Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

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Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by JohnK » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:09 pm


I wanted to share a sneak peek into some of the goings-on at Friends Models' new location.

Richard and Cap.jpg

Above are Richard Symmes and Cap Purinton this morning here at Friends-. The name Richard Symmes may be familiar to you. He is a co-editor of the early Live Steam history book by Charlie Purinton. And Cap Purinton is Charlie's son; Carl's grandson. Each week, they help me to unpack, sort, archive, etc. the extensive collection of historical small scale materials that are here. The old "Yankee Shop" and Friends Models line is here; as are most of the H.J. Coventry designs; and, thanks to Cap we have begun housing much of the famous Purinton collection of designs and materials from the 1930s and beyond. All of these designs have been preserved, are safe, are being properly catalogued, are being repaired/upgraded for modern foundry production, and are being returned to market after decades of being practically forgotten about. Most of what's here hasn't been seen in 40 years. And much of it, has been "unseen" for longer than that!

I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported me since I started. It has not been inexpensive to purchase a couple dozen obsolete designs from defunct suppliers 40 and 50 years since the designs were last produced, resurrect them from oblivion, and produce them.....and to do so for a such a tiny potential market. But, preservation of these designs, in my mind, had to be done.

And it has not been easy for me, to be a supplier.....'til now. (It's getting easier!). In retrospect, I opened the business too early.....ten years ago I had one, and then soon after TWO children in my care full time during the days; then I worked my full time job all night every night, and on top of that I tried selling castings on the side from a location that wasn't meant for it. At my old location, it was simply too small to do what I was trying to do. This stuff takes up a lot of space.

Now, the kids are bigger, I work days (no more all-nighters), we have ample space, I have dedicated friends helping me out each week, and I'm able to get these designs back online....finally. Thank you all, for sticking with me. Rescuing this stuff from oblivion and producing it has been a dream of mine since I was about 19 years old. The background work and all the prep, was all done when I was in my 20s and early 30s. I opened Friends when in my mid-30s. I'm now darn close to 50. What I've always wanted "Friends Models" to be, is coming together after decades of dreaming it and working toward it. I am so grateful to all of you for your patience, and your purchases, and your well-wishes online and in private, as things fell into place on my end.

That said.....

In the photo above, behind Richard are some of the 3/4" scale patterns. Behind Cap are some of the blueprint cabinets.

Take a close look at Cap and you'll see that in this photo he looks very much like his grandfather.

When the place is sorted and organized and suitable for guests, I will announce an open house for anyone who'd like to visit.

To my customers....once again.....a sincere "thank you" for helping make it all possible.

And to you, and to all others.....stay tuned on Lots of surprises coming.

Thank you,
-John K.

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by NP317 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:54 pm

Thank you for your considerable efforts to preserve this part of Live Steam Modeling!

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by SteveM » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:20 pm

Where is the "Like" button?

Thanks for all you are doing for the hobby.


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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by rwmorris » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:38 am

Simply Awesome....

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by JohnK » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:09 pm

Thank you for the thank-yous, the likes, and the awesomes.

Here is another tidbit from Friends:

Lester with his Atlantic.png

This is Lester Friend, in his home shop, with his nearly-completed 1" scale Atlantic, circa late 1940s or early 1950s. It's a Southern Pacific 3000-series style. I think that because 1" scale was becoming popular, and because Little Engines was offering its Southern Pacific 1" scale Atlantic, Lester wanted to offer his own version. It has Baker Valve gear, which was Lester's favorite.

Lester was a pipe smoker all his life, and you can see that he's even got his pipe in his mouth in the above photo.

Now....below is me with Lester's Atlantic. The same actual engine. It was for sale a number of years ago, so I bought it in order to get it back "home".

John with Lester's Atlantic.jpg

Please note that that is Lester's actual pipe in my hand. Yes, when I bought Yankee Shop, it came with Lester's pipe!

Here (below) is Richard Symmes doing his best Lester Friend imitation, holding up one of the cylinder castings to the one on the engine. Note Lester's pipe! Obviously staged, this shot is interesting because I don't think Richard has ever smoked anything a day in his life. Seeing him with a pipe in his mouth, is like seeing him with a cell phone. Either is about as rare as seeing an eyebrow on an egg.

Richard with Lester's Atlantic.jpg

In the past I have offered limited sets of castings for this loco, cylinders, wheels, etc. for a couple of builders. Watch for the full set to be available at some point sooner rather than later.

Anyway, this and more are what live at Friends Models, and I thank you guys again for sticking around for it.

-John K.

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by WJH » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:59 pm

Looks really nice!

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by Steve Bratina » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:11 am

Would you letter the tender as Friends Models and bring her around to the shows for a run. I recall seeing old movies of a similar Atlantic at Southwick in the 1950's lettered up Little Engines RR. I wonder if it was doing the circuit drumming up some interest in the Little Engines line?

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by JohnK » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:51 am

WJH: thank you!

Steve: that's an awesome idea and something like that has been in my long term plans for 25 years (not that engine specifically, but "in general") but I'm not ready for it yet. Right now the goal is unpacking from the move, properly storing everything, & getting a couple more of these designs produced & on the market again. I literally have 80 years' worth of historical "stuff".....patterns, castings, drawings, vellums, artifacts, etc. from defunct suppliers taking up many percent of my space. Without R. Symmes' and Cap Purinton's help, I'd never be able to sort through this in a timely fashion. I have a "Raritan" to finish, too. Add that to "things on the burner".

As soon as the material is sorted and stored properly, I will announce an open house for anyone local who'd like to stop by, to do so.

If anyone not from the area wants to visit, give me prior notice please, and when your travels bring you to, or near, eastern Massachusetts, you're welcome to stop in as well.

We had an impromptu gathering for my friends in the North East Live Steamers a few days before Christmas, and 8 people showed up on basically zero notice and stayed for 2 hours "chin wagging" and having coffee, looking over the "stuff", etc. It felt a little bit like the meetings at Charlie Purinton's shop used to feel like.

Everyone walked away pleased with the social aspect of it, and "pleasantly overwhelmed" at what we have done at the shop thus far. More of these gatherings will take place in the future.

Thank you again, all of you, for your patience and your past support.

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by B&OBob » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:04 pm

Congratulations, John, on your progress making the means to build those old time live steam locomotives available again!
I still remember the summer day in 1937 or-38, when Mr. Purinton visited us in Brookline, PA. (I refer to Mr. Purinton" because that's what I called him back then then when I was 10 years old.) We had our 32 ft. diameter loop of 2.5" gauge track then and enjoyed an afternoon of steaming. Those were the days!

I still have my father's B&O P-7, built from Coventry castings in 1929, and my own B&O B-18 -- started in 1945 and finished in 1979. (Did someone say something about speeding-up construction?)

John, I wish you, and everyone helping you, continued success in your venture.

Bob Thomas (B&O Bob)

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by uncle jerd » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:20 am

Thank you so much for what you have done!

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by FKreider » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:26 am

Hi John, I can only imagine what a massive undertaking it is to organize all of those old designs/drawings/patterns. I have a special interest in patterns and the art of making them so I look forward to your open house, hopefully we can shake hands and have a chat!

-Frank K.
-Frank K.

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Re: Sneak Peek into Friends Models' new location!

Post by JohnK » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:59 pm

Thank you B & O Bob (check your private messaging), you're welcome Uncle Jerd, and yes Frank K.

Yes, sorting/organizing the patterns and other "stuff" is an undertaking. It is utterly fulfilling/relaxing however to sort, catalog, prepare to produce, produce, and generally un-screw-up these artifacts as I form sort of a "museum" of early live steam history . But I'll tell a story though, about the nuttiness of acquiring 1 particular design......

One of the long-lost designs, which had been off the market for decades, was thought to be lost. For all intents and purposes, it was.

I made inquiries about it for a few years, and hints and clues came in, as to where it might be. Phone calls and faxes were sent, letters mailed, etc. and bit by bit I started solving pieces of the puzzle. Ultimately, I bought out 4 individuals who had these materials. Each had so much "stuff" to sell, castings, affiliated "stuff" etc. that shipping was not I drove to these places to pick up truckloads of this stuff in person. It took 2 trips across the country, and 1 trip to the east yet still 100s of miles away from me, to get just this one design back under 1 roof.

Most of the double-shrink master patterns were out west. The inked original drawings, and more of the patterns, were in another state in the west. Most of the single-shrink patterns were back east. The coreboxes, and several patterns, were missing. I had my patternmaker replace those and I started producing castings.

Years later, on another trip about 1/3 of the continent away, I bought out an individual who had all the "stuff" from another defunct supplier, and this individual, who had NO relation to or knowledge of the other individuals from whom I had bought the other portions of this 1 particular design, had the missing patterns and coreboxes for it. The ones I had replaced. Yes, those ones. He had the originals that were "missing". Of course I bought them from him, and put it with the other materials for it, back at the shop here.

So.....1 design.....considered "lost" by all the guys I talked to at the track in the 1980s and 1990s, was scattered across 4 locations across the country. And none of the individuals who had this stuff, knew where the rest of it was or who the other people were. It's now all under one roof again, safe, & never to be scattered across the country ever again. That one design, took 10 years and thou$and$ to reunite it with itself.

That's probably the worst case, but most other designs were all over Hellandback as well. All of them could be mine....for a price. Rather than let them be lost/forgotten about/scattered all over the place & never to be produced again, I bought them. Somehow, across more than 10 years, I was able to find, and buy, several historical old designs from "yesteryear" and give them a home here.

The spark that caused the desire to do this, was lit underneath my butt when I was about 19. I'm now 46. That's a long time. Thanks for your belief in me, and for sticking around for this dream of mine to come true. Somewhere on this board there's talk of a "decline" in live steam. I'm not participating in any keep your eyes on my website please, and please, if these designs interest you, or if you're intrigued about "the old days" of the 1930s and 40s, support my efforts. It took decades and tens of thousands of dollars just to acquire this stuff. Just to acquire it. I'm not even talking about fixing up junk patterns, or producing castings. That's extra. Just to get it under 1 roof so that it was saved from scrap or indifference, cost a fortune. Producing it cost thousands more.

Everything I sell is sand cast the old fashioned way in New England, USA....just so I can offer you the same parts, and the same experience of opening a box of castings from H.J. Coventry or Laverne Langworthy or Lester Friend, that the pioneers were getting when THEY sent away for castings back in "the good old days".

Thank you all for your interest and support and again, my deepest thanks to those of you who have supported me since Day 1 with either your purchases or other assistance....technical, moral, speaking good words on my behalf, etc....whatever form the assistance took! I wanted the "good old days" to be "right now", and I do hope I have accomplished this in part, and I am working on achieving it "in full". Decline in live steam? Not here! Thank you all.

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