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 Post subject: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2525
Location: S.F. Bay Area
I am trying to identify paint on a 1926 NYC coach. It appears the seating area first layer (under the advertising holders) is a rather saturated almost jade green, like modern aircraft primer. Subsequent coats were typical off-white pastels, this one slightly salmon-yellow.

Am I misreading the paint evidence? Colors that strong would drive me batty as a rider.

Also it looks like the vestibules were painted a very dark Pullman green. Does that seem normal for the age?


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 693
Location: Philadelphia Pa
Since most steel cars of the late teens to early 20's were replacing wood cars, I've noticed that interiors, though steel, we're painted to look like finished wood "antiquing" when they rolled out the door. From then on, any time a car was refurbished, it was probably painted the popular colors of the time....some of the colors you describe sound very 1950/1960 ish.

The vestibule color is probably what the entire car was painted at one time...it just didn't get faded by the sun as much.

Just my $.02


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:56 am
Posts: 370
Location: Northern California
Many cars of that era had ceiling painted Niles green. I always though of it as a yellow green color, but Glenn warned me that many ceilings used arsenic based pigment paints. In that case I would have expected a blue green color. These ceilings looked very good with gold leaf stripping. Most were repainted to yellow or cream to improve lighting in the cars.


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 559
Location: Scottsboro, AL
A useful resource on NYC coaches of that era can be found here:

https://nycshs.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/nycheavyweightcoacharticle.pdf

I did not see a reference to interior finishing but dark green would be correct for the exterior.

We haven't investigated our NYC (P&LE) car yet but our CNJ coaches had interior mahogany finish later covered with paint, generally with a strong green, or in at least one case, blue. Subsequent repaints were lighter colors; a lot of stripping is involved to get back to the original varnish.

- Alan Maples
Everett Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:44 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2525
Location: S.F. Bay Area
junior wrote:
Since most steel cars of the late teens to early 20's were replacing wood cars, I've noticed that interiors, though steel, we're painted to look like finished wood "antiquing" when they rolled out the door. From then on, any time a car was refurbished, it was probably painted the popular colors of the time....some of the colors you describe sound very 1950/1960 ish.


It's true. This car has all the routed wood trim you would expect on a wooden car except all of it is steel. They literally made wood trim out of stamped steel. The car is simply magnificent, and it's just a commuter coach.

I haven't seen anything from sanding that would look like fake wood patterning.

Indeed, more sanding turned up that the green paint is only on the doors and a couple of trim pieces inside the car body. It was definitely done as an accent. Further sanding revealed that the first coats of paint were in fact a yellowish off-white. I think it will look very handsome with the green.


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:35 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3369
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
One thing to keep in mind is that railroad car interiors, to a certain extent, reflected house and commercial structure interiors in things like this. Recall how car interiors in the wooden car era were in styles such as Eastlake at the same times such styles were popular in homes.

The use of greens and other colors reflects the Arts and Crafts era.

https://artsandcraftshomes.com/interior ... afts-homes

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/ef/d7/1f/efd7 ... 4b9dd0.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/americanv ... 6542320982


One other thing to keep in mind, the available pigments or other materials to produce "white" were not as bright as modern counterparts. A lot of times what was called out as "white" in older schemes would look like an off white or antique white today.

P.S.--I've taken a liking to those houses.

https://artsandcraftshomes.com/house-st ... e-bungalow

http://www.pauquetteadoption.org/arts-a ... interiors/


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:55 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:32 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Altadena, CA
Jade green was very popular in the '20s.

Here's an interior house paint color chart that Sherwin Williams put together about 10 years ago showing some popular '20s colors:

https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-collection/historic-collection/interior-historic-colors/the-jazz-age

Here's an original 1926 Sears color chart: https://www.flickr.com/photos/daily-bungalow/albums/72157615859080933


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2525
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Turns out the Hale & Kilburn seat frames are also green, as are the wall panels where the seat meets the wa!l.

The seats are quite sophisticated, definitely a later model, with stamped steel seat cushions and finely cast walkover components. Also they are 3-2 seating and I am always suspicious that 3-2 seats are not original.


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2223
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
NYC clerestory roof MU cars had 3-2 seating (rattan). If you're working on one of them, it's original.

Howard P.

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1554
Location: Southern California
Can construction specifications be found for the cars? If so, these may identify the colors.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 993
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania recently had a professional paint analysis done of the interior of Pennsylvania Railroad P-70 coach No. 1006. More that 40 colors were found in various places in this 1928 Standard Steel Product. The colors ranged from dark brown to cream, along with varied shades of green and red. There is evidence that the car had wood graining on some surfaces at some point, perhaps as accents to other colors.

The museum also has PRR color charts showing the placement of various colors within the car, including accent striping. There were also different color combinations depending on the color of the seat coverings. The earliest color charts were quite elaborate, but they became less so as the years progressed.

These findings, along with color samples will eventually be prepared for publication.


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2525
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Howard P. wrote:
NYC clerestory roof MU cars had 3-2 seating (rattan). If you're working on one of them, it's original.

Really! I presumed 3-2 seating was always a retrofit, done to add more seats after the fact. This car is proving to be more and more of a gem. To think people rode home from Black Tuesday or V-E Day in those same seats.

Back to the topic of steelwork done to resemble woodwork, here's a fair bunch of it in this photo. Note the panel above the door to the left, which has the arched shape the photo barely suggests.


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 Post subject: Re: 1920s coach interiors - were they richly colored?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2223
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
NYC MUs: "Barrel Door Cars", based on the shape of the center door at each end- the curved "bump-out" to fit over the control stand when door was open for passing through the cars.

I miss those old battleships.

Howard P.

_________________
"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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