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N Scale - Atlas - 2303 - Reefer, 50 Foot, Mechanical - Merchants Despatch - 1000

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N Scale - Atlas - 2303 - Reefer, 50 Foot, Mechanical - Merchants Despatch - 1000 Image Courtesy of George Irwin


N Scale - Atlas - 2303 - Reefer, 50 Foot, Mechanical - Merchants Despatch - 1000


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 2303
Original Retail Price $2.50
Manufacturer Roco
Production Type Regular Production
Body Style Roco Reefer 50 Foot Plug Door Mechanical (Atlas)
Prototype Reefer, 50 Foot, Mechanical (Details)
Road or Company Name Merchants Despatch (Details)
Reporting Marks NYMX
Road or Reporting Number 1000
Paint Color(s) Yellow
Release Date 1969-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Reefer
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety Plug Door Mechanical
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: Two Variations exist: with and without MTC on door

Model Information: Roco manufactured this body style for Atlas in 1969. It appears in the 1967 catalog as "coming soon". The price in 1969 was $2.50 and it was released in 4 road names. It was never picked up by any other importer after Atlas discontinued orders and replaced the body style with a riveted version made in their New Jersey facility in the late 1970s. Roco made another similar tooling for import by Minitrix, Aurora and possibly others. The two toolings are similar but can be differentiated by close inspection of the details in the molding.

Prototype History:
The purpose of a mechanical reefer is to keep perishable items cold. Early reefers were of all wood construction and used ice for cooling. By the 1940s, new reefers were being built entirely of steel. Insulating techniques improved to the point where economical refrigeration could be accomplished using steel side plates in place of wood sheathing. Fifty foot mechanical reefers date back to at least the late 50s / early 60s.

The mechanical reefers could keep a more regular temperature, and often times colder than what the ice bunker cars were capable of. Initially mechanical reefers were used primarily in frozen food service. This would soon change as mechanical refrigeration began to replace ice-based systems. Soon after, mechanical refrigeration units replaced the “armies” of personnel required to re-ice the cars.

Road Name History:
Merchants Despatch Transportation called East Rochester, NY home and most of its railroad cars were built there starting in 1898. Here are several illustrations scanned from a 1928 MDT 12-month calendar showing some of the different cars and specifically refrigerator cars that were built by MDT for different purposes.

The Merchants Despatch Transportation Company (MDT, also known as the Merchants Despatch Refrigerator Line) was established in 1857 or 1858 by the American Express Company of New York (then a freight forwarding service). The entity was reformed as a joint stock trading company on June 1, 1869, with ownership divided among the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway (CCC&I), the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, and the New York Central Railroad (NYC), all part of the Cornelius Vanderbilt rail empire.

From Wikipedia

Brand/Importer Information:
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

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:
The company was founded in 1960 by Ing. Heinz Rössler and started with a plastic Minitanks series of military vehicles. After export to the USA became successful, the model line was expanded with model trains in HO scale and the smaller N scale. TT scale was also subsequently added to the product line. The model rail product line covers many European countries including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and also the USA.

On July 15, 2005 ROCO Modellspielwaren GmbH was declared bankrupt. From July 25 the company continues as Modelleisenbahn GmbH, but still uses the Roco brand and associated logo. On October 1, 2007, distribution of the 'Minitank' product series was assigned to the German model car manufacturer Herpa.

Since February 2008 Modelleisenbahn also owns Fleischmann, which like Roco had gone bankrupt. The two companies continue as separate brands under Modelleisenbahn GmbH, while benefiting from economies of scale through joined development projects, marketing and procurement.

From Wikipedia

Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-04 15:13:05. Last edited by gdm on 2020-05-31 11:37:06

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