lettering for Rock Island’s Fowler design boxcars
The Rock Island in the teens was one of many railroads at the time to follow W. E. Fowler’s patented design for the wood siding in the newly developed steel frame boxcar. Fowler was a Master Car Builder for the Canadian Pacic Railroad, and patented his design. The Fowler design patented an approach to keeping the side boards tight as the wood shrunk with drying. His design places slots in the frame so that the boards could be shifted downwards to close up cracks - a serious weather problem that damaged cargo. Thousands of “Fowler” boxcars were built for the CP, CN, C&NW, M&StL, TH&B, and other roads between 1909 and 1919. The majority of the Canadian cars were 36’ and became commonly known as “Dominion” cars after the name of the Canadian builder, although the ERIE and NC&StL built the same 36’ cars. Soon many railroads adopted this general design, building similar 40‘ “clones” although not exactly the same, thereby avoiding the specics of the Fowler patent. The C&NW/CMO, on the other hand, applied the Fowler patent to it’s 40’ cars, and so it‘s 8,500 cars were true Fowler cars. Railroads with large numbers of the clone design included the D&RGW, CRI&P (Rock Island), and the M&StL. Pretty much all had an inside height of 8’-1”, but roof panels, ends and doors diered somewhat according to each road’s mechanical department requirements, i.e., the Rock Island had 18 mullions in its roof, whereas the D&RGW had only 15. Note: the term “Fowler clone” is a model railroad term and not one of the prototype railroad’s, and like the term “Bettendorf truck”, which should more correctly be called “Bettendorf Design”, as they were built by many dierent foundries.
The Rock Island acquired 8,200 Fowler clone 40’, 40-ton boxcars, classied as Class B-2, between 1913 and 1929. Series ran from 40700-42199 (Western Steel Car Co. in 1913), 42200-46699 (Pullman, Lot 5255 in 1915), 157500-158699 (AC&F in 1925), and 133000-133999 (AC&F/Bettendorf Co, Lot 402, in 1927/29 - the latter renumbered into 39000-39699 Series in June 1954) (in 1942, 1,150 were rebuild into stock cars and in service into 1972) After WWII, most were retired but a few were still to be found in revenue service in 1965.
Paint & Lettering: Cars painted with RI’s Freight Car Brown: TCP-197; lettering all white stencil paste.
Decal set designed and created at Protocraft Decals
Printed by Microscale Industries
Background color shown above is not included in decal sheet