Putnam & Stowe – the first domestic manufacturer

Updated 13-02-2015

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Putnam & Stowe bravely announced their intentions of making brass On2 models domestically within the US with the advert below placed in the November/December 1983 edition of the NG&SL Gazette. The models offered represented a rebuilt version the smallest Hinkley made locomotive (original weight 12 tons) used on the Maine Two Footers and had a good specification consisting of driver centres supplied by Grandt Line, gears and a Sagami can motor from NWSL and detail parts from Portland Products and Precision Scale Models.

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This was followed in the January/February and March/April 1984 editions with the following advert which shows the part built Forney loco;-

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The announcement of loco’s for sale was posted in the July/August 1984 edition of the NG&SL Gazette, with artwork that mirrored the box ends;-

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The final advert posted in the NG&SL Gazette was the September/October 1984 edition, which featured a picture of a finished locomotive;-

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Note that the models finally offered were sold as Sandy River #1 and Sandy River #2. The model detailing represents these locomotives around the 1900 time period.

The story of Putnam & Stowe is interesting, but the venture was not successful. The models quickly suffered from a reputation for “variable build quality”, which hit sales. A number of these models have been re-built by skilled modellers, such as Chester Louis.

To see more of Chester Louis’s rebuild.

To see more of the Sandy River #1 model.

To see more of the Sandy River #2 model.

Added 13-02-2015;-

Maynard Stowe, Proprietor of Putnam & Stowe and still very much a model railroader and prototype 2 foot fan has been in touch and provided further information;-

The name Putnam & Stowe came from Maynard’s immediate family, and was suggested by Bob Werner of The Hobby Barn and Portland Products as having a very “New Englandy” sound.

Maynard continues; pretty much all the suppliers were generous to work with, and I learned a lot about making a low volume production line work which I put to use in a business that I ran with my brother until I sold it and retired in 2008.

The Sandy River On2 engines were a sort of collaboration with Bob Werner through some of his resources. Russ Briggs did the drawings for the photo etching for the boiler, cab and rear tank, and Bob did the detail parts for the domes, running boards, steam ejector for the brakes, rear truck, cylinders, connecting rods and cross heads.

Cliff Grandt cast the drivers and another contractor on the west coast did the tires, insulation and wheel assembly, shipping them to me ready to go. I did the frames, pilot deck, toolbox and some other parts. The square headlight used on the SRR #1 was an Sn3 part from Tomalco, and the bell might have been from The Backshop or PSC.

The cab roof was built up using 3 slightly different sized etchings with the center vent square used as the locating feature. The pagoda curve was done in a maple wood form made by my brother and getting the 3 pieces soldered together involved a lot of clamping and learning not to release the clamps until the parts were comfortably cool.

I don’t really have any records of how many of the SRR #1 or #2 locomotives were produced, but I know that there were more #1’s (about 35 to 40 engines) than #2’s (maybe 20- 25 engines).

As for the kits:  They were made from the left over parts that were not built into the run. I had total parts for around 100 engines. When I got out of the building business, I sold all the remaining engines and several collections I had picked up to Armand Mazzetti of The Caboose in Walcott, Connecticut. Armand was one of the major brass model dealers in the US with a world wide clientele, and he suggested that I turn the remaining castings and etchings and motors/gearboxes into kits. I did and made about twenty of them before I ran out of parts. All the kits were sold by Armand at train shows and out of his shop.

and here is a picture of one of the kits;-

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Putnam & Stowe – Sandy River locomotive #2

Updated 22-02-2015.

This model generally requires a 26″ minimum radius for satisfactory operation.

The picture below shows Putnam & Stowe SR #2 model, fitted with a straight stack and round headlight.

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Brief prototype locomotive notes

The prototype locomotive was built by Hinkley in 1877 as their works #1261 for the Billerica & Bedford Railroad “Puck” as a strict cab forward Forney design, and also served as;-

Sandy River #2 Echo (1879 – 1890) rebuilt as a conventional boiler first locomotive.

Phillips & Rangeley #2 Bo Peep (1890 – 1893)

Phillips & Rangeley #4 Bo Peep (1893 – 1908)

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #4 (1908 – 1912).

For more information about the prototype locomotive, click here.