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Model Structures Company (R G Kann) O Gauge

(Santa Cruz, California, USA)


Model Structures Company Catalog Number One, 32 pages, 6 by 9 inches
Probably around 1938/39

Wooden kits produced by Model Structures Company include Country Station Standard Kit, Brick Suburban Station or Branch Line Terminal Master Kit, Small Frame Signal Tower Standard Kit, Restaurant Master Kit, Low Water Tank with Spout Standard Kit, Small Yard Shanty Kit and Tool House Master Kit.


Model Structures Company switch tower

Model Structures Company switch tower

Model Structures Company switch tower

Model Structures Company switch tower

The following text, describing Model Structures Company in 1941, is from Newspapers Online.

Friday May 2, 1941
Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California Page 9

You probably haven't heard of it, and if you have, you probably didn't know where it was, but on a sheltered lane off the Graham Hill Road is the Model Structures company, which according to experts, is the best manufacturer of builders' kits for model railroad supplies in the nation. Their catalogue calls the Model Structures company a manufacturer of model-makers' materials, scale models, and kits of railway buildings and structures. To the unsuspecting layman that sounds like it has something to do with this popular model railroad hobby all the kids are following nowadays, but it hasn't. It's not kids that buy kits from Model Structures, it's adults with an appreciation for absolute scale work. This company caters to the 50,000 adults who build their model railways to scale, not the 350,000 youngsters who have model railway toys. The company started three years ago as a hobby pursued by R. G. Kann and his son, Bud, but grew into a nationwide business when it filled the gap in the model railroad builder's plan. At that time although the mechanical side of model railroading had reached a high state of perfection there were no side structures such as depots, trestles, stations, roundhouses, etc. Kann and his son built model stations and bridges as a hobby, built them to scale using 1/4 inch to the foot from plans of buildings made by the railroad company's engineers. Then Kann, a former manager of a small railroad line in the east, saw the field for a company that could supply model scale builders with kits, built to scale.

R. G. Kann (Model Structures) is at work on one of the minute bolts on his perfect scale model of a railroad girder bridge. The bridge is built to scale using 1/4 inch to the foot from the actual architect's plans of a Baltimore and Ohio line bridge. In the background is a perfect scale model of the San Jose Southern Pacific depot. After we have all the wood we get the windows. They are made of celluloid with the wooden frames stamped on by a power press. The tile roof is made of a specially stamped leatherette material. This is cut out in sections to be put together by the builder according to the plans. The specially cast nails, spikes, rails, etc., are put in separate little envelopes, the materials are put in a box, together with the cast steel and wire structure, and the kit is completed.

Rooms of the Model Structures workshop are filled with jars, boxes of special bolts, and ties, and nails, windows, frames and wood sections all exact miniatures of what railroad companies use. Their exactness would drive most people crazy, but the meticulous scale builders sigh over them in ecstacy. Here, in a few words, is the procedure of model construction from a piece of wood to the finished product. Kann uses selected soft pine for all wood parts. It is cut into small, rough pieces for him by Maurice Reynolds, the Soquel Avenue cabinetmaker. Then Kann saws it into the even smaller parts he needs. When his sawing and carving are done he has side walls, window frames and sashes, doors, rafters, ties, beams, all the actual wooden framework that goes into a building with every piece built to that minute scale of 1/4 inch to the foot. Engine houses are exactly as they would be by the track. A master kit for a duplicate of that engine house would cost $39.32. Another model that shows exacting detail work is the locomotive coaling station. This minute building has pulleys smaller than the buttons on a man's shirt, yet they actually work. Shown in the picture accompanying this story is an exact model of the Southern Pacific Terminal in San Jose. This model has a Spanish tile roof with the tile laid just as they are on the building in San Jose. The rain drains are in the same spots as they are on the original buildings. The eaves have just the right over-hang. It is a model of perfection in every detail. Due to the cost of such model kits, most of Kann's business, naturally, comes from professional and business men.

The Model Structures company prides itself on its exactness, and because of that perpetual hunt for perfection, Kann has built up a stock of instruction plans. That mass of materials makes a Model Structures kit that would delight any scale model railroad builder in the world. All the buyer has to do is to assemble it. Model Structures is yet a small concern. Kann Is the president, kit assembler, model builder, secretary, treasurer, janitor and office boy, but already after being in its selected field for only three years, experts recognize it as best in the country.

Model Structures company, recognized by magazines such as Model Railroading, the Model Builder, and others, as the leading manufacturer in the nation of model railway buildings kits. Kann has sent kits to every state in the United States, to England, South America, the Hawaiian Islands, to practically every place where scale railroads are built.

Besides the kit trade, Kann makes a few models of trestles or buildings or roundhouses for special model railroading exhibits. He had an 18-building mining village, all built to scale, on exhibition at the 1939-40 San Francisco World's Fair, built for the California-Nevada Railroad Historical Society. His models are represented in every major model railroad club exhibit in the country. The Santa Fe Railroad company used Model Structures' materials and models in its scale model railroad layout display on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum in Chicago. Kann doesn't specialize in the special model buildings, but makes them to popularize the field of model scale railroad building kits.

The kits vary in price from $2.45 for a standard trestle kit to $62.50 for a standard roundhouse kit. Master kits run a little higher, and the finished models still higher. A finished model Girder bridge costs only $10.50. but a large scale 110-foot roundhouse costs $190. Kann has one of these roundhouses on display in his own model room. The absolute detail to the building is baffling in its accuracy. It is an exact copy of the Wabash Railroad roundhouse at North Kansas City, MO. The model was built by Kann to absolute scale from the architect's plans. Even the pits in the roundhouse have double I beam sections to carry tracks. Four electric lights illuminate each stall. The light sockets are concealed by ventilators with brass hoods. The front doors have four operating hinges. One front and one rear door has a pilot door. A false roof conceals the wiring; steam pipes act as conduits for the wiring. The window sills have just the right indentation into the wall, the frames are correct to contracting scales. He has a square engine house on display that is so absolute in detail that even the top of each door where the smoke from a locomotive would scorch the wood in a real engine house, has the black smoke marks.

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