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If the logistics can be worked out an aluminum casting is a great suggestion. As Joe said, it could even be polished to resemble a chrome finish. Come to think of it, it would make perfect sense that the original might have been made of cast aluminum to begin with, which would have been both economical and practical when the car was originally built.


Hope you're able to get the unit cost down to something near reasonable. And it's also an excellent idea to include a reproduction stamp on the backside of each piece cast.

Hi Passenger Train Collector, I think by now you can see that a poll should be taken to see how many in this Forum would seriously want one. Besides this Forum, I'm sure the Milwaukee Road Historical Association would be another huge source for this emblem. I definitely would want one barring a huge price tag. Do you have a Tech school or University where you live? They might have an art course that could get you started or even do the project for you. Maybe the student could use this as a project for their grade. MilwRdPaul

A laser-cut reproduction from stainless steel plate might actually work but something tells me the cost of the stainless steel plate + finishing might be very pricey due primarily to excessive waste of material. And 1/4" to 3/8" thick stainless steel plate isn't exactly an inexpensive material compared with other metals. So maybe laser-cut aluminum plate might be the way to go.


Clearly the best approach would be to compare the costs of a laser cut repro. to that of a more traditional sand casting using aluminum to see which is less expensive and looks more like the original. And it's also worth keeping in mind a laser-cut version won't look the same as a cast aluminum version.


Of course all of the above comments assume that any reproduction will be the exact same size as the original.

Cast verses laser-cut:

1. An aluminum casting and a laser-cut stainless steel reproduction look very different. Sheet stainless steel comes in at least 7 different finishes none of which resemble genuine cast aluminum. The aluminum casting will have a nice patina and can be polished as desired or left as it comes out of the mold. 


2. The cast aluminum version will visually have a somewhat somewhat 'softer' look. The edges won't appear to be overly sharp - not hard edged - and a well done casting will be a very close approximation of the original. Whatever imperfections are on the original, scratches, blemishes or pit markers, will be transferred to the cast reproduction which I think is desirable.


3. The laser -cut version will look 'machine' made which in reality it is. The edges will be square and absolutely uniform given current laser-cutting technology. The results will certainly approximate the original but lack any surface 'patina' or 'soul' of the original - something like 1938 verses 2012 looks.


4. In the end its all about personal preferences and cost.......

The 3-D printers which are relatively new to the market are fabulous for certain 'tasks', but not the right 'tool' for this job. Overall, the 3-D printer process is quite remarkable but I think the price per unit would be more than anyone is willing to pay for a repro.


There has been a lot of talk about what 3-D printers are capable of doing and not a whole lot of discussion as to the cost per unit which can be an real eye opener. 'Old' technologies like metal laser-cutting and or sand castings techniques are still the most appropriate 'tools' for this project.


I still think an aluminum casting is the best approach.

Originally Posted by Passenger Train Collector:

Eight years ago, I moved my primary residence to Maine. This Hiawatha nose emblem was given to me as a gift from one of my employees. Yesterday, after going through some unopened boxes in the barn, I found this hidden treasure from the past. I am going to have it framed and it will go in a prominent place in my train room.



I also own one of these original and fabulous Hiawatha castings and I too plan to frame it and mount it on my train room wall after I build my train room.  So I will be interested in following how you mount yours inside a frame.  Please keep all of us posted on your results.


Did you know there are actually two versions of this casting that the Milwaukee Road bolted to their passenger cars?  The first version is like yours and mine and has four holes drilled completely through the casting.  It is through these four holes that four bolts were passed to attach it to the outside of a passenger car.  It's my understanding the hole locations while similar on each casting but in fact were unique to each casting and the passenger car on which it was mounted.  As a result, to ensure the Milwaukee Shops could remount each emblem on the same car after a Hiawatha consist was repainted, on the back side of your casting you should find a stamped number, a written number, or both, which indicates the car number of the Hiawatha passenger car from which your casting was removed.  If it's there, with a little work you should be able to locate a photo of the exact Hiawatha car from which your casting was removed and see it actually mounted on that car.    


It's also my understanding that the ability to easily unbolt and remove these casting from the outside of a Hiawatha car became a problem for The Milwaukee Road as vandals regularly stole these castings.  To prevent this from happening, The Milwaukee Shops created the second version of this casting in which the emblem was attached to the outside of the car from the inside'  Specifically, the four holes were not drilled completely through the casting.  Rather, starting on the backside of the casting, the Shops drilled holes only half way through and then taped those holes for bolts.  This second version was then bolted to the outside of the car from the inside.  I understand this procedure was much more time consuming for The Milwaukee Shops but significantly reduced the loss of Hiawatha castings to vandals.     

Lastly, new aluminum castings of this emblem have recently been made.  It's my understanding that several were produced during the restoration of the various Hiawatha passenger cars now being pulled by The Milwaukee Road's famous #261.  I occasionally see some of these new, holeless, and unpolished castings up for sale at the various Railroadiana shows I attend but it's possible that the "Friends of the 261" may also have some extras for sale.  Anyone interested may want to contact them.





Thanks for your very interesting report. Perhaps you did not catch it earlier in this thread but I traced my emblem back to a Sky-Top that has been refurbished and is on display at a museum in Daytona Beach. It is really neat to have this wonderful passenger car available for public inspection.

Several of you expressed interest owning a copy of the brass Hiawatha logo.

For those who might be interested, we were selling these logos at the Milwaukee Trainfest and still have a few in our inventory.

Hiawatha Logo Artwork Stoddarts Ltd Co


These logos look like the original brass logo - and are mounted on an orange and maroon background that is ready to hang from a nail on a wall.  The artwork is large - 15 inches tall by 12 inches wide.  The "brass" portion sticks out from the background by a quarter inch.  The logos are constructed of layers of laser cut wood parts.  Even though they are wood, the painted logo looks convincingly like the actual brass logo - and is probably a lot more affordable ($49) and easier to display than the original metal version.

Unfortunately, the "three-dimensional" railroad logos that we produce (this is one of many) aren't available on our website yet.  (Our website only shows our "3-D" locomotive wall art - which several OGR forum members already own).  So, if you are interested in one of these logos, you can contact us through our website:

Alison Stoddart
Stoddart's Ltd Company


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  • Hiawatha Logo Artwork Stoddarts Ltd Co
Last edited by Stoddarts Ltd

Paul, I have not lost sight of you. I have a friend who is looking into replicating this piece at a reasonable cost. I am not in the sign business but he has connections that may work. It would be nice if this can be produced so that it can be enjoyed by many at a cost that is very affordable. I will let you know as soon as I hear more.


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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