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Author Topic: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
GP-9

Posts: 253
Post The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 14, 2016,
Quote

All this time I thought All-Nation produced kits that you had to order through your local O Scale dealer.
Then I find this "O" Gauge catalog from 1962, saying that All-Nation had a Hobby Shop in Chicago, on LaSalle Street, then they moved to Madison Street.
It looks like they carried everything from Model Railroads "O" "HO" "TT", to Ship Models, and Airplane Models. There is Kemtron, Central Locomotive Works, Wagner Car Company, BC Models Streamline Pullman Car Kits, Walthers. They even had their own line of paint.
And they even offered Custom-Assembled Cars and Locomotives.
Like I said and all I thought was they offered only kits.

Bill

GP-9

Posts: 253
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 23, 2016,
Quote

Just a couple of questions; Did anyone here ever visit their store? & How long was the store in business?
Bill

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 23, 2016,
Quote

When I was at a counseling internship at the Elgin State Hospital in 1966/7, I occasionally visited the All Nation Hobby Shop on Madison, taking the MILW commute into Chicago.
Unable to do any model railroading, at least I could ride trains on my days off!

On my first visit, AN had a 'distress sale' table of kits and other items.
It was sometime after a fire in an adjoining store caused some smoke and water damage.
I bought a Zimmer 40' double sheathed boxcar kit with pre-painted and lettered sides for TH&B, for about $5.00. The two roof sections were slightly warped in opposite directions. all else was fine.

Did not get to build it until 1971 or so and worked out a way to straighten the two roof panels by clamping them straight and treating them with steam from a big kettle on the stove.
After allowing the roof panels to dry for a week or so, they were straight and still are.

I rebuilt the car in the 1990s as a single sheathed CNJ, taking the number of one in a photo that was destroyed in the 1950s "Pickle Works Wreck" on the LIRR.
Image

Also in 1969 I bought by mail All Nation Kit No.5 for their 4-4-2.
I think AN moved out of Chicago sometime in the 1970s.
Image

Ed Bommer

bob turner

Posts: 114
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 31, 2016,
Quote

All Nation did not move very far - Bill Pope took it to his farm in Wheaton, almost a suburb. He produced lots of stuff right there in his barn. Gave me a tour in 1979.

I like the Atlantic. Is it possible that it has a prototype? I have one sitting on 73" drivers, but have not gotten further than that.

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 31, 2016,
Quote

I tweaked the AN 4-4-2 into a B&O A-3/74 as it appeared in the early 1930s as the only photos I could find of one was from that era. The model was built in "BC", the age before computers were available to everyone.

The rear truck was changed to a Hodges type by using some castings from Locomotive Workshop, I also moved the rear truck axle farther back, per prototype appearance. It is semi-rigid and only swivels a little. That helps the loco run straighter on the track and able to take a 36" radius curve. My model railroad's minimum radius was 48" so no worries there.

The tender body was covered with a sheet of 005" thick rivet embossed brass, fixed in place with thin coat of Walthers GOO. The smoke box was given a rivet embossed wrapper to make it larger and the original smokebox front was set into it.

The prototype A-3 class was the last and heaviest Atlantics on the B&O, built by Baldwin in 1910 with 82"drivers.
They were hyped in the railroad press of the day as being superior to the 4-6-2 as the 4-4-2 had one less axle associated rods and related machinery that would add to load, drag and wear. With steel framed wooden cars, the A-3 was capable with up to 14 or 15 passenger cars on the rather flat Ohio and Indiana lines.

But with the advent of much heavier all steel passenger cars following WW I, B&O rebuilt them with 74 "drivers and super-heaters in the 1920s to increase their power and enable them to handle heavier trains. They were Class A-3/74. In the 1930s they also got power reverse units. My model will be updated to the late 1930s-early 1940s appearance someday. It is also equipped with a constant headlight and an on board, battery powered sound unit that is synchronized with the drivers.

There were a few other railroads that re-built their 4-4-2s with smaller drivers including Santa Fe, Illinois Central and Southern Pacific. By changing some details, the AN could be tugged a bit toward resembling any of them. Not perfectly by today's exasperatingly mincing expectations, but enough so to be recognizable.

Ed Bommer

Bob-
Delbridge

Posts: 277
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: March 31, 2016,
Quote

Odd, I was just looking thru the August 1951 issue of Model Railroader and A-N had an ad about them buying GMCs inventory (GMC caboose for $4.50, less trucks!) A GMC 4-6-2 was a whopping $55.00, 99 feet of .172 brass rail was $10.50.

Says the A-N shop was at 184 North La Salle St, Chicago IL.

Even Lobaugh had an ad.

Main article was "O Gauge In The Twin Cities" by Linn Westcott on the layout by the Twin Cities Model Railroad Club in St. Paul Union Station. One of the photos shows they used a phonograph to play sound effects during their OP sessions.

So...who still wears a suit & tie while running your trains these days?!?!?!

BobD.

GP-9

Posts: 253
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 1, 2016,
Quote

And take a look at the railfan trips from that time period too white shirts, ties, dress pants. I will be willing to bet that suits and ties were worn at Model Train Shows too.

Bill

Charlie

Posts: 249
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 1, 2016,
Quote

And hats if they were outside.

Charlie

Martin
Administrator
Posts: 865
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 4, 2016,
Quote

So...who still wears a suit & tie while running your trains these days?!?!?!

I try to wear pants. 😉

Want a balloon?

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 4, 2016,
Quote

Well in the past, it was felt that one should look their best when pictures were being taken, or when going somewhere - even to work.

A railroad fan trip was something special, so those attending back then dressed up for it. Jacket, shirt and tie, pressed trousers (or a suit) with shined shoes and a hat or at least a cap as well.

This was also the garb of commuters. Men and women on their way to work dressed up for their commuter trip and work place. Any photo of commuters taken into the 1950 usually show them in a sea of hats.

In the late 1950s and into the 60's I was a press operator for a large engineering firm in NY City. A teen at the time, I was expected to wear a jacket, shirt and tie as well as decent slacks and shined shoes to work. I never wore a hat or cap, but my boss would point out every now and then that I really should be wearing one, especially in winter. At work, I had to change into something more practical for dealing with printing inks, chemicals and grease too, if a press needed maintenance or repair work.

Having somebody come to take photos of you and your layout for a magazine was also a thing for which to dress ones at least close to best. But not always. Here is a photo of an O scale club layout in the 1940s. A snapshot no doubt. No one is specially dressed up for the photo here!

Ed Bommer
Image

GP-9

Posts: 253
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 5, 2016,
Quote

Strong bench work I see. Let's see now 2 workers, 1 helper, and 2 sidewalk foremen to be sure it is done right.

Bill

GP-9

Posts: 253
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 5, 2016,
Quote

Talk about a suit and tie. There is a short movie called "A Great Railroad at Work" It is about the New Haven Railroad and was put out in 1942. There are scenes showing people working in a lab and they are wearing ties and white shirts. Then there is the scene showing the inside of the engine shop and the workers rebuilding a steam locomotive wearing coveralls, but when they supposedly show the completed engine it's suit, tie and hats. But one scene near the end shows a guy with a hat and suit and tie painting the lettering on the side of a car.

Bill

Bob-
Delbridge

Posts: 277
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 7, 2016,
Quote

On my last job (Combat Systems Test Director) with Uncle Sam our supervisor expected us to dress sharp-look sharp, so we wore a tie when we were on a ship (usually 2 weeks at a time) or going to a meeting; more or less all the time as it turned out.

After he left the next supervisor toned it down a bit; only wore a tie to meetings and on the final day of the ship visit, when telling the CO how broke his/her ship was and how much of his/her money it would take to fix it.

As test directors, we had to interface with our technicians who were on board and with ships force, sometimes having to crawl around in some pretty filthy environments to see what problems they had found/fixed. Some of my fellow TDs apparently didn't crawl around as much as I did and were appalled when I suggested we ditch the tie during day-to-day duties. I stopped wearing one (the boss didn't mind) and soon nobody was wearing one, even to the point that at the out-briefs nobody wore them.

I've had a tie on only twice since I retired (both funerals) back in 2007, don't miss it (have a drawer full of them too).

I think model RR clubs ought to bring the requirement back at least once/year!!!

BobD.

Martin
Administrator
Posts: 865
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 8, 2016,
Quote

Wear a tie??!!!! Goodness....been years & years, and don't even wear one when I'm giving invited lectures. And, then I have a hanging rack of them - think the last use any of them had was my daughter wearing some when she was working as wait staff and manager at a local restaurant...

Want a balloon?

Bob-
Delbridge

Posts: 277
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 8, 2016,
Quote

So..."Tuesday Tie Day" is out??? I guess I could use them to clean the rails if I did such a thing.

Bob

BruceB

Posts: 61
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 8, 2016,
Quote

I wore a tie to the Christmas party for work. A big red Santa Claus tie. That's right, I'm a serious stylish guy!

Proto48Pat-
rick

Posts: 553
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 9, 2016,
Quote

I'm wearing ties less and less and its becoming acceptable in my settings. Funerals MAYBE Ill wear one..depends who's it is (not mine hopefully)

Patrick

Patrick Welch

Charlie

Posts: 249
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: April 10, 2016,
Quote

It didn't take long for me to lose the ties after we moved here where formal wear is blue jeans with a pressed crease. Back to the subject line -- I do have a few All Nation cars on the layout and maybe one Zimmer kit left to build.

Charlie

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: August 18, 2016,
Quote

Hi,
I have seen drawings of the All Nation shop's marque. Anyone have a photo of the outside of the shop itself?? Is the marquee still there?? And after All Nation left was the place ever occupied again?? If it wasnt maybe the marquee is still there and if anyone goes by that way maybe we could get a photo???
Ray.

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: The All-Nation Hobby Shop????
on: August 18, 2016,
Quote

All Nation left its store in down-town Chicago many decades ago.
As a teen I mail order bought some freight car kits and two coaches.
Later I bought a few things in the store on Madison Street when I worked for the State of Illinois in 1967, shortly after a fire in the building next door.
Some of AN's merchandise had been damaged by heat and water.
I got a Zimmer box car kit for $5 which had warped roof sections.
I was later able to straighten using a boat builder's method of steam and clamps in a jig.
In 1969 I bought the All Nation No. 5 steam loco kit for their 4-4-2, which I still have and runs beautifully.

All Nation Hobbies dated from the 1920s and was at several locations in Chicago before getting to Madison St.
In the beginning, it was not all O scale trains either.
That developed as time passed on, with the purchase of Scale Craft dies for some cast aluminum cars (C&O hopper, C&O caboose, straight side sill flatcar and an 8 wheel depressed center flatcar - Walthers got the dies for the 12 wheel depressed center flat);
Thomas Industries brass tank cars (which were formerly Scale Craft as well) and General Models tooling for freight cars and their steam and diesel locos.
The AN passenger car kit tooling came from J C Models of Mattituck NY on Long Island.
More was added yet, with acquisition of the Zimmer kit line for freight cars.

The manufacturing end of All Nation was sold to Bill Pope and was moved to Wheaton IL in 1972.
The old store continued on Madison St., with Bob Colson's son until January 1979 when it closed for good.
The AN marquee would be long gone by now, as other tenants or owners would have been using that space on Madison in their own business name(s).

Sales of O scale kits, parts and supplies continued with Bill Pope out of Wheaton IL until his passing.
Of note was the gradual deterioration of AN's catalog pages as they passed from printing to offset and mimeograph with cross outs and over-writes.

Near the end, Bill Pope added some former Walthers freight and passenger car kits, as well as former Chester Industrial Arts 60' shorty streamline car kits of the 1950s. Chester also made full length, low cost O scale streamline car kits back then.

The old AN and Walthers tooling Bill Pope used is likely worn out and by now rendered nearly useless from rust and corrosion. Ditto for the diesel kit dies and tooling for transmissions.
The family has no interest in the All Nation business and I think may have been asking an excessive amount for the tooling in Bill Pope' estate, with no takers. (Champ Decals may be in the same sort of situation with their artwork and old presses).

The steam loco kit line had been previously sold by Bill Pope and reappeared as Babbitt.
It is presently owned by BTS in West Virginia but its not in production.
Whether Bill' s Train Shop can reissue these kits may be problematic, as the costs to make the castings and other machined parts for them would likely push the price of a kit beyond the cost of an imported brass, completely finished and much more accurately detailed model steam locomotive.

Ed Bommer

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