1975 Crown Metal Products Catalog
"REAL STEAM RAILROADS"
For regular visitors to this site, you have seen many referances to my railroading of early years. This is one of my earliest experiences with trying to start my own park train. After visiting many of the larger steam railroads in and around the Bay Area and reading Live Steam Magazine, I found an ad for Crown Metal Products. "WOW, I can have a REAL steam railroad!", was my enthusiastic thought. So I sent for the 1975 catalog shown below. The prices shocked me, but a couple years later I faithfully started planning the large version of the Half Moon Bay and Western Railroad by borrowing a friend's bike that had a speedometer and odometer on it (to calculate how much track I'd need) and riding around the farmer's field and down to a spooky Monterey Cypress forest called 'Farmer's Wheat'. The trees surrounded a grain field of maybe ten acres located at the top of the 100' cliff above the beach and ocean about a mile west of our house.
Did I tell you that about that same time I broke both my arms? It was on that borrowed bike that I marked out how FAR a mile loop was around our block so I could use my bike to see how FAST I could ride a mile. While riding that mile on my own bike (almost two laps around our block, as I remember), my foot slipped off my broken left pedal, I hit a driveway ramp in the curb of the sidewalk, flipped over the bars and broke BOTH my arms! I spent most of seventh grade home with a tutor helping me with my school work. They kept me home because they felt even though I was the biggest kid in school, I may not be able to defend myself with two casts (I had gotten my arm broken in a fight the year before, yes I was MORE than accident prone!). I didn't miss the problems going on there, that was when marijuanna really got popular and every day when I was at school I had to literally fight off the kids pushing the stuff on me. Anyway back to our story....
I really liked the looks of the 24" gauge loco and train. I thought the 15" gauge one was just UGLY. It took me years to figure out what 'splice bars' (rail joiners) were and what 'cwt.' (hundred weight) meant. You'll notice that we thought nothing of writing our notes directly on the catalog pages, with more on the back. I've tried to remove as much as I could. Below are thumbnails with links to each page, scanned big enough to read. Actually the larger images were preloading as you were reading this long-winded jibberish!
Here is the Whole Catalog (about 700k of 4 color gifs) I really compressed it so it could be read without being 10 megs plus. The original catalog is a light yellow color.
Page 1: 'Nothing Pulls People Like
This appears to be printed in 1973 (without prices) by the code in the upper right.
Page 2: Train Capacities
Page 3: Capacity on Grade Chart
Page 4: 15" gauge.
Notice the prices were added in with a typewriter on 7/22/75.
Page 5: 24" gauge
Page 6: 36" gauge
Page 7: Track supplies
My brother has I think a 1987 Crown catalog and the prices sure did go up in 12 years! I think the 36" gauge loco was about $275,000 by 1987, imagine what it would cost today!
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