Joe Fischer was perhaps the most prolific custom builder of O scale passenger cars - guesstimated over 1000 cars. I propose we use this thread to share information and photos about Joe's work with those who may not have had the opportunity to meet Joe or see any of his creations.  I wish I could post some photos but my Fischer car collection consists of only one car - and that is currently in Dan Pantera's Calumet Shop for for repainting.

 

Ed Rappe

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

Original Post

Attached are a collation of Joe Fischer cars from Bob Lavezzi and NYSME.  The 1948 Phoebe Snow is one of two sets for the Lackawanna used as promotional models before the actual train was put in service.  To mix it up a bit there is a Bill Wolfer in the pot. I took 80+ shots of these cars in closer detail but would bore the tread to bits.  Here are just full on shots.  

 

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Michael Pitogo 

NYSME - oldest model railroad club in America

"Do, or do not, there is no try" - Master Yoda

Originally Posted by pitogo:

...... I have learned of techniques and details which make a Joe Fisher car identifiable.  

If you have access to the 1948 issues of Model Railroader, you'll find in the Sept. and Oct. issues the pair of articles from Joe Fischer on how he built passenger cars.


There are many mysteries in this universe, big and small. Like, why do clowns make us laugh? Why do we love puppy dogs? And why, why do little blue midgets hit me with fish?

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by mwb:

If you have access to the 1948 issues of Model Railroader, you'll find in the Sept. and Oct. issues the pair of articles from Joe Fischer on how he built passenger cars.

I got out my Sept and Oct 1948 issues of MR but there were no Joe Fischer articles. Then I looked in the Kalmbach online index but it doesn't list any MR articles by Joe Fischer. So I got out the paper indexes for MR and found the articles in the Sept and Oct 1949 issues of MR.

 

I don't have any Joe Fischer cars but I met him once or twice in George Stock's shop in Philadelphia. Joe was bringing some of his cars to George for painting.

 

Larry Kline

Originally Posted by bowestym:
Originally Posted by mwb:

If you have access to the 1948 issues of Model Railroader, you'll find in the Sept. and Oct. issues the pair of articles from Joe Fischer on how he built passenger cars.

I got out my Sept and Oct 1948 issues of MR but there were no Joe Fischer articles. Then I looked in the Kalmbach online index but it doesn't list any MR articles by Joe Fischer. So I got out the paper indexes for MR and found the articles in the Sept and Oct 1949 issues of MR.

 

I don't have any Joe Fischer cars but I met him once or twice in George Stock's shop in Philadelphia. Joe was bringing some of his cars to George for painting.

 

Larry Kline

My typing error; fat finger syndrome...


There are many mysteries in this universe, big and small. Like, why do clowns make us laugh? Why do we love puppy dogs? And why, why do little blue midgets hit me with fish?

 

 

 

 

I don't know if this will work but if you go here on page 60 is a reprint of the article  it uploads slowly on this end and sometimes says error but if you wait its all there,          http--www.oscalemag.com-docs-ost_26.... First time at this hope it works.

Originally Posted by aterry11:

I don't know if this will work but if you go here on page 60 is a reprint of the article  it uploads slowly on this end and sometimes says error but if you wait its all there,          http--www.oscalemag.com-docs-ost_26.... First time at this hope it works.

I got out my paper copy and compared it with the MR articles. The O Scale Trains article is a reprint from the Model Railroad Handbook edited by Al Kalmbach amd published in 1951 by Fawcett. It is a shortened version of the articles in the Sept and Oct 1949 issues of Model Railroader with the addition of some nice color photos of Fischer cars owned by Brian Scace. Some of the drawings in the MR articles are not included in the O Scale Trains reprint of the Model Railroad Handbook article.

 

Larry Kline

 

Here are a few photos of the  Keystone Banks. I apologize for my modest ability to take good pictures of the car. If there are any other particular Fischer cars which someone might like to see pictures of , please let me know.He was a prolific artist. Best wishes, LarryIMG_0948

 

 

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Lookin good Larry,  you going to Chicago?  Bob Anson

 

Here are a few photos of the  Keystone Banks. I apologize for my modest ability to take good pictures of the car. If there are any other particular Fischer cars which someone might like to see pictures of , please let me know.He was a prolific artist. Best wishes, LarryIMG_0948

 

 

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Larry

 

Thanks for posting the photo of Keystone Banks.  It looks fantastic!  I've heard over the years Joe built several of them.  Perhaps one will appear on eBay some day. It's a must have car for modeling The Pittsburgher  If you know of of one for sale, please email me.  My contact info is available by clicking my OGR photo.

 

Ed Rappe

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

I see that it did, but I bet it's mostly due to the relative rarity of such models. I'd enjoying having one on my workbench to carefully inspect....there is nothing like the workmanship of a master modeler. I appreciate that Ed Rappe has started a few threads recently to highlight the existence of such quality models...so much of what we see here is the common everyday rolling stock. Great to learn and see more of what was built by the very few who were committed to exceptional craftsmanship.

I am following the thread...hoping for additional conversation.

 

Bob

A little off topic, but I noted a few comments about George Stock in this thread.  I have three of his HO GG1s including one in kit form complete.  Pretty decent models for that era of HO trains. 

 

I'd love to see more of these cars.  They are all excellent models!

Jonathan

 

It would be a shame to let this small appreciation of Joe pass into the ethers. Did you know for example that he did most of his work with only one eye? Really. His depth of field does not seem to have been affected. Along the same lines have any of you heard of Lefty Gateman? He was from florida and was an incredible modeler. He build O Scale  passenger cars from Walthers kits. Guess why he was called Lefty=If you are frustrated some night trying to put some passengers in a car or a coffee pot on a scale table, think how you might do it with one arm. Lefty did it for years. Larry

Yes, I knew Lefty Gateman and am privilaged to have a set of L&N cars he built. He was a good friend of Bill Lenoir and it was Bill whom I accompanied on a visit to Lefty's home in Deland, FL one time. Later, I was able to buy the L&N train from a man in Tampa that had bought it from Lefty. The interiors are incredible although he "improvised" somewhat. For instance, the observation car has a color TV in it. I don't dare change it though since it was Lefty's work. The diner was featured in a Walthers O Scale catalog many years ago.

-Jim Herron

Gateman-'Camp-Blanding'-EXT

L&N-Gateman-Diner-int-www

Gateman-ALA-INT-2-www

Gateman-ALA-INT-3-www

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there are some Lefty Gateman cars for sale at Allegheny scale models sure wish I could afford them, more pictures and I'll just have to copy and build my own. Look at the floor in the compartment area wonder what he used? If anyone has more pictures please post them I beg of you. I cant copy  or emulate what I've never seen. on the L&N cars are the side walls that thick or is that a stiffener strip for the removeable roof I keep forgetting hallways are only 27" wide so in scale that's ahalf inch or so. super thanks for posting pics please post more

Lefty,s interiors are fabulous - A few steps above that in my Joe Fischer car.   Where Joe Fischer's cars stand out over one built up using Walthers sides is the correct to prototype side details like built up riveted belt rail, window cross section, lap plates' and and correct to prototype rivet arrangement.  Both gentlemen were masters of the art. Thanks for posting the photos of Lefty's work.  

 

Ed Rappe

 

 

 

'd say 

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

Mr sokes I would die to see pics of Union League club interior too if at all possible. I have been attempting to master Joes construction technics but having problems with getting the rivet alignment parallel on the lap plates got the belt rail figured out but short of raping 3 elgin watches of a certain gear and fusing them together I have been unsuccessful at lineing up the outside rivets . also does any one know if Joe used an inside curve wood carving chisel to get the radius all the same on streamlined cars like Keystone Banks  I'll post no pics until I'm not truly embarrassed. I will lick this easier with some help though 

Hi aterry-I will try and take some photos of the Union League Club. The shots of the interiors will have to be taken through the windows probably unless I can figure an easy way to take the car apart with some likelihood that I can figure out how to put it back together. It may be as easy as just loosening a screw or two which might sound pretty basic to most -but trust me, I will find a way to screw it up. Best wishes, Larry

MR sokes  Thank you for the offer but please don't risk ruining the car far too valuable just for my education. thanks again If your really ambitious you could just shoot pics of them all. I would drool all over the keyboard as well as others on this forum and others, I'll betch  ya!

Here is a photo of my only Joe Fisher passenger car - an 8 section 5 double bedroom sleeper.  Hopefully it won't be my last.  I bought it from Mike Hill several years ago at the Chicago show.  The  attraction of the model to me was that it is of a heavyweight sleeper rebuilt in a mid 1930's program in which they removed one of the vestibules creating an unusual look.  Following WWII the PRR purchased Clover Prairie and repainted it in the standard postwar Pennsy scheme.   The model is at Dan Pantera's Calumet Shops for exterior repaint to 3 stripe Tuscan red - just like the prototype making the appearance appropriate for my 1952 era railroad. When finished it will reflect the craftsmanship of two masters of O scale passenger car art.

 

Ed Rappe

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Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

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Originally Posted by Keystoned Ed:

Joe Fischer was perhaps the most prolific custom builder of O scale passenger cars - guesstimated over 1000 cars. I propose we use this thread to share information and photos about Joe's work with those who may not have had the opportunity to meet Joe or see any of his creations.  I wish I could post some photos but my Fischer car collection consists of only one car - and that is currently in Dan Pantera's Calumet Shop for for repainting.

 

Ed Rappe

 

Hello Keystone Ed! I am Joe Fischer's daughter....one of the 3 (middle) Dorothy. I just happened to come upon this site searching for anything on my Dad. It's amazing what I've read on here. Brings tears to my eyes. I am the only one in my family that has one of his cars. I would like to hear more about Dad that I don't know. He was a very private man and humble. I miss him sooo much!

Originally Posted by sokes:

It would be a shame to let this small appreciation of Joe pass into the ethers. Did you know for example that he did most of his work with only one eye? Really. His depth of field does not seem to have been affected. Along the same lines have any of you heard of Lefty Gateman? He was from florida and was an incredible modeler. He build O Scale  passenger cars from Walthers kits. Guess why he was called Lefty=If you are frustrated some night trying to put some passengers in a car or a coffee pot on a scale table, think how you might do it with one arm. Lefty did it for years. Larry

 

Hi Soakes! I am Joe Fischers' daughter...middle child Dorothy. You are correct about his eyesight. He had glaucoma and that was the cause of loss. He gave up his driving license and I became his chauffer.    BUT he refused to let that effect his work. He worked all day/night 7 days right up until he had his massive stroke. I appreciate all the love that I have found here. Much love to all of his admirers' 

I can't do that right now....it's packed in a safe place. But I will definitely try to in the next few days. It's a Pullman baggage/coach...only have it because it was Dad's personal car and my boyfriend contracted him to build my dream observation car but wasn't done in time for Christmas so my bf put his car under the Christmas tree for ransom! P.S....never got my obs car...

Dorothy, thank-you so much for your note. It means a lot to me that you picked up the forum and took the time to write. Your grandfather's art is cherished by many modelers across the country. His cars are prized as the finest hand made models in any scale. I am still working but have dreamed of writing a biography of Joe. My best guess is that there are about a dozen guys left in the scale who actually knew him. I am in touch with most of them and we always end up talking about Fischer cars. One of our favorite debates is guessing how many cars he made during his lifetime. I think the consensus is that he built about 2500. cars. I hope we can stay in touch and that you will continue to participate in the forum. Best wishes, Larry

Dorothy, thank-you so much for your note. It means a lot to me that you picked up the forum and took the time to write. Your grandfather's art is cherished by many modelers across the country. His cars are prized as the finest hand made models in any scale. I am still working but have dreamed of writing a biography of Joe. My best guess is that there are about a dozen guys left in the scale who actually knew him. I am in touch with most of them and we always end up talking about Fischer cars. One of our favorite debates is guessing how many cars he made during his lifetime. I think the consensus is that he built about 2500. cars. I hope we can stay in touch and that you will continue to participate in the forum. Best wishes, Larry

Oops, I just read your first posting and have put you a generation back-daughter not granddaughter. This is great news as you likely have a great many wonderful memories of Joe. One of the things I have often heard is the modesty of his work space-amazing again that such superb art could come from such simple beginnings. 

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Erik C Lindgren
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