A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine Ads

A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine Ads

Postby Bill Dixon » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:01 am

A Short history of HP Products and TT-Scale from Magazine Ads.

Going through a selection of early 40s, 50s and 60s, magazines in the store preparatory to giving them away or recycling them I realized that there was a wealth of information about early TT-Scale in the ads. So I looked through them and selected a box to take home for study.

In the 1946 November MR on page 773 is the earliest HP ad I found.
It is a full page ad showing the Diesel A unit, the streamline coach and mentioning the B Unit, Postal, observation car, and tie sections.
An assembled train set consisting of an A-Unit, three coaches, and track (tie sections and rail) was $ 40.00
A second assembled set consisting of a B-Unit, A Postal Car, A Pullman Car, an Observation and track was also $40.00.

In the 1946 December MR, Inside back page was the second ad I found.
The same equipment and sets as the first ad were shown as well as a steamer (NYC Hudson), caboose, box car, tank car and others.

In the 1947 January MR the full page add showed a NYC A-B-A set and listed the first dealers.

1947 February MR showed the internals of the A-Unit.

The March 1947 MR ad showed the postal car and listed comments received in the mail.

The April 1947 MR ad showed a plan of the 0-6-0 and listed: box car kits, automobile car kits (both with trucks), reefers and a caboose kit.

In the May 1947 MR HP did something different. Rather than one big ad they had nine smaller ads scattered through out the magazine. They did the same thing in June.

In the July 1947 MR HP is down to a smaller ad about half a page size (two cols by3/4 page height). Titled “Where 1 Hand Equals 60 Feet" it shows a hand holding an 0-6-0 switcher.

The August 1947 MR HP ad is titled “Presents Eight New Cars”. Show are a PRR Caboose, NYC Double Door 40' Box car, Super Chief 40' Single Door box car, PFE reefer, CB&Q single door box car, NYC Double door box car, another CB&Q box car and an ATSF Reefer.
The Price list shows:
Freight cars: Steel Box Car, Steel Auto Car(Double Door), Wood Box Car, Wood Reefer, automobile or furniture car(?), Kits less paint and decals - $ 1.50 each.
Caboose kit - $ 2.00
0-6-0+Tender Kit - $ 22.00
A-Unit kit - $ 23.00
B-Unit Kit (unpowered) - $ 12.50
Coach kits - $ 2.75
RPO or Pullman - $ 3.25
Observation - $ 3.75.
As well as decals and trucks. A good start to the TT-Scale product line.

The September 1947 MR Ad is titles “All This in less than a year” and has a bigger price list showing both kits and assembled products. No. 7 switches are listed for the first time.

The October 1947 MR Ad is titled “Doing Big Things in a Small Space”. It shows three trains.
In this issue I also noticed a person in the ‘Readers Exchange’ selling his T-Scale equipment.

The November 1947 Full Page Inside Back Cover MR Ad introduces the cartoon characters “MaTT” and “PaTT”. “Want an operating layout then build TT Gauge”.

The December 1947 MR also has a Full Page Inside Back Cover Ad. MaTT and PaTT are there - “More Trains in Less Space”.

I currently have nothing for 1948, 1949 or 1950.

According to a later RMC issue the November 1950 RMC Issue had the first ‘Off'n the Table Top” Column. I do not have this issue yet.

Now my collection shifts to RMC.

The February 1951 RMC has a column stretching over 3 pages. There are ads from HP, Jewel and Star. There is a separate article about a 100 car train that HP Products ran on a demonstration layout at a convention.

By the March 1956 RMC ad size is shrinking. Gandy Dancer has been taken over by Edwin J. Fetyk.

In the January 1957 RMC, are ads from HP, Fetyk, Alco, McMinis and stores
.
The November 1957 RMC Ad shows the Hudson with smoke deflectors.

The December 1957 RMC ad talks about the 0-6-0 with lost wax drivers.

In February 1958 we see a 2-8-0.

In March 1958 it talks about the new motor and mentions the ten wheeler is coming.

In March 59 the ten wheeler is featured in the ad along with the pacific. There is an article titles “More about TT Gauge” but no author is listed. It does mention Glyn Lewis who wrote the table-Top column.

January 1960 they announce the new “HP Super tie base’.

The April 1960 issue has an ad from Penn Publications (they published RMC) for the TT Gaugers Handbook”. There is a Table-Top column but no author is listed.

In August 1960 they announce that they are moving to a new larger factory.

By September 1960 the move is complete.

It is clear that they are producing models in batches as needed as the November ad announces that the 4-8-2 is available again.

The March 1961 ad announces “New Cars Coming in April”. The ad is now about 3/5 a column.

From March 1960 through April 1961 the only ads are from HP and Gandy Dancer.

In April 1961 the ads are now small, about 1" high. They are white on black so they stand out. Christoph makes his first appearance (that I noticed).

By July 61 they are back to Black on White.

From April 61 though September 63 with a few exceptions, HP, Gandy Dancer and Christoph all have ads together in RMC.

September 1961 From HP - “New TT Cars Coming”. From Christoph - A new line of super detailed freight car kits.

December 1961 “The New Detailed Underframe”.

January 1962 “New Box cars”.

March 1962 a bigger ad - 1/3 of a column - “New Box Cars - we're delivering now.”.

In September 1963 this Ominous ad appears:
”TT Scale
SPECIAL NOTICE
We sincerely regret our inability to
properly service our many TT customers
due to urgent defense work.
We will do our best but for several
months power units will be scarce.
Should anyone be interested in manufacturing
TT equipment and capble of
properly servicing and financing, contact
H. P. Products, Hartford City, Ind.
Phone 317-348-2710.”

It is clear the end is near.

This notice repeats for a few month until the December 1963 RMC.
I have not noticed any HP ads after this issue.

Christoph hangs on until March 1965.

From April 1965 the only mention of TT I see is in Northeaster Scale Lumber ad where they mention TT as one of their scales. I do not yet know how long this lasted.

So there you have it. An incomplete history of TT-scale from magazine ads.
From November 1946 through June 1965, not quite 20 years.

I still have more magazines to go through, some were not in a state to bring home - too musty. And I haven’t had time to go through other boxes at the store.
As I find out more info I will update this file.

All my magazine info is in an excel file Year/Month/Magazine/Page/Table-Top Article/Advertisers/Scanned/Notes. Someday when it is more complete I may post it.

Corrections, additions and comments are welcome.

MR = Model Railroader magazine.
RMC = Railroad Model Craftsman
When no manufacturer is mentioned I am talking about HP Products.

Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
North Vancouver, BC
Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
North Vancouver, BC
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby Arseny » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:24 am

Very interesting info, Bill!

Did they publish any TT-scale layouts at that time?
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby scaro » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:58 am

yes, really interesting ... was the 'defense work' reason genuine? possible, as i believe model railways were only a sideline for HP Products.
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby Arseny » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:02 am

To say more, HP Products exists even today, as I know...
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby areibel » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:01 am

HP was a metal stamping company at the time (from what I have learned), which explains a lot- at the time HO had cast trucks, diesel shells and sideframes, etc all the HP offerings were stamped metal! Supposedly at the end they were working for an aircraft manufacturer and whatever they were making was pretty popular (and probably paid a lot better than model trains, unfortunately). And with Mr. Joyce getting older and the TT business withering I guess he finally decided to try and sell to anyone that could keep it going. Larry Sayre is a wealth of information on TT history, as well as John Harmon and a few others that have been in it a lot longer than me!
And HP wasn't a large company, most of the model railroad stuff was done in a separate building (or Hal Joyce's garage), including the boiler castings and machining of frames. And at it's "peak" there were less than 10 people working on the model side, and there were only three or four when he started production. It's interesting, the original brown boxes that HP stuff came in must have been surplus from somewhere. I noticed writing under part of a loose label. I pulled the label up, it was printed on the box that it contained a dozen dinner forks for a restaurant supply co. I haven't figured out of HP was stamping the forks and had boxes left over or if they bought them from somewhere. The printed blue boxes came soon after though, they must have been making enough to splurge on custom printing!
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby AstroGoat760 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:16 pm

Here is the link to the modern HP Products, where it mentions it's history as a model train maker.

The front page has a HP 2-8-2, HP Cattle Car, and a HP caboose on it.

http://www.hp4stamping.com
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby railtwister » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:30 pm

Seems to me I read somewhere that Mr. Joyce's interest in TT stemmed from wanting to do it for his son, and by the time they stopped, he would have been an adult (although I believe I also heard that the son had gotten sick or died, so interest in the train business was lost as well). I'm not sure where I heard all this, but I know it was many years ago.

Bill in FtL
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:38 am

One of the interesting things to me has been discovering what was available in TT from HP products.

In their January 1952 MR Ad they list eighteen types of steam engines, two diesels and two MU Cars.
An incredible number of models. Some of the steam engines were created by mixing parts between various types but still they all had a credible appearance. It is a pity that they are not available except as pricey E-Bay purchases. Were they available now they would go a long way towards popularizing TT Scale.

Steam Locomotives listed were:
0-6-0, 2-6-2, 2-8-4, 4-4-2, 4-8-2, 4-8-8-4
0-8-0, 2-8-0, 2-10-2, 4-6-2, 4-8-4, 2-8-8-4,
2-6-0, 2-8-2, 2-10-4, 4-6-4, 4-6-6-4, 2-8-8-2.
I have not yet found ads showing that all were produced.

The diesels and MUs listed were:
Diesel A, Diesel B, MU Coach and MU Combination.

One of the benefits of displaying TT-Scale at shows besides talking to people and having fun, is that occasionally something shows up. At the PGE 100th Convention I was at a few weeks ago one fellow I knew said that he had a TT-Scale brochure that he had saved from a collection he had dealt with a few years back and that he would send it to me.

It arrived today. It is an H.P. Products catalog. What a find for me. Made my day. Full of interesting product details. In a few days if people are interested I will scan it and post it here for members to enjoy.

Found more magazines from the formative years of TT-Scale. Been going through them the last few nights. This project is taking time from other projects but is so interesting that it doesn't bother me. I hope to be at a stopping point by the end of the weekend.

Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
North Vancouver, BC
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby AstroGoat760 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:54 am

Here is a link to the thread I started on February 20, 2010, that has a scanned copy of the 1954 HP Products catalog and the April 1954 Gandy Dancer dispatch on it: north-american-tt-scale-booklets-and-newsletters-t555.html
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Re: A Short History of HP Products + TT-Scale from Magazine

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:04 am

Bill, scan it please.
My website: http://www.ttnut.com
It's the website you're already on. But if you want to be even more on it, click the link.
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