reefers so many times he withdrew from competition to open it up to other modelers, fully knowing that if he ever entered again he would win. This quie man’s reefers appeared on the cover of t Model Railroader in the 50s, in Life magazine, in Model Railroad Craftsman, on the cover of a NYSME show bulletin and were featured in OGR run 141. Considering that these cars vanished, we are truly lucky to have Bob’s renditions of these amazing reefers.

I met my long-time friend while I was a junior member of the New York Society of Model Engineers. Upon is death, his collection of Billboard Reefers, and the vast information that he had accumulated on these cars, came into my hands. I wanted to share with the railroading community this vast collection created by Bob, and to give him the recognition he so truly deserved. I looked for a company that would in turn built these reefers with the same integrity and attention to detail that Bob devoted to the models that he had researched, hand-built and painted over his lifetime.

Atlas, upon entering into the O Scale market, with its track system, SW8s and SW9s, was besieged with request for Steam Era type cars. Tom Haedrich and Jim Weaver were looking for the right car, not previously produced, which would best suit the O scale market. Atlas’ desire to give the O Scale market a car that would rival the brass markets for their quality and detail, and paint schemes that had never been even attempted in the other scales, was a perfect match for my hopes. With the vast amount of information I made available to them – the actual blue prints the colorized photos that Bob had taken and painted himself, and his hand-painted reefers, Atlas had the details they needed to produce the perfect car they were looking for. Atlas management saw the opportunity to build exact replicas of the cars that were the most colorful freight ever manufactured, and which had enriched this era of railroading…through them, the wok of a talented and wonderful man, Bob Wagner, lives on.”

Bob worked for Esso as a professional model builder and staff designer after he completed high school. A confirmed bachelor, who was a health food fanatic, Bob had an interest in shipping companies and ship lines. He also enjoyed classical music, and hated television. Like most model railroaders, Bob was a rail fan and took many railroad trips. Besides his avid interest in model trains, he was a creative and interesting guy.

(Taken from “Those Amazing Reefers – And Their Creator” from the O Gauge Railroading – October 2001, Run 182 and an bit from “The Atlas O, LLC 40’ Wood Reefer Collector’s Guide”)

Greg Heier
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 2007

Greg Heier has been the managing editor of 48/ft O Scale News since 1987. He is also a professional writer and photographer. Greg built his first O Scale 2-Rail model in 1955 and is currently interested in On30. Over the years, Greg has been a member of many model railroad clubs and a long-time volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum. Greg is also an NMRA Life Member.

Joe Giannovario - OST

Dr. Howard Blackburn
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis – 2007

Dr. Howard Blackburn, (deceased 2007) was an O Scale modeler with an intense interest in passenger cars and traction. He was instrumental in starting the O Scale National with Vane Jones. Dr. Blackburn was also involved in the founding of the Illinois Railway Museum, the Indiana Transportation museum and the Indiana Garden Railroad Club. He was also a member of the National Railway Historical Society. Dr. Blackburn was internationally known for his railway photography and videography.

Joe Giannovario - OST

Joseph A. Giannovario
O Scale Hall of Fame Worcester – 2008

Joe Giannovario was the publisher and founder of O Scale Trains Magazine., the first issue of which appeared in March 2002.

Professionally, Joe was a PhD chemical engineer, and retired from GE Space Systems where he was a manager for one of the GE groups involved in the space station program. Like many engineers, technological advances were a passion and, embracing those advances in publishing, OST was one of the first model railroading publications where the principles worked all over the country, submitting their parts of the puzzle digitally; the process was completely computer and digital-based until the finished issue was stuffed in the envelope after the printing process. Writing this over a decade later, it sounds pretty mainstream perhaps, but all this was going on when most hobby magazines were still requiring wet-film photography, for example.

I joined OST as a columnist, and before I knew it I was Editor in those formative years, so I enjoyed a front-row-seat in that process. Joe a very engaging and enthusiastic boss, with opinions strongly held, but a reasoned argument was always welcomed. Those qualities gave him an infectious drive. If anything, he was a kindred spirit interested in ideas how something could be done rather than reasons why it couldn’t.

Joe was an avid N&W modeler. Outside the O Scale community, he was very interested in automobiles in general and Corvettes in particular, website design, and other aspects of information technology.

Joe passed away in June of 2013. Brian Scace, Editor, O Scale Trains Magazine

Lou Cross
O Scale Hall of Fame Worcester – 2008

Was proprietor of Right-O-Way Track products.

Dave Waddington
O Scale Hall of Fame Worcester – 2008

Traction modeler of high esteem. Charter member of the Bay State Model Railroad Museum. Pattern maker for Right-O-Way track items. Created bearutiful scale plans of traction and heavy electric equipment used in model magazines and other railway publications... he was the "DLW" seen at the bottom of many drawings.

John Eichman
O Scale Hall of Fame Baltimore – 2009

Proto 48 modeler.

Mike Hill
O Scale Hall of Fame Baltimore – 2009

Producer of the Chicago March Meet.

Rod Miller
O Scale Hall of Fame Baltimore – 2009

Custom builder.

My dad loved trains, and had Santa give me a Lionel train when I was 5 weeks old. Needless to say it was my Dad's train for many years. He was interested in O scale, and I recall a kit for Monarch couplers, a Scale Craft AT&SF reefer, mostly completed, and an all wood baggage car. I tried my hand at moving them along but being a young kid didn't know what I was doing and made a mess of them.

During my childhood I loved models and built many model airplanes out of blocks of wood. I learned about sanding and fitting parts together, making things look and be correct, and how important were the small details and final finish.

Then there was the usual period of cars, girls, college, marriage, kids, and career in programming computers, which at the time I started were just coming into general use in the scientific arena. I worked for several employers, and tried my hand being in business for myself which wasn't a good fit for me.

Many years later I decided to stop working as a manager of computer programmers when I realized the field was changing so quickly that companies needed a constant supply of fresh grads to keep the level of technology high. I was out of date in the cutting edge computer company where I worked, and much older than most everybody else so there was little social interaction with other workers.

OK, what do do? In the couple of decades before that fateful decision I had built an On3 layout and then expanded it into standard gauge. I had joined the West Bay Model railroad Association where good fellowship was to be had, and which validated my decision to stop being embarrassed about "playing with trains still". Out of my modeling activities and membership in the club I came to know Jerry White, who at that time was one of a few custom builders. Jerry had a well-equipped metal working workshop, and was known around the world for his models and custom work.

Jerry decided to retire about the time I decided to change my work. One thing led to another, and we agreed for him to train me in his business so that he could retire and know it would continue in good hands.

I learned his method for custom drives, his bread and butter work since so many of the Japanese and Korean import locos at that time were designed to be looked at, not run. Jerry's method made them into powerful smooth and reliable runners.

I took on a variety of projects, from modifying locos to take sharp radius curves, to building passenger car domes from drawings, to machining cast driver centers and building up completed wheelsets, and of course, fabricating and installing custom drives. I got pretty far along with the construction of a scratch built SP GS-1 4-8-4, for which no models had been offered in O scale.

Then Jerry had a medical episode and decided he'd better "hole up" in an assisted living facility while he was still acceptable. I was on my own. He sold his house, so I located a rental shop space and moved the business into it. Since a major feature of the custom drive business was the test run and break-in of new drives, I had to construct a layout for that purpose, using the layout Jerry had in the attic of his shop but building a sturdy benchwork to support the fragile Celotex "table" with the track on it. That was quite a project, taking several months, and resulting in a test loop that was durable and effective. The GS-1 as finished and sold, and many custom drives and specialized projects were completed. I recall reworking over 125 UP Big Boys for Sunset Models, whew.

Then Silicon Valley invented itself, and rents started going through the roof. I decided to move the shop to my home. This required converting the carport into a workspace garage with good natural light and the facilities needed for the shop. The faithful test loop had to go. After unsuccessfully attempting to donate it, a friend took the benchwork, and the track went into the dumpster, sigh.

All that was 14 years ago. I've now been operating the business for 20 years (at this writing in late 2013), and plan to keep on going for as long as I'm able which should be a long time as I'm in excellent health and put a lot of effort into taking care of my mind and body.

During that time model railroading has changed. DCC came along (I was the importer for the Lenz system for several years). The Proto:48 movement got traction and had become a viable alternative, indeed some folks who convert to 1/48 do so in P:48 because the correct track gauge and wheels complete the level of fidelity they want in their modeling. The brass loco business has split into two camps, high volume models designed for both 3-rail or 2-rail operation, and low volume highly detailed expensive models; in both camps however, these locos run well out of the box. Some importers have changed their approach or stopped altogether, while new importers have emerged. The advent of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, which I have used to make driver centers, will further change the parts situation if the entry barriers of high cost for the printers and 3D drawing programs along with long learning curves for the programs are reduced.

Ken Henry
O Scale Hall of Fame Baltimore – 2009

Noted O Scale modeler.

Carl Auel
O Scale Hall of Fame Santa Clara – 2010

Started manufacturing in 1930s with fidelity that holds up against current models.

Bruce C. Bechtold
O Scale Hall of Fame Santa Clara – 2010

Pattern maker for Kemtron who set new standards for fidelity.

Bob Hegge
O Scale Hall of Fame Santa Clara – 2010

Extraordinary traction modeler.

Rich Yoder
O Scale Hall of Fame Santa Clara – 2010

Importer of cars and locomotives that have raised the bar in brass models.

John Clemens
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis - 2011

Vendor at O Scale shows and also did custom painting of freight cars. John was one the really good guys in the 'O' Scale community and we always enjoyed visiting with him at the conventions.

James J. Weaver
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis - 2011

Jim was the executive vice-president of Atlas O, LLC, Hillside, NJ and is recognized as the co-founder of that organization. He spent the last 15 years with Atlas, starting in August of 1996 and he worked until the week of his passing.

As anyone who met or communicated with Jim saw, it was readily apparent that his interest, knowledge and love of the model railroad hobby and industry was vast and encyclopedic. While Jim had been responsible for the production of all Atlas O products, perhaps his best known achievement, and the one that gave him greatest satisfaction, was the creation of the entire line of Atlas O’s 21 st Century Track.

Jim provided Atlas O with a great foundation to move into the future where the company he helped found will carry on his exemplary work.

Thomas W. Haedrich, CEO Atlas Model Railroad Co. Inc. Atlas O, LLC

Tom Marsh
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis - 2011

Overland Models, Inc., located in Muncie, Indiana, was founded in 1976 by Thomas E. Marsh. Overland Models manufactures highly detailed, heavily researched models for collectors, and ready-to-run models for your layout.

Mel Thornburgh
O Scale Hall of Fame Indianapolis - 2011

Best known for his scratchbuilding with simple hand tools. Mel Thornburgh was a rather prolific locomotive scratchbuilder and used only the most basic of tools. Anybody who was around at the time will remember the series of MR articles "Thornburgh Builds A Wabash Mogul" (IIRC starting in 1959). The Mogul(s) in question were the two F-4 class Wabash Moguls that were the last Wabash steam locomotives in operation. They lasted longer than other Wabash steam as they were the only locomotives light enough to cross a bridge on a Wabash branch line. Andre Chapelon -

In the 40 & 50s he was featured in MR often. Always with a series of articles about scratch building Brass Locos. Mel was an amazing man , his work was impeccable, he made pretty much EVERY part of the loco , except the wheels, gears & motors. He used no commercial details -- bells, compressors etc, instead hand fabricating them all. On top of that Mel owned NO power tools , not even an electric drill -- he turned any machined part with a hand driven "eggbeater" drill & a file!!! He also had no workshop, using his kitchen table to build on. The man & his work always amazed me -- a few years back I bought a collection of MR magazines that had the complete set of his build of a K4 Pacific that was featured starting in 1949 & going thru part of 1950.

Dave Harris -

George Wallace
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany - 2012

Former President of the O Scale Kings. George ran the Southwest O Scale Meet for many years.

Thomas W. Haedrich
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany - 2012

The position of CEO, as well as Chairman of the Board, has been assumed by Thomas W. Haedrich, effective immediately. Mr. Haedrich, who has been involved with Atlas for 23 years, is a member of the family that has owned and operated Atlas since 1924, when it was known as the Atlas Tool Company, a tool and die shop. He has held numerous positions in the company over the years.

Looking toward the future, Mr. Haedrich continued, “I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities at Atlas in the coming years. This is a very exciting time for us and the model railroad industry in general. We have been very successful with our high-end products, and I am very excited to be returning at the time our new, innovative Trainman line is hitting the hobby world. The response to date has been extremely gratifying. We anticipate great things from Trainman, and in all areas of our product research and development. We pledge to continue to do our utmost to bring the highest quality model railroad products to our existing customers, and reach out to more and more newcomers in an effort to keep our hobby alive, flourishing and ahead of the times.”

Atlas E-News Flash

Bob Stevenson
O Scale Hall of Fame Parsippany - 2012

Bob is the owner of Stevenson Preservation. He has acquired many old brass locomotive builders dyes and molds and produces kits from many of the old masters.

Mike O'Connell
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2014

Mike O’Connell founded Chooch Enterprises, Inc in 1975; makers of exact O scale buildings, detail parts, rolling stock and scenery details. Mike and a number of close friends are building a 3,200 sq feet P48 layout in Maple Valley, WA. The layout is based on a Northern Pacific, Great Northern and Pacific Railway & Navigation theme, using most of the products Chooch has made over the years.

Tom Piccirillo
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2014

Traction modeler and builder of the Somerset County Traction System; producer of Peterson Motor Trucks; Master Model Railroader #418; Model Railroad Clinician and Author; President of Micro-Mark Tools and developer of many products useful to builders of O scale model railroads. Currently president of HobbyAdvisors LLC, providing innovative products and professional services to the hobbycraft industry.

James Canter
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2015

Jim Canter is OSK #4. Since 2001, he has hosted the annual Indy O Scale fall meets, several of which have been designated as O Scale National Conventions. He is a manufacturer of O Scale parts and tools. Jim has been a leader in developing and publicizing Proto 48, including constructing a modular Proto 48 layout. He serves on the Board of O Scale Kings and of the Nickel Plate Historical and Technical Society and has headed several national conventions for the Society. He has constructed a large Proto 48 layout.

Joe Foehrkolb
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2015

A consummate O Scaler, working with O Scalers and organizations to promote our hobby. His primary contribution has been his business, Baldwin Forge and Machine, which primarily deals in converting 3 rail locomotives to 2 rail. He has completed ~ 1,000 conversions. He has run clinics, and created a tutorial, sharing his knowledge of the process, so others can do the work themselves. Joe has been a consultant to Sunset Models and a primary force in organizing and running the 2009 Baltimore O Scale National.

Alvin F. Staufer
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2015

Alvin F. Staufer was born in Fairfield, Alabama. He moved to the Cleveland area early in life. Al and his wife and 4 children spent most of their early life on 2 farms, one in Coshocton County and the other in Remsen Corners.

Al spent his WWII Navy career, 1943-1946, in the engine room of a steam powered transport ship. He also attend the Navy Diesel Engine school which proved valuable in the preparation of parts of his railroad books. Al had an outgoing personality as he could stir up a conversation with most anyone. He was a staunch political conservative and dreaded this nation's drift toward Socialism and the inevitable debts and loss of freedom to our future generations.

Al detested what he called "the soft people" . They include the unrealistic do-gooders usually from inherited wealth and phony critics whose fault is not knowing what life's strife is all about--- mostly because neither ever had the experience of a good day's manual labor. Al also was very proud of his German heritage as he often remarked about the great success of the German people as scientists and great musicians. He had models of some German ships and recognized for example the great German Luftwaffe Ace pilot Eric Hartmann.

Al Staufer was a self published author of railroad books. He co-authored 11 volumes about eastern railroads. He was a great proponent of O Scale heading up 2 national O Scale conventions in the Cleveland area and in 1983 supported the beginning of the still functioning Cleveland 2-rail O Scale Show. Under Al's leadership the 1971 Cleveland O Scale National was the first to offer a professional format including layout tours and a banquet which provided a forum for future O Scale Nationals.

He was a talented artist and taught as an art teacher in many schools. He enjoyed collecting O-Scale trains, polka music and was a member of TCA. Alvin loved nature and was a strong believer in nature conservation.

In regards to trains Al put it this way, " They say the best labors are labors of love." Al certainly agreed for his lifelong attraction to trains was evident in his books, paintings and toy train collecting hobby.

John Keil
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2016

John Keil, owner, with his wife Martha, of Keil Line Products, manufacturer of a vast array of O Scale parts and kits, allowing O Scalers to super detail their models and scenes on their Pikes. John was one of the truly great gentlemen in out O Scale Community.

O Scale Resource Magazine

Kimpei Sofue
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2016

Mr. Kimpei Sofue was one of top custom builders for O-scale brass models. In 1922, he was born in Tokyo. Got a job in Tokyo Keiki Industry Co., Ltd. in 1937, learned four years in the company's technical training school while working. Participation in the production of O scale model of Katsumi Model Shop (KTM) in 1945. Poised a workshop at Gyoda, Saitama Independent in 1962, accepted orders from Katsumi. Opened the Sofue Works at Kumagaya, Saitama in 1964, began to custom-build including the Sofue-Projects. In 2009, died at the age of 86.

"The Most Famous O Scaler Nobody Ever Heard of"

O scale would not be the same without the 14,000 brass locomotives and many thousands of freight cars produced by Kempei Sofue of Tokyo, Japan under the KTM name and imported by Max Gray, US Hobbies and - later - Westside in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The man who built the engines for Max Grey and others is Kimpei Sofue, to whom all O scalers owe a debt of gratitude. Sofue was an enthusiastic model railroader, an admirer of American steam locomotives, an engineering mastermind and a true craftsman. He engineered and built models of dozens of different engines for importers, as well as smaller numbers of models later manufactured and imported in his own name.

The models produced by Mr. Sofue were well-engineered and built to very high standards. KTM engines propelled the scale forward in both scale fidelity and performance: milled brass frames, heavy brass construction, correctly tapered boilers. KTM gearboxes were standard on KTM engines, but Sofue later developed engines with three-thread worm gears, coreless motors, ball bearing drives, fully equalized and sprung suspensions, low-drag wheel sets and one touch coupling with electrical connection between engine and tender. Other builders and importers built on Mr. Sofue’s work. Even today, the principles and standards established by Sofue for KTM and his own models are applied by other manufacturers and modelers.

Despite our long love affair with brass models, no one involved in their actual manufacture has ever been recognized for inclusion in the O Scale Hall of Fame. Indeed, no foreigner has ever been so honored. Kempei Sofue richly deserves to be the first. Thanks for your consideration.&

Thanks to Tad Daito, a long-time friend of Kempei Sofue, for bringing his story to the attention of the O Scale community! Tad and his Wife Akiko are attending SONC from their home in Japan.

David Vaughn

James Harper
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2016

Jim Harper ran the High Sierra Hobby shop in Reno, Nevada for several years. He has been a driving force behind Proto 48 and his home layout proves just what can be don in that growing part of the hobby, He is a master craftsman who frequently wind model contests. He currently own Red Cliff Miniatures providing Proto 48 detail parts and scale switch stands.

O Scale Resource Magazine

Pat Mucci
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2017

Pat Mucci has been a source of O Scale items for many years through his P&D Hobbies. P&D developed and sold drive systems for the Red Caboose GP7/9's and the EMD F unit kits. These were the basis of the Atlas O F units.

Today, he is the goto guy for parts to keep the early Weaver locos running. Pat has brought his parts to the Indy, Chicago and other O Scale shows for many years; perhaps using more tables than any other vendor. P&D Hobbies is one of the few stores where O Scale is still the "KING".

Ron Gibler

Ted Schnepf
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2018

Ted Schnepf is a major O Scale dealer. He manufactures fine scale car resin kits, sells unique railroad photos and has a custom line of O scale decals. He frequently opens his huge Milwaukee Road layout to visitors introducing most to real operating sessions. His layout is a must see event.

"I started with a Marx train and a Model Trains magazine subscription, but by high school had found On3. College (civil engineer), Military service (army-Vietnam), and a 28 year railroad career (Milw, ELS, Wis DOT, BNSF), with five moves, slowed On3 modeling.

My model railroad business, Rails Unlimited, started in 1983, at first part time between railroad jobs, and then in 1998 as a full time business. Selling at my first March O scale meet was in 1985, now 33 years ago. About two years later started selling the urethane O scale cars. Today the Rails Unlimited urethane car line has 30 models and growing.

In 1989, we built a new home, with a large basement. I organized Fox Valley O Scalers club, to help with construction of a standard gauge layout with some On3. first track was laid in 1990, followed by the first O scale meet open house in 7/92, for the Chicago O Scale National. Thousands of visitors of all scales have toured the layout over the years, including participants of the annual Chicago O Scale Meet in March. Probably the most famous visitor was hall of famer John Armstrong. I once had two major model railroad magazine editors visit the layout during an RPM op session and were at arm's length of each other.

The layout (basement) was expanded in 2007. The layout has several unique features. There is a 90 foot long , 8 track, reversing loop hanging from the ceiling. At one point two yards are piggybacked above each other in mushroom style. The railroad's long mainline climbs through grades, with no helixes, to reach all levels, from knee height to well over 7.5 feet above the floor.. The model features five large yards, with 585 car capacity, and a future yard with another 390 car capacity. The layout has five generous staging yards for about 2000 cars. The second level of the layout is cantilevered from the wall, so there is no support posts interfering with the lower sceniced level. The track work uses large #8 and #10 hand laid turnouts. the smallest turnout, infrequently used is a #7. The track plan uses many double end tracks. The layout includes large railroad size industries, such as a seven foot long freight house. Many structures are built to match specific prototypes."

Ted Schnepf

Scott Mann
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2018

Scott, through Sunset Models and Golden Gate Depot has promoted O scale with great affordable locomotives and passenger cars, especially his brass steam locomotives, full line of plastic diesels, and full Name trains. He is now the leader in introducing new O scale products.

Norm Buckhart
O Scale Hall of Fame Chicago - 2018

Norm Buckhart founded Protocraft to produce products needed in the Proto48 hobby. The business has grown from its origin of supplying wheels produced by Steve Grabowski and his dad to an extensive line of exquisite brass freight cars, brass trucks, working magnetic couplers, wheels, driver parts and of course decals.

Norm is a native Californian raised in the Bay Area with a deep appreciation of the railroads and marine operations present in and around the San Francisco Bay.

His background includes a Naval aviator, Pan American pilot and real estate developer. Model railroading has been a long term interest of his.

We are fortunate that Norm has demonstrated the ability to identify products needed in the hobby and getting them done. Protocraft has developed a wide range of products that support accurate modeling.

Proto48 is about accurate modeling ranging from accurate gauge and wheel profiles to correct rolling stock and lettering. Norm has set about the task of developing a magnetic AAR Type-E coupler, hundreds of decal sets with art developed from photos rather than type setting font like the old Champ and Walthers decals. He developed and imported a wide range of accurate boxcars for specific prototypes for the major railroads. Rather than a generic car, Norm has obtaining actual AC&F and Pullman drawings for the actual cars purchased by railroads. The cars are done with the correct running boards, hand brakes, body details and trucks. Speaking of trucks, Protocraft has developed a whole range of ball-bearing equipped trucks. Finally, Proto48 modelers can purchase trucks based upon actual designs and not the generic “Bettendorf” design.

Along the way, Norm got involved with antique automobile ownership. He still owns a number of classic auto and drives a few of them on occasion.

Norm’s home layout is remarkable in its dimensions in size and the amount of beautiful equipment running on it. Many of the boxcars on the layout are Protocraft imports lettered with Protocraft decals. The cars are all weathered and feature Protocraft’s magnetic couplers.

With this huge layout, Norm incorporated an interesting vignette of a barge and slip. It fits perfectly with the San Francisco Bay Area theme. The barge slip has created an interesting operating point. Norm has found that he enjoys loading and unloading cars on the barge. He has reconfigured a hidden yard in his shop to provide an off-stage destination for cars coming off the barge. It turns out that this section of the layout is enjoyable to operate.

Gene Demling

Thaddeus (Ted) Stepek
O Scale Hall of Fame O Scale West - 2019

Thaddeus (Ted) Stepek

Ted was an O Scaler from the time he got out of the Army Air Force after WWII to the time of his passing. He was both a modeler and a long-time participant in the model industry.
After WWII, Ted was a draftsman/industrial designer for Piaseki Helicopter in Philadelphia. Ted later became the industrial artist for the old Atlas Tool Company, now Atlas Model Railroad Company. He did a great deal of the research and renditions for the old Atlas Roco O Scale line, as well as Atlas projects in other scales. The Atlas Roco line was arguably the first comprehensive, ready-to-run, full range of products offered in O Scale in the post WWII era, and did much to introduce the 1970s modeler to the scale.

Unlike their contemporary competitor, AHM, who also introduced a ready-to-run range at the time, the Atlas offerings (thanks to Ted's adherence to prototype) were not solely generic models, but most followed prototypes, such as the PRR X43c boxcar, the G31e gondola, an International Car extended vision caboose, and the Bessemer & Lake Erie's ore car. The F9a in that range was at least the inspiration if not the progenitor of the comprehensive F-unit range later produced by P&D.

Ted also did artwork for Max Gray, both for the brass importing business and the decal side, the later Champion Decals. One of the most enduring images in the scale, the proud hobbiest (complete with jacket and pipe) admiring a Max Gray model that featured in advertisements of the era, was Ted's creation.
In addition, he and John Armstrong did the famous Atlas "snap-track" design books, getting novices introduced to the hobby. Ted was somewhat the quiet partner in a long association with John. He did the art for John's earlier layout design books, including the trackplanner's bible, "Trackplanning for Realistic Operation". He also did drawings and art for several of John's articles and clinics.He was one of the founding members of what is now the Capitol Area O Scalers, hosts of the 1981, 2004, and 2018 O Scale National Conventions.He wrote several articles, including an Athearn reefer detailing article, first appearing in Model Railroader (MR) in March, 1956. That article was an example of his love for building the best and most accurate he could build; an adherence to reality that he advocated in his models just as he did in his designing. That article was reprinted by Reynolds, and included in every Athearn reefer kit they sold. His O Scale PRR E6 Atlantic won an MR "Model of the Month" citation, and several of his other models, such as a B&O Tenwheeler, were featured in the pages of the modeling press.He also was an excellent railroad historian and an active member of the PRRTHS (Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society).

Ted is perhaps not well-known to many simply because his work for such luminaries of the scale as Atlas, Max Gray, Champ Decal, and his good friend John Armstrong was "behind the scenes". However, many of the images we remember and the models we know can follow their lineage back to one place, Ted's drawing board.
While perhaps the more unknown partner of the Armstrong/Stepek track planning books, coupled with the work for Atlas on the original O Scale project, Max Gray, and others, he quietly contributed much to guiding the novice hobbyist on his way to becoming an accomplished modeler.

Sources: Art Selby Ed Rappe
Brian Scace

Elliott Donnelley
O Scale Hall of Fame O Scale West - 2019

Elliott Donnelley

Elliott Donnelley was a third generation Chicago printer (R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company) who lived in Lake Forest from his boyhood until his death in 1975. Donnelley was a life long railfan both in prototype and models. His story about Scale Craft starts in 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. Scale Craft was started by Clifford H. Smith as Scale Models, Inc. That history states that Elliott Donnelley purchased the company in 1936 from Clifford Smith. The library at Lake Forest College has a catalogue that is not marked, and the date of issue is not known at this time. In that catalogue, Elliott Donnelley announces that he is the new president, and Clifford Smith is still on the Board of Directors. It’s possible that Elliott started working for, or with Clifford in 1933, and did not purchase the business outright at that time. According to a ca. 1938 brochure, and his renamed Scale-Craft brand operated in Chicago, Libertyville and Round Lake until the 1950s making O and OO scale models.

Unlike other model manufacturers, Scale Craft models came with large scale plans along with the instructions and even signage. He was a very good writer as well and wrote many still-notable educational and enjoyable articles on modeling for his catalogs and in Scale-Craft’s newsletter, Blow Smoke.

Their catalogs also had more information than just product, and covered everything about planning your layout, bench work, scenery, wiring, and running your model railroad. The amount of art work and layout work could not have been accomplished by many other manufacturers

The Scale-Craft 1¼" ('O') scale locomotive frames utilized a patented two piece bronze casting with milled seats for the driver axles and 3/16" wide axle bearings. Drive wheels were made of unchilled cast gray iron and were 1⅝" in diameter. Side rods were cast bronze, hand fitted, and dull nickeled. They utilized a double steel worm and fibre worm gear mounted in a heavy cast bronze bracket for the locomotive transmission. Motors were either standard 12 volt DC or 12-18 volt AC. The superstructure was rolled #20 gauge sheet brass with cast bronze fittings. The recommended minimum track curve radius was 3' for passenger locos and 4' for freight locos. Solid steel or brass rail was recommended. Outside third rail was standard, but 2-rail systems were also available.

A 1934 Scale-Models catalogue supplement issued in November touted the new bronze boiler casting and cast aluminum tender for the Scale-Craft Hudson. The new locomotive casting was a single piece that included the boiler, fire-box, cab, running boards, stack, sand and steam domes. It was believed that by incorporating each of these components into the single casting it would shorten build times and permit a level of detail never achieved previously in a scale model, such as the NYC Hudson. A Scale-Craft K4s pulled the 'Broadway Limited' scale model train at the Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress Exposition of 1933. It ran for 150 days, 12 hours a day, 27 miles per day, more than 4,000 miles total, without a need for a single repair. With the exception of motor bearings, this was a stock Scale-Craft model.

The Scale-Craft 'O' scale freight car kits included quite a few detail parts, and even paint. Unlike some other manufacturers of freight kits, Scale-Craft included complete trucks, fully assembled and ready to attach and run with each car. Holes in parts were all pre-drilled, and complete machining of the cast parts was performed so that the builder only had to worry about assembly. Fidelity to scale reproduction was done with emphasis.

Scale-Craft remained in the Chicago area until the 1950's. In 1951, the 'O' gauge car side of the Scale-Craft line was acquired by Thomas Industries who continued manufacture into the early 1960's, while Central Locomotive Works of Chicago, IL acquired the 'O' scale line of locomotives.

Sources: The Train Collectors Association, Western Division
Arthur H. Miller, Lake Forest College
Glenn Guerra, The O Scale Resource Magazine January/February 2014

David Vaughn
O Scale Hall of Fame 2020

David Vaughn

A tireless promoter of O Scale. A steward of O Scale History including parts of the layouts of the movers and shakers in their time in O Scale. Always a wonderful ambassador for the Scale with his genial manner and willingness to share his time and knowledge.

Roland Ellis
O Scale Hall of Fame 2020

Roland Ellis / Wardie Jay Models

Made the items needed to build the circus trains which were wildly popular at the time. After living further up the Eastern Seaboard, he retired to the Eastern Shore of Maryland until his passing.

Thomas A Yorke

O Scale Hall of Fame Denver – 2021

Tom Yorke is a master model builder who introduced numerous craftsman kits to O scale. He launched Thomas A. Yorke Enterprises in 1974 while working for Walt Disney Imagineering (then known as WED) in Southern California. In 1973 he had noticed a lack of detailed structure kits in O scale, and began designing several kits based on Hydrocal castings from molds that he created. From simple retail establishments, as the business grew the scope and detail of the kits increased. Notable kits included a small roundhouse, a railroad machine shop, a two-stall engine house, a two-story apartment building, a farmers’ grain co-op, and a great many others.

Tom’s models reflect his knowledge of architecture, which he studied as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, before changing his major to advertising design. Prior to his career at Disney, he worked at several advertising agencies and a model-building company.

Tom’s interest in railroads began as a child, and when growing up he had an American Flyer S-gauge layout. In those early years he was an avid builder of models from kits, especially model cars, some of which he customized.

During the past decade, Tom has produced an occasional limited-run kit, and also offered his services as a custom builder for various clients seeking models of specific buildings. Among his published articles was one featuring two custom-built depots for a Southern Pacific O-scale layout: the historic SP depots in Glendale and Santa Barbara (“A Tale of Two Depots” in Railroad Model Craftsman, about a decade ago). His articles have appeared in six different model railroading magazines over the years. He has also published 12 booklets of railroad history and drawings of interest to model railroaders.

After 45 years of manufacturing, Tom has finally decided to retire, to devote his time to his own O scale layout, But he is still doing occasional custom models for those interested in taking advantage of his architectural and model-building expertise.

Raas Jean

O Scale Hall of Fame Denver – 2021

Jean H. Rass was a long time O scale builder and modeler who lived in Lynchburg, Virginia. Jean had hosted a monthly and O Scale group for many years, drawing people from well outside the local area. The group was an important part of fellowship for O Scalers in an area with few opportunities to visit others in 2 Rail. Jean frequently would display O scale models in the local train show “Rail Day” Jean freely shared his knowledge with others including historical information on O scale equipment. He also shared machining and construction techniques with others including the O scale community through magazine articles such as his recent “building a streamlined sleeping car with custom sides” in the May / June 2015 O Scale Trains magazine. Jean was a Lackawanna (DL & W ) fan, but he also had many other interests including classic passenger train consists. He faithfully attended O scale shows such as the O Scale Nationals and the Strasburg shows. His history goes back to working, for a time, for Bob Smith of Central locomotive works. Needless to say, Jean was a fan of CLW products.