Modeling Notes: SHS - Reefers

Prototype Information


(photo © Dick Kramer)

The billboard reefers were modeled after the 1927 models of the Northwestern Refrigerator Car Co. (NWX reporting marks) made by ACF. These cars saw use into the 1970s.

While we are on the topic of "billboard" reefers, Stan Stokrocki provided the following information in the April 2000 NASG Dispatch. A billboard reefer was a car whose sides were actually used as rolling billboards; the car sides were hired out as advertising space. The advertising on the car did not necessarily have any relationship to what was being carried in the car. That particular product may have never been carried in that reefer, or in any reefer at all. This led to situations where a meat packer might order some empty cars and find that the cars delivered to his siding carried a competitor's graphics. By paying to ship his meat in them, he was actually helping to promote a rival's product. This type of situation led to complaints. In response, the ICC outlawed the practice of using cars as billboards in 1934. It didn't outlaw any paint schemes per-se; there never was any restriction on how the owner or lessee of a car could paint it to promote that company's own products. In modeling terms, a billboard-era car might be carrying anything, regardless of the paint job. In the post-billboard era (after 1934) the paint scheme would pretty much indicate what was being shipped. Modelers often use "billboard reefer" to describe any (usually wood-sided) reefer with a fancy paint job. This usage is incorrect.

Awards

This model won the "S Scale Rolling Stock of the Year" in 2001, as voted on by the readers of Model Railroader magazine.

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