The H.O. Beer Car Collectors Website

 This page last updated     03/06/2003
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About the Author



Authored by Dave Pool ... NMRA Life Member # 2932 ( since 1969 )


I thought that I knew a lot about H.O. beer cars until I started this website. That's when I discovered how little that I really knew.

This website was created as a matter of self defense. I had been collecting H.O. beer cars since 1954, and then only when and where I could find them. I didn't have much opportunity to go to train shows, and my trips to the hobby shops were never as frequent as I would have liked. I did manage to find about 120 different beer cars between 1954 and 1998, and I thought that I had quite a collection. An old cliché goes " You just don't know, what you just don't know."

In the late summer of 1998, I discovered ebay on the internet. They had quite a few train items at auction in the "trains" category, so I started to look through the listings. I found a beer car that I didn't have while browsing ebay in late November, so I registered, and began bidding.  I lost that first auction, but found and won many other beer cars in the months after my first attempt. I created a database and listed every beer car that I had, and every car that I saw on ebay. As ebay grew in popularity, so did the amount of beer cars that were coming up for auction. Many were cars that I had never seen, and I started emailing the sellers for whatever information they might be able to provide. Along the way, I noticed several of the same names popping up on the bidders list, so emails were sent to several of them asking questions about the cars that they had won, and about other cars that they might have knowledge about. Most responded with answers that were very helpful, and some found that my database contained information that they were interested in, so it would be saved to a spreadsheet format of their choice and email it to them. The database was growing larger every week, and once a month I would drop it into five different spreadsheet formats and email it off to other interested collectors. This had turned into quite a bit of work, and I started looking for an easier way to collect, combine, and then return the information that was being accumulated.

This eventually resulted in the "H.O. beer car collectors website". I no longer have to compile all of those different spreadsheets, and I learned how to create a website along the way. Other collectors are finding the site on the internet, and are sending information on more cars that I had little or no knowledge about. I found that there are people out there that have a great deal more knowledge about these cars than I have ever had, but each of them in turn, have gained new knowledge through the use of this website and the sharing of information that it provides. I have become the "caretaker" of an assembled knowledge base from many individual collectors, and many of the manufacturers and producers of these cars have also joined in to help where they can.

The data contained in this website is only as good as the information that I receive. Many of the cars listed and pictured here were built forty or fifty years ago, and the data concerning them is only as good as the memories of those that supplied it. Old catalogs and pictures from catalogs have helped a great deal, and having the original box with a good label has been very helpful also. There are some cars that you can never really be sure about. Look at the top two pictures on the "Goetz" page for an example. The differences between Ambroid & Gloor craft, or Binkley & Laconia cars can also be nearly impossible to see. Companies were bought and sold. Parts of their product lines were sold to other companies, and then manufactured under new names with little or no changes to the products. Walthers purchased the Trains Miniature line, and continued to manufacture the cars. Some had minor changes made, and new cars were added to the line. The records on when these changes occurred is spotty. Then we also see the cars that were kit bashed, made from two or three kits into one car. There were also several companies that were or are producing decals or dry transfers for beer cars. These ended up on the sides of undecorated cars from nearly every manufacturer that sold undecorated cars .. ( not to mention the one of a kind hand built cars. ) ...

All this leads me to three simple conclusions ... 1. There will always be cases of mistaken identity in this database. ... 2. There will always be controversy over whether the mistakes are really mistakes or not. ... 3. There will always be cars in the "Unknown" section of this website, and some of them will probably remain there forever. ( a pity )

If you have information that you are "not sure" about, send it to me anyway. If three different people send me the same information, and they are all "unsure" of it, it would be a pretty safe bet that they are correct. Any kind of information, even if it is wrong, is better than silence. If it ends up in the wrong place, there are many out there that will help to correct it and get it where it really belongs. The beauty of a website is that it is a living document, it can be changed for all to see in a matter of a few minutes. ( As long as the author remains active )