Saturday, May 25, 2013

I want a Jeffrey

In the July/August 2003 Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette Tim Stolle published a drawing of a Self Contained Battery Truck manufactured by the Jeffrey Company.  I said to myself, I want one of those someday.  Not in On30 as I usually model or Gn15 as Don Gage modeled below.

I wanted it in 1/4th scale ride on trains 7-1/2" gauge, like the car below.  I tucked the thought into the back of my head, and kept that issue on my nightstand for 10 years.  Many other magazines and books were read and shelved, projects made, moves completed, but that magazine was always nearby to look at and dream about.  Sometimes I would search the internet looking for more information but there was precious little on this machine other than the magazine or the model Don made.  That was until Google digitized the books and Harvard Library.  Included in that collection was Catalog #82 of the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company.  Not a treasure trove of information about this specific machine, I would have to write the company and ask for Bulletin #13A for that.  Well the company still existed, so I wrote them.  Tad, the grandson of the owner of the company 100 years ago wrote back to tell me that they did not have a copy of that information, nor blueprints of the machine.  

More internet searches, I found a library with a copy but wanted $25 per page to copy it, OK that is an option, but lets look more.  Library of Congress, did not have a copy nor did any of the Ohio historical societies.  But the Smithsonian did, it was on a whim that I had contacted them, and a kind librarian there emailed me not just the 16 pages of 13A but a total 83 pages of information about the Jeffrey Self Contained Storage Truck.  I may not have a blueprint but I had photos of all 4 sides and basic dimensions, I had descriptions of how the guts worked and information about trailing cars that could go with.  It was time to start drafting.
If I was going to make this ride on it needed to work, lots of internet searches saw people praising the Generic Electric by Plum Cove Studios.  While the body and frame was not right the motors, controller, and wheels would greatly simplify my work.   With my wife's blessing I ordered what I would need from them.  Now I have to wait for parts.