NO.2 GAUGE / Fovant Military Railway / C.1925 / J. Francis Parker

FMR 22FMR 2FMR 3FMR 4FMR 5sim 5sim 4

From the fiftypointeight collection. Acurate replacement buffers thanks to Walsall Model Industries.

“In 1915, as the camps at Fovant grew in size, a spur line was built from Dinton station to the camps at Fovant for the easier transportation of supplies, equipment and wounded men returning from active service for rehabilitation and retraining. It ran from a junction on the down side of the London and South Western Railway main line at Dinton, over the Nadder on a girder bridge (removed in 1995 after the closure of RAF Chilmark) and ran through the fields of Old Russells, Mains and Broom Close to Fovant, crossing Dinton Road near the house now called ‘Crossing Gates’”. – Fovant Military Railway

The traveling mail van was built by the brilliant modelbuilder J Francis Parker (c.1895-1980), whose LSWR scale models were previously displayed in the now-defunct Bristol Industrial Museum. Incidentally, C. Hamilton Ellis included a section on the Fovant Military Railway in his 1965 book ‘The Splendour of Steam’.

JFParker #2

JFParker #1

Other examples of Parker’s work from Gauge 1 Railway Models in Bristol Industrial Museum, The Parker Collection, 1983




All credit to and via LiveAuctioneers

Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke was born two days after Christmas in 1877. The son of a boilermaker and a Northampton resident his whole life, he founded the Bassett-Lowke company in the last years of the 19th century, and began building scale model railways and other motorised metal toys. He was influenced by the great German toymakers like Bing (whom he supported when Bing fled the Nazis in 1932) and Carette, with whom he struck up strong business partnerships and lifelong friendships.

His company produced trains of all gauges – from the massive 15-inch gauge live steam models down to the comparatively-diminutive 00 gauge, and most gauges in-between. Bassett-Lowke was active throughout both World Wars, leading the British model-building industry in quality and innovation.

The company’s decline began in the late 1950s, having evolved to building far smaller OO gauge models, when nearly identical items could be found elsewhere at lower cost. Interest in technical toys was also on the wain as the atomic age fuelled the imagination, and in 1964 the company sold its shops, including the famous 112 High Holborn in London, and promptly ceased trading.

112 Holburn

112 High Holborn, March 2017

NO.2 GAUGE / B&O / C.1900 / VOLTAMP

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All credit to and via TheSaleRoom

Voltamp was created in 1863 by the wonderfully-named Manes Fuld, whose father ran a Baltimore, Maryland, general store. Like many of his brilliant train-building peers, Fuld was a notable member of his city’s thriving Jewish community.

He built all his models to run on 2-inch gauge track, just like other early US and British manufacturers. Fuld’s first train appeared in 1903, and by 1907 they were all powered by the magic of electricity.

The example above is a 2-inch gauge engine in his native Baltimore & Ohio livery, and is about as prototypical as Voltamp ever got. Voltamp exited the market in 1922, selling its line to Boucher, and just as 2 1/8-inch Standard gauge began to be de rigueur.



All credit to and via TCAWestern

Georges Carette began making trains with the Bing brothers in 1886, before taking over the reigns of the business in the mid-1890s. At that point, having tired of making magic lanterns (as I suspect one would), he turned his companies talent for lithographed metal sheet to the construction of tinplate model locomotives and rolling stock. He secured his future by contracting with Wenman Joesph Bassett-Lowke to produce models for the British market.

Like Bing, Fuld (of Voltamp) and Basset-Lowke himself, Carette came from a wonderfully-talented Jewish family, and at the outbreak of WWI he was advised to leave Germany and head to France. By 1918, like many minority-owned businesses in Germany, the company was forcefully ‘liquidated’ and Carette as a train-making entity was no more.