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Specific Item Information: Not too long ago, stations like Al's could be found at every busy city intersection and along most major highways. Premium was 25 cents a gallon, maps were free, restrooms were clean. There was a mechanic on duty who could fix anything. And Al always wore a spotless uniform when he came out to pump your gas, check the oil and wash the windows. Introduced in the late 1930s, box style stations like this sprang up from coast to coast and remained a standard well into the 1950s. Combining the office, restrooms and service bays into one structure, they provided a uniform, neat appearance that attracted motorists. Lots of windows made them bright and cheerful, as did the enameled steel walls decorated in company colors. Although newer stations have taken their place, many survive today as independent garages, body shops, retail stores and offices. A few have even been converted into private homes! This easy-to-build kit features authentic styling that looks great on any vintage or modern street scene. Optional pumps are included to match your era from the late 1930s to 80s, along with colorful decal signs for the finishing touch. Just add vehicles, figures and interior details, available separately, to create a busy scene anywhere along your layout.
Within five years, Walthers had grown so much that larger quarters were needed. Space was found on Erie Street, where everything -- from milled wood parts to metal castings to decals -- was made in-house. 1937 also saw a new line in HO Scale, featured in its own catalog. Bill brought operating layouts to the 1939 World's Fair, which gave the hobby a big boost. Soon, though, the growing possibility of war overshadowed these successes, and supplies were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.
During the war, model manufacturers were ordered to stop production in order to conserve critical metal supplies. Walthers produced what it could from nonessential materials. A series of ads in 1943 saw Bill literally scraping the bottom of a barrel! The postwar boom meant rapid growth for the hobby; however, small homes and new families left no room for O scale layouts, and many modelers moved to HO Scale.
The next twenty years brought great change. In 1958, Bill retired and his son Bruce took over. Just as full-size railroads were being hard-hit by new technology, so too were model railroads. Leisure time was spent in front of the TV set, not the train set. In 1960, Walthers became a full-line distributor of other manufacturers' products while continuing expansion of the Walthers lines. By the start of the 1970's, business was booming again, and Bruce's son Phil joined the company.
Expansion and diversification continue under Phil's tenure. The establishment of the Walthers Importing Division added several international lines. The manufacturing plant was modernized. Code 83 track was introduced in 1985, giving layouts more realistic proportions. In 1990, the Cornerstone Series buildings were unveiled. Combining a freight car with a related industry, the Cornerstone Series makes it possible for modelers to duplicate authentic operations, enhancing layout realism. The Train Line Deluxe Sets and locomotives debuted in 1994. These sets feature the detailing of serious models and an affordable price -- allowing newcomers to get started, and then build-on to their first set, rather than replacing it.
In 2005, Walthers purchased Life-Like from Lifoam Industries. With this purchase Walthers acquired the Proto Lines that have become the backbone of their locomotive and rolling stock segments.
Today, Walthers continues to expand, improve and develop a wide range of products. Their latest selection can be found throughout Walthers.com and their printed catalogs, along with items from over 300 other manufacturers.
Item created by: nscalestation on 2017-01-01 23:19:47. Last edited by gdm on 2017-07-18 09:44:19
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