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Author Topic: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
rogruth

Posts: 79
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: August 19, 2016,
Quote

Between 1947 and 1952 I visited an aunt in Chicago every summer. Rode to and from Chicago on an overnight B&O trip.
Didn't wear a tie but "dressed-up" otherwise. I dressed pretty much the same when I rode the IC and the Rock Island
to go downtown. Also atended the Railroad Fair both years.

I visited All Nation on LaSalle Street several times. I seem to remember buying an HO Ujrich drop end gondola at that store. There was also a hobby store on 103rd street near where my aunt lived. That was a very nice area to live in at that time. I have not been to Chicago since 1952.

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: August 26, 2016,
Quote

EdB,
Fount of knowledge as usual.
RAy.

artfull-
dodger

Posts: 39
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 26, 2016,
Quote

I wish I could have seen the AN hobby shop back in the day. I have always professed that I grew up in the wrong era for the models I enjoy the most. Be it the HO craftsman kits when I was younger, or the O scale versions I enjoy now. Here is a pic of one of my two AN F units. This one is an early issue F7, told from the box its probably from the first year or so of production as the shop moved shortly there after. She has an aftermarket CLW drive system in her. I also have an F3 kit that I bought at the Indy meet, she is under construction right now and has the AN duel drive that powers both trucks directly thru towers. The CLW is a direct drive with the motor set lower in the frame inline with the axle gear boxes, along with brass sprung trucks. I am also looking for more F7s or F3's to purchase, along with AN car kits. Mike

Image

Here is the CLW power chassis for the AN f units.

Image

Silly NT's.......I have Asperger's Syndrome!

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 27, 2016,
Quote

Ed.
I almost missed this post about All-Nation I was overseas when you posted it with no computer for a month.
If there has been one thing I have missed since I left all the forums was your great stories about "The Old Days" you have always been a gentleman on the forums and what you say always seems to make sense.
This is why I had a Ed Bommer hobby shop on my layout which sadly is gone (The Hobby Shop) but the postcards will keep coming to you and I am sure in the near future I will find something somewhere on the layout with your name on it.
Thanks mate.
Nev.

Nev

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 28, 2016,
Quote

Harry,
Dont leave us in suspense. What happened to the Bommer Hobby shop??????
RAy.

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 28, 2016,
Quote

ADodger,
Is that direct drive unit a homebrew setup or was it available as a kit??
RAy.

artfull-
dodger

Posts: 39
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 28, 2016,
Quote

Ray,it is a Central Locomotive Works power chassis for the AN F units. Sprung and equilized brass trucks, direct drive to both trucks, which is the only way to power the front truck on an AN F unit due to the light box that is cast into the nose of the engine. Although one could grind an opening in the nose to accomidate the AN duel drive. The CLW drive chassis is very smooth and quiet. I ran her for the first time, and it was her true first time being run more than a foot or two on a piece of flex track, at the Indy Meet on a gentleman's cicular display layout. Mike

Silly NT's.......I have Asperger's Syndrome!

artfull-
dodger

Posts: 39
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 28, 2016,
Quote

I would love to have a couple of thier catalogs from the late 50s to the mid 60's just as a referance point of whats out there to hunt for to purchase. I am only 43, so this stuff is all before my time, but I love finding the kits and building them. Mike

Silly NT's.......I have Asperger's Syndrome!

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 29, 2016,
Quote

Ed Bommer's shop.
Image
Image

Nev

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: September 29, 2016,
Quote

Yes, Neville!
I truly appreciate your remembering me on the Bay Ridge Harbor. I think I once owned a gravel yard and later a small boat factory as well on the BRHRR over the years.

Up until the 1950s there was a Bommer Spring Hinge factory in Brooklyn. No relatives to my family though. They held the 1880s hinge patent for doors that could swing both ways and close by themselves.
These hinges are still made but in other locations. The Bommer Company also makes modern post office box compartments among other things in metal.

Also to add, that '49 Mercury coupe parked beyond the Polar Bear models my first car.
It was the same model'49 Merc, but in metallic green. I also have one of those models in metallic red
(not a '49 Merc color!) and might repaint it someday.

Hard to believe that by next month my visit with you during a month long tour of Australia (and Tasmania) will be a decade back in time!

Here is how you were similarly made present on the Baltimore & New York layout:

Image
Image
Image

There are more photos of that layout a page or two down in the photo album section, "Along the Baltimore & New York."

All the best,
Ed Bommer

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: October 1, 2016,
Quote

Your a great man Ed I wished I lived closer to you I could learn a lot from you.
Thanks for the reply.
Nev.

Nev

artfull-
dodger

Posts: 39
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: October 1, 2016,
Quote

I am building one of the AN F3 kits right now, just swapped the power trucks for non powered wheel sets and some other pieces I needed. I am looking for 2 more F unit kits(powered and non powered) or a pair of the NW2 diesels in kit form. The F3 has been a joy to buid and I have enjoyed it immensly. Mike

Silly NT's.......I have Asperger's Syndrome!

John-
Wubbel

Posts: 144
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: January 6, 2018,
Quote

Just to reboot this thread, I perhaps can add some additional details of special interest. I believe you can see a photo of the AN marquee to the front entrance by visiting the following link:

19780140 26 All Nations Hobby Shop

Also, a nice historical write up can be found at:

http://www.tcawestern.org/an.htm

I have in my collection the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of the AN Catalogs. Here is a scan of the store front at 182 N. La Salle St.
Image
The model railroad bug got me at a very early age starting in my Grandfather's basement. In order to distract me and my sister from touching his model trains, I was given an HO Dockside without a motor in it and and my sister got Oscar & Piker with a long True Scale run of track down an incline to let them coast. The highlight of our visits at such a tender age.

As I developed a rubber neck every time I saw a train, it was only a matter of time before I started pestering my Grand Dad Les to take me to the hobby shop. That hobby shop was AN in downtown Chicago. It took a very long time to talk him into a trip from Lombard into the city on a Saturday. After all, he worked for the CTA all week long and did not care to commute again on the weekend.

Les was a very well known model rail fan in the Chicago land area. He knew and was friends with just about everyone either associated with the transportation industry and other well know hobbists. He had HO in the basement and a large O Scale Traction running out of his garage into the garden which attracted many model rail fans to come out for summer weekend operations. He was also the circulation manager for the NMRA Midwest Region Waybill for many years with an addressograph in the basement. At the time he was addressing to 1,500 region members. He was founder of and several times President of the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club.

Aside from my trying to get to the hobby shop Grandpa Les and my Grandma took me to many NMRA Region and National meets over the years. It just so happened on the first visit I ever had to AN Grandpa Les needed to buy a new Wagner power truck for one of his O Scale Interurban models. I can't tell you how big of an impression that visit to the store made on me that day. I could not fall asleep that night. In my eyes at that age it had to have been the best hobby shop in the world. And especially so for the professional model builders because in my Grand Dad's day coming out of the depression years and with material shortages during WWII many guys had to be scratch builders out of necessity and AN continued to catered to that market with kits and parts. The reason Les was so into O Scale Traction was he originally began his career working for the Chicago Surface Lines. He could have easily worked for the CB&Q but he loved traction. He began as a motor man and one of the original street cars he operated is 144 located at the Illinois RR Museum in Union, IL. He retired from the CTA but while he was employed I got to ride with him all over the EL system including the Skokie Swift for free. I will never forget those times. BTW, I took my son Les to Union to see the 144.

The AN catalogs I still turn to as reference material on occasion plus it is fun to dream.

John Wubbel

Image

rogruth

Posts: 79
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: February 8, 2018,
Quote

Sometime between 1948 and 1952 I visited the AN shop on LaSalle Street.
I remember how much stuff they had. This was during my high school days
when I had a Lionel floor layout on the second floor of our house and an
HO 5' X 9' layout in the basement. I probably bought an HO kit there.
It could go home in my suitcase on the B&O back to eastern Ohio.

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: October 18, 2019,
Quote

Hi,
Somebody has to have a photo of an's marquee.
RAy.

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