To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Joe Fisher Traction Models

Joe Fisher scratch built many O scale passenger car models over the years. His work included standard passenger and traction (trolley) cars. The hallmarks of a Fisher model were the use of "Lionel" size light bulbs for the interior lighting and home-made bolts to hold the roofs in place on the model.

The "Lionel" size light bulbs are the bulbs normally found in Lionel locomotives, cars, and structures. They are far too big for use in most O scale models. They produce a lot of heat for the interior of the model.

The home-made bolts are pieces of brass rod threaded on both ends. On one end, visible from the bottom of the car, a large nut was screwed on and soldered to the bolt. Then a slot was filed into the end with the nut for the blade of a screwdriver. The other end of the threaded rod would be screwed into a block of brass mounted to the roof of the car. Besides holding the roof to the car, the secondary use for the bolts was to bring the electric current to the roof for lighting. In the case of a trolley model the current was brought down to the power truck(s) and the ground for the lighting.

I own two traction models built by Joe Fisher. The CA&E 1909 Kuhlman pictured above and a CSS&SB solarium car. I know the CA&E car is painted the wrong color scheme. The model was built as the prototype car was originally delivered with upper sash windows. The model should have been painted either in the original dark green as delivered from Kuhlman, the dark red introduced by Dr. Conway, or the coffee and cream color scheme of the early 1930's. However, I don't have the heart to have the car repainted. As an aside the model is hand lettered. Since obtaining the car some minor changes/corrections have been done. The interior lighting has been changed to miniature 16 v bulbs. Some time in the future the lighting  will be changed to constant voltage.

The CSS&SB solarium didn't have "Lionel" size bulbs but rather miniature "neon" bulbs. They produced too much light of the wrong color. The prototype didn't have neon lighting. When obtained by me this is what the interior of the roof looked like. One of the threaded roods, the brass blocks to hold the other threaded rods. the "neon" bulbs, and wiring can be seen.

Here is a view into the interior of the model. The passengers were added by me.
The "neon" bulbs were replaced with 16 v miniature bulbs. A future projects is to install constant lighting since the sign on the rear of the car as well as the markers use a Dallee constant voltage regulator.

I've often wonder what, how many, and who owns the traction models built by Joe Fisher. Thanks to information originally prepared by Rich Bosak when Dud Onley was selling his models, a list of Fisher's models has been prepared. However, the list may not be all inclusive of the traction models built by Fisher. He must have built traction models for other trolley fans. If you have any information about any of the models on the list and/or would like to add a model to the list please let me know.

Joe Fisher O Scale Interurban Models
Compiled by Ed Halstead

  • Business car #7, maroon with sand roof *
  • Buffalo Lockport & Rochester coach 500 series, orange with brown roof *
  • Chicago Aurora & Elgin coach #315, red and blue-gray with green roof *,**
  • Chicago South Shore& South Bend parlor car #351, orange & maroon w/maroon roof **
  • Dayton & Western combine #605, yellow & maroon with tuscan red roof *
  • Illinois Terminal line car #1799, green with tan roof *
  • Indianapolis Crawfordsville & Western combine #105, maroon with gray roof *
  • Northern Ohio private trolley car The Northern, body only *
  • Oregon Electric observation coach, green with tuscan red roof *
  • Portland Lewiston interurban coach #12, Pullman green & tuscan red w/gray roof *
  • Rochester Syracuse & Eastern Coach #109, Pullman green w/sand roof *
  • Sacramento Northern coach #125, green with tan roof *
  • Southwestern coach, coach green with sand roof *
  • Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern modernized coach, yellow with brown roof *
  • Texas Electric arch roof coach, dark blue with sand roof *
  • Union Traction Wind Splitter #413, maroon with black roof *
         * = built for Dud Onley; ** = owned by Ed Halstead


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