Saturday, November 19, 2022

Waybills, Part 102: More timebook ads

I explained in a previous post that often the timebooks used by train service employees were ones provided free by private printers, who paid for them with the ads they contained. The ads were sometimes directed at the personal life of railroaders (clothing stores, taverns, shoe stores, gas stations), but also were frequently the names of rail-served industries. I suppose these were for business good will. To see that post, use this link: .

In the present post, I want to show a few pages from another Southern Pacific timebook, this one dating from the Coast Division in 1950. I have chosen the pages for their interest in realistic operation, minimizing the ones that are personal in nature. Here are two pages from the front and nearly the back of the book. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)

Here there is really only one somewhat personal ad, the Hotel San Carlos at Monterey. We also have the General Box Co., two ice companies (I like the slogan, “ice never fails” in the National Ice ad, doubtless a swipe at possibly-less-dependable mechanical refrigeration), a vegetable grower at Guadalupe, and a farm machinery dealer. Here are two more pages:

These are especially interesting because of all the packing houses that felt the impulse to advertise to railroaders. And here is a third pair of pages, with some of the ads considerably smaller, but once again, a considerable number of packing houses:

This example happens to include a company that both built pumps, and also sold the pumps of others, doubtless for irrigation purposes. Since I have a company on my layout that builds specialty pumps, moving a few such pumps to the Western Pump Co. in San Jose would be appropriate. Here is how an illustrative waybill might look, drawn from this information.

These ads from vintage timebooks of the locale I model are excellent sources of information for me, but notice also, for all you modelers in faraway places from California, all the packing houses that can be shipping to your own layout’s on-line grocers or other receivers of produce. I have found these booklets not only quite interesting, but also valuable as sources of industry names.

Tony Thompson

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