Refrigerator cars in Northfork
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Sat Nov 14 21:48:13 EST 2020
I noticed some questions about billboard refrigerator cars in posts from a week or so ago. I thought I remembered reading about billboard reefers and found a reference.
According to the Jeff Wilson book "Produce Traffic and Trains" published by Kalmbach in 2018:
" From the 1910's into the 1930s, refrigerator car owners often painted cars in bright, colorful schemes with bold lettering and logos advertising a number of products, from meat to dairy and beverages.
In 1934 the Interstate Commerce Commission released a ruling on these cars that is often referred to as "banning billboard reefers", but this is really incorrect. What the ICC ruling was actually about was rebates from a car lessor to a lessee. The key part for paint schemes was that large billboard schemes amounted to an illegal rebate to a lessee. Following the ruling, no new such schemes could be applied, and in 1937 these cars could no longer be accepted for interchange.
The bottom line was that reefers could not carry logos and lettering not belonging to the owner; cars leased to a single shipper could have the shipper's name and emblem but could not advertise specific products"
An example of an "outlawed" billboard reefer from the referenced book shows a North Western Refrigerator Line car built in 1928 that has North Western lettering and logo on the car, along with a "billboard" for J.T. Enterline & Son, Eagle Brand, Poultry and Eggs, Eagle Grove, Iowa.
After the 1930's, colorful paint schemes were still applied to private company refrigerator cars and these were around for decades (such as the red Swift reefers Jim Nichols remembers seeing), but the "billboard" advertising of the 1910s to 1930s was no longer allowed.
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