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Billboard Refrigerator Cars


Product Manufacturer: Signature Press
Manufacturer Model: BB
Store Item Number: SIGBB
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Billboard Refrigerator Cars

The practice of painting advertisements on the freight cars of shippers and car owners dates well back into the 19th century. But in the 1920s, leasing companies realized they could contract with shippers to pass back usage payments beyond some agreed minimum.

This led to an explosion of car leasing and, as this book amply demonstrates, a corresponding explosion of billboard decoration of refrigerator cars. Railroad objections, especially to the usage payment rebates, led to hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission, which, taking effect in 1937, banned most of the leasing practices which had generated the car leasing bonanza. After World War II, a restrained billboard style made a modest comeback.

Car-side advertising was only a detail of that ICC decision. But because it was the basis for a remarkable diversity of refrigerator car paint schemes in the era, the photographs of these cars have long held an interest for historians, railfans, and model railroaders.

Thoroughly documented here are hundreds of these paint schemes, together with details of the leasing companies and car builders associated with the individual cars. More than 440 photographs, most previously unpublished, enrich this book. Even a modest amount of color information was available and is included.

The authors, both recognized authorities on railroad freight car history, have done a superb job of collecting and organizing the information presented here. The book is sure to appeal to modelers and to many who are interested in railroad history.

  • Size: 222 pages, 8.5" x 11"
  • 443 photos
  • some color information
  • appendices
  • bibliography
  • index
  • ISBN: 978-1-930013-22-3

Table of Contents

  Foreword 5
  Acknowledgements 6
Chapter 1 Historical Background 9
Chapter 2 Early Billboard Refrigerator Cars 19
Chapter 3 Billboard Reefers of the 1920s and '30s: Meat Packers 35
Chapter 4 North American Despatch 47
Chapter 5 North Western Refrigerator and Western Refrigerator Lines 73
Chapter 6 Merchants Despatch Transportation Company and Northern Refrigerator Car Company 93
Chapter 7 General American Refrigerator Express 123
Chapter 8 Union Refrigerator Transit Lines 135
Chapter 9 Quaker City Refrigerator Express 157
Chapter 10 Other Owners and Leasing Companies 167
Chapter 11 End of an Era 181
Chapter 12 Postwar Renaissance 187
      Postwar Color Gallery 200
Appendix 1 Historical Color Renditions 207
Appendix 2 Summary of ICC Ruling 209
  Bibliography 213
  Index 215

Product Condition: New

Product Type: Book > Hardcover Book
Author(s): Richard H. Henrickson and Edward S. Kaminski
Number of Pages: 222
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
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