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Specific Item Information: Atlas USA molded on car underframe. Shares the same product code (MPN) with a Standard Chemical tank car also from Atlas.
Model Information: Apparently dissatisfied with the Roco-produced 50 foot mech reefer from 1969, Atlas made a completely new tooling in 1975. This new version featured riveted sides (the Roco version had rib sides). The tooling was moved to China in the 1990s along with all their other molds and production. By December 2006, this tooling was a bit long in the tooth and Atlas reclassified the model and continued production under the Trainman® line.
Four of the early reefers in this sequence (3241, 3242, 3243 and 3244) do not seem to appear in any of the 1970s Atlas catalogs, but they definitely exist. Apparently Atlas was having some serious numbering issues with these reefers. The first four 3241..3244 (at least I think they were the first four) were assigned MPN's that had already been used for their Shorty Tank cars. Then they mis-numbered the 1978 catalog listings as 3551... which apparently was a catalog error, because no such reefers exist. Atlas finally settled on 3651... which is what *most* of the earliest releases used (the original 4 being the exception) and the 1980 catalog is corrected to reflect this. We believe the date of production for these cars was 1975.
This model was also repainted by several of the aftermarket redecorators including Aksarben and Bev-Bel.
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.
In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.
In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.
Manufacturer Information: 'Atlas Model Railroad' represents the New Jersey manufacturing facility for Atlas brand model railroad products. Atlas also imported European made models in their early years and those items will be noted as having manufacturers set appropriately. In the 1990s Atlas moved all their toolings to China.
Item created by: gdm on 2017-05-19 15:10:36
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