Tasha Oates updated January 5, 2012

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  • Mother Hubbard

    Prototype Modeler - October 1978 - Page 2

    In the early 1900's, the slender boilers and wide fireboxes of the locomotives on the roads that burned Anthracite coal caused steam locomotive cabs to be mounted ahead of the firebox, in the middle straddling the boiler. The resulting awkward appearance, rather like an old-fashioned bonnet (hence the affectionate name Mother Hubbard), made for an engine that only a mother would love. But love them they did in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and southern New York. One reason was the profoundly respectable performance turned in every day by machines like Philadelphia & Reading 302, wheeling the clockers out of the great arch train shed in William Penn's city toward Jersey Central's ferry terminal near the Statue of Liberty --- or barreling 100 m.p.h. through Jersey flatland suburbs toward Atlantic City. International Models imported a rather bare 0 scale brass model about 1951; this one was extensively rebuilt from a "basket-case" by Jeff Freeman for William Findley, both of Philadelphia. Findley's father fired the prototype 302. Headlight, bell, pump, lead truck, and most other details were replaced and the engine was repiped. Valve gear was made more authentic. Full Backhead was scratch built with two fire doors. The tender was also rebuilt with coal boards and other new parts. The road name lettering for the classic World War I era was not commercially available so Freemen pieced together the letters from several sources to get the correct style for about 1911.

    Photo by Jeff Freeman

    Article Details

    • Original Author Jeff Freeman
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date October 1978

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