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Model Information: This body style is MDC's knock-off version of the tremendously successful Atlas 29' Beercan tank car. Given that the tooling is about 20 years newer than the Atlas version, this car is actually the better model of the two. Details like the stirrup steps really highlight the improvements in the injection molded plastic industry. The printing is very high grade and the trucks and couplers are higher quality than the contemporaneous Atlas releases. Unfortunately, MDC never ran very many versions of this car and Athearn, so far, has neglected to re-release the cars under their own name since the acquisition of MDC by Athearn in 2004.
The first release of this car (with the 4-digit product code) was available in kit form. Do not be scared off by this if your modeling skills are not great. The car assembles without any glue or paint. You simply need to attach the frame to the body (using friction), add the ladders (again with friction) and then simply pop in the trucks. The later (5-digit product code) release were made and assembled in China as RTR (Ready-to-Run) models.
Road Name History:
The company was founded in 1903 as "The Development and Funding Company" by Elon Huntington Hooker, of Rochester, NY. Hooker created a company that used the Townsend cell to elecrolyse salt into chlorine and sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as "caustic soda" and "lye," in a chloralkali process. Elmer Sperry, founder of Sperry Electric, and Leo Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite and Velox photographic paper consulted for Hooker to improve the design of the cell.
The company was sited in Niagara Falls, NY because of the low cost electricity from the Niagara Falls power project (completed in 1895), the abundance of salt from nearby mines, and availability of water from the Niagara River.
Hooker Chemical Company was purchased by Occidental Petroleum Corporation in 1968.
Unlike many of their contemporaries which contracted with European firms to produce their products, MDC made their own toolings. They made several popular body styles and produced them for road names that many other vendors (even Micro-Trains) wouldn't touch. This made them popular with modelers. Also, their un-assembled "kits" permitted a lower price point so they were popular with "runners" as well as "modelers".
Of particular interest was the attention given to modern 50 foot steel boxcars. They made some attempt to accurately mold the differences into distinct models to represent each of the major prototype manufacturers products. They have distinct toolings not only for the different products from FMC, BFF and PS, but also multiple models for each of these manufacturers including "standard" vs "Youngstown" doors and "waffle" vs. "rib" sides. In total they produced 13 different versions of the 50 foot steel boxcar.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-10-15 09:35:28
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