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Body Style Information: This model was designed by Walthers and produced in China starting in the late 1980s or 1990s. They do not appear in my 1997 catalog, but based on the stock numbers they seem to be something that they stopped making before 1997 rather than started making after 1997. The tooling is fairly simple and typical of a 1st generation car but with 2nd generation printing. One thing that makes these different is that the roof is attached to the body. The sides and underframe are all one piece. Most other rolling stock (especially boxcars) have the body attach to the underframe. One advantage of this design is it is fairly easy to add weight to the cars. They also allow for a simple swap out of the trucks and couplers using a standard truck pin.
Prototype Information: Introduced in 1964, these insulated box cars were leased to a number of railroads and private industries. In service, they carried loads which required a constant temperature, but didn't need to be refrigerated in transit. This included foodstuffs like cereal, beer, canned goods and chocolate, as well as a variety of lubricants and chemicals. Using the same basic body, three variations were built, which differed in inside length, types and thickness of insulation and load restraints. Just over 1300 roamed the rails and a few remain in use today.
The company expanded into numerous areas, including other breakfast cereals and other food and drink products, and even into unrelated fields such as toys. In August 2001, Quaker was bought out by Pepsico because Pepsi wanted to add Gatorade to its arsenal of beverages and thus break into the isotonic sports beverage market. The merger created the fourth-largest consumer goods company in the world. Though the main prize for PepsiCo was Gatorade noncarbonated sports drink, Quaker's cereal and snack food division serves as a seemingly healthier complement to the existing Frito-Lay division of salty snacks.
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: gdm on 2017-01-19 13:55:50
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