Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Distler vs. Nomura - Part 1

There's nothing like first-hand research.

I've written before about how closely the Distler passenger train set imported by Cragstan from West Germany in the late 1950s resembled the Nomura passenger train set imported by Cragstan from Japan in the early 1960s.  (see: Japanese Litho Train Sets, Part 3)

My theory was that Cragstan had ordered the set from Distler, then switched suppliers to Nomura, taking the stampers and designs with them.

After obtaining a Distler passenger set, I revised that theory -- especially after I compared the two sets side by side.

Distler passenger car (top) and Nomura passenger car (bottom)
Comparing passenger cars from the two companies, I found them virtually identical. The Distler graphics more closely resemble European prototypes, but the frames, bodies, trucks and couplers were the same.

There were two primary differences. Distler's couplers held the cars closer together than Nomura's. And their track had a wider radius. But even with that gentler curve, Distler's cars still almost touched each other.

So far, the contrasts were interesting, but not particularly meaningful. 

But further research (thanks to the discovery of the German website Spur00.de) revealed that Distler also used these same basic designs for some European sets offered at the same time. Since only the one passenger set was imported by Cragstan, it seemed unlikely that the stampers and designs originated with the American importer. 

Then I looked at the locomotives, which I'll cover in Part 2.

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