Choosing And Naming Industries.(Advanced)

Discussion in 'Trackside Photos & Details' started by brakie, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Choosing and naming industries is as important as choosing a road name.
    The first basic questions we should ask our selves is:
    A.Where is our railroad located?
    You see the types of industries we choose should be the type we find in the area that we are modeling.If our railroad serves (say) Iowa then we should have several grain elevators.However,if we model a coal producing state then of course we should have several coal mines.If we model a industrial state then of course we should have various industries that is INDEPENDENT of each other and not dependent on each other of course there are some exceptions such as a logging railroad or a iron ore carrier from mines to lake dock.

    B.What industry building fits our needs?
    Thankfully we are blessed with several types of industry building kits or we can roll our own from kit bashing or using modular sections from DPM and Walthers.We can choose a building that fits our need to include the"background" buildings from Walthers.However..The building must fit the type of industry we are modeling..We wouldn't want to use a grain elevator for a cement plant.
    C. Choosing a name.
    The choosing of a name must fit the building again a grain elevator isn't a cement plant.
    The name could fit the area that its located in-Great Lake Steel,Ohio Valley Steel,Mid Ohio Plastics and even Tri-State Grocers Distribution..Then we could go with regular local industry names such as North American Knitting,A.J. Wilson Manufacturing Corp etc.Then we can use the bigger corporations such as ADM,Pillsbury, Allied Chemical etc..Cutsy pie names should be avoided for layout believability.
    D. Freelancing local industries.
    This is the more fun but,difficult task..We must choose our freelance local industries wisely.First again where is the railroad located? What towns does it run through? What is the area sered? Is it farm? Industrial? Heavy industrial? How do we find this information? That might be the easiest part if you have a large library that has phone books from other cities.You see the yellow pages will reveal a lot of local industrial information.This same information can be found on line as well.Or if close enough a Sunday drive through the area being modeled or perhaps a vacation in the area we plan on modeling..Take a pen and note book and record the types of industries and those served by rail either past or present as well as those that are not.
    Now of course we don't know if Hubbard Lumber is rail served or not but,in freelancing its the name we are after.Again avoid cutesy pie names and stick to believable industrial names.After all sooner or later the cutesy pie name will loose its humor.
    Just for fun:
    Choose a industry and name for this building..

    I will show the names I chosed later...
    Please join in.
  2. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    N.M.E. Logistics
  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Northstar Transport Systems
  4. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    It's funny that you posted this today, Larry.

    Just last night I was beating myself up trying to come up with a name for my next industry. I'm buying the Walther's Walton & Sons Lumber Co. structure, and I didn't want to call it "Enter Family Name Here Lumber"...which seems to be the default for such a business.

    You've definitely given me something to think about.
  5. Illus

    Illus Member

    It seems that most of the gigantic warehouses that have popped up in my area in the last decade hace the word 'Logistics' strapped to them, but this building is weathered past the 10 year mark in my eye, so it's an 'enterprises' or 'distribution' kinda place. Also from what little background I can see in the picture I see that it's in an industrial area, and I also decided it is on the waterfront. So I'll call it,

    Freeport Enterprises or Hanson Distribution

    It's funny that you should say "insert family name here" 2-8-2, because my folks actually own "Thunder Bay Enterprises", and my brother is a founding member of the "Williamston Theatre" (stage, not movies), and my father-in-law has a side business called "Phase One Electric". Everyone wants to know where their business is going on my layout!!! Too bad I am doing Coal and Gravel...
  6. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Consolidated Logistical Solutions Inc.

    That building Can't get any more Generic than that one, wow! :eek: That's why I model the transition era, plent 'o Character to be found there! ;)
  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Agreed. :thumb:
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well the same principles on choosing and naming a industry applies to all eras.Of course a lot of brick buildings will be used in the by gone eras..
    The one thing I like about the modern era is the variety of industrial buildings from old brick buildings to newer sheet metal buildings.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I was going to add era to your list of criteria for naming, and for choosing. In steam days, even into transition, there was likely to be a lot more choice for industries. They were also smaller, and (often) more literally named.

    For example, every small/rural town in Ontario up to about WW2 had a coal/fuel dealer. They probably had a mill of some sort. They had a business that catered to the farm - a co-op or feed mill or grain elevator. They had a team track for shipping seasonal goods or receiving "once in a while" items like tractors. They might have a milk depot or a cold storage for perishables, depending on the crops grown nearby.

    Larger towns (although still not large by "today's standards") might have some sort of factory producing household goods, or machinery, lumber, or furniture for example.

    In "those days" a lot more shipping was done by rail than by truck, so the choices are wider.

    Naming conventions, especially in smaller towns, would be relatively straightforward. A family name combined with the business activity - Hamer Heating & Coal, Norton Bros Farm Supply, Mitchell Elevator. Often the town name would be used in the business in place of the family name.

    Ian Wilson's series of "Steam..." books are an excellent source of info for the WW2 - 1960 era. He also has a number of free "Topic of the Month" articles at his web site:

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Absolutely..A family name can still be use today as well.Bentley Brothers Lumber in Garrison,Ky comes to mind.Then in the steam "era" there was indeed a lot of small rail served industries such as a coal yard.All we need to do is some research.:D
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My suggestions or guesses for nameing the Walthers building:

    International Consolidated Freight - started in the late 1960s when trucking was actively taking business away from the railways

    Myers' Cold Storage - if it's a new location for a much older business

    International Business Machines (oops - that one's taken ;))

    Global Megacorp Distribution - mostly imports cheap consumer goods from Asia for resale to Dollar Store type operations

  12. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    American Transloading Inc.

    Some history.
    A lot of industry was started by a family member, which used the family name(ex: Wolcott Machine Co.). It may have started in a barn, basement, whatever was available to start a business in. As more customers came,the product line grew, the workforce increased, bigger facilities were either leased, or built. Eventually, the company grew so that it would take the name of the town it was located in, such as, using a local company, the Torrington Co. Time would pass, and companies would be bought by big corporations, usually eliminating the original name of the company or becoming a division of the corporation. The Torrington Co became a division of Ingersall Rand. Today, the Torrington Company name no longer exsists as it was bought by Timken. The building is still there, but now "Timken" is on the building.
    Some companies still have the family name, like Ford Motor Co.
    Making up a story about a freelance company, such as the one above, is a great way to make Fact out of fiction, and give your freelance industry a believable history.
  13. Catt

    Catt Guest

    " Mathysen Transfer"-Road to rail-Rail to road.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    :thumb: :thumb: ;) :D

  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ok fellas here's my choices.I choose these names by using the yellow pages.

    1.American Electrical Supply's
    2. The Henderson Plastic Corp.A cover hopper unloading area would need to be added..This could be no more then a unloading grate between the rails since the holding vats could be located inside the plant..
    3.Dunkirk Automotive-a sub contractor for floor mats
    4.The Thurman Distribution Company-In tobacco products,beer,wine whiskey.
    5.The Mitchell Manufacturing Corp.In plastic out bottle caps
    5.Conner's Tire Distribution
    7.Vellermens Cabinets..In cherry,oak and pine wood,varnish..Out cabinets
    8.Siegel's-in carpets and linoleum rugs
  16. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Very interesting thread Larry. For anyone modeling a large city, a lot of the rules go "out the window" as far as what industries can be modeled. Los Angeles does not have any large wheat or grain farms near by, but there are literally dozens of elevators and silos all over the industrial area of town. Some are for plastic pellets, but we have a large population that consumes a lot of bread. There are a bunch of bread companies around town with grain elevators to store the flour in for breads, cakes, and whatever other baked goods they make. The largest building in the City Of Commerce is the Great Western Malting Company. The receive car loads of malt that is stored and then shipped to Anheuser-Bush and Miller Brewing for beer making. We don't have much in the way of cattle ranches in Los Angeles, but there used to be a lot of large meat packers in Vernon. Most are gone now to areas where the property is less expensive. There is still Farmer John and Oscar Meyer, and maybe a couple of others. We don't have any steel mills left since Kaiser closed, but there are small industries all over town that receive various types of metal mostly steel, but aluminum, and other more exotic metals to make various products from tanks to custom wheels and speed equipment. Muany of the old line aircraft companies are now gone or bought out by other bigger aircraft companies, but in times past they would receive a lot of products by rail. The point being that if you are modeling part of any big city, you might not have any farms or mines on your layout, but you would have a lot of things that you wouldn't think of at first glance in a city.
  18. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Good point, Russ. You also don't necessarily need to actually model the industries either. The photo below shows 7 of 10 industries actually modelled in Dunnville on my layout. Out of the scene, beneath the south staging yards for the layout, are two ten-car sidings that will be used for spotting cars at industries not modelled. While these tracks don't offer too much in the way of switching operations, they can receive or generate enormous amounts of traffic.

    Dominion Bridge, manufacturers of overhead cranes and (what else?) bridges, is one of the unmodelled industries. This allows me to run unusual loads, like these crane parts, without using a lot of layout space for their factory.

  19. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    An interesting detail to add if you are modeling a company that has been taken over, changed fonts or merged is to have "Ghost Letters".

    Our grocery store (Pick 'n Pay) use to have a large font for their letters, now they have a smaller font but behind the newer letters one can still see the "ghosts" of the old larger letters.
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    One of the best sites with examples of this is

    Check it out... they also have sections on railroads, subways, and trolleys...! ;) :D


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