Thursday, April 21, 2016

E. L. Moore and his Union Pacific Windmill

At his Model Railroad Miscellany blog, John Bruce posted that he was going to dive into building E. L. Moore’s Union Pacific Windmill project that was published in the Sept ’62 issue of Model Railroader. I thought I’d go through the E. L. Moore files I had on hand to see if I had anything on that build. The project turned out to have a rather bittersweet significance to Mr. Moore. 

The article was originally submitted to Model Trains on 1 December 1961, which was by that time owned by Kalmbach Publishing, who also own Model Railroader. Here's the cover letter that E. L. Moore submitted along with the manuscript.

December 1, 1961

W.V. Anderson, Editor,
Model Trains,
1027 N. 7th St.,
Milwaukee 3, Wis.

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Like the buffalo, you just don’t hardly find any of these no more. Haven’t ever seen one of these modeled before, mainly I presume, because of the apparent complexity of the wheel. As I made it, it’s a simple job, taking but little time, and makes a rather spectacular display.

Darned if I don’t have a time trying to get a surface like that Strathmore sample. This is closest to it that I could get at one of the office supply houses. Better, but not quite it. I’ll try some more.

Enclosing return postage and label, should you find this unacceptable.

I thank you . . . 

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave.,
Apt 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.

The paragraph about Strathmore is part of a long running discussion between E. L. Moore and Andy Anderson about using Single Ply High Surface Strathmore for the drawings he was submitting to Model Trains. Turns out it was tricky for Mr. Moore to find some, but when he did he bought a lifetime supply.
Mr. Anderson bought the article right away. Here’s the acceptance letter he sent. However, as E. L. Moore’s handwritten note on the letter implies, it was the last article Model Trains bought from him before it was closed down sometime in Dec ’61 or Jan ’62 - although, last issues continued to appear into the spring of ’62 and there was an annual.

December 15, 1961

Mr. E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave. Apt. 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.

So it’s another sale E. L. ....

Here’s our check for $60.00 to pay for exclusive rights to “Union Pacific Windmill,” complete with art and pix.

I like it!

Best wishes for the holiday season.

signed Andy
Willard V. Anderson

E. L. Moore penned this note on the bottom of the letter,

The end of a perfect season - 14 articles submitted - 14 accepted - $650.00

Jan 15 1962 PS Also the end of Model Trains!

1961 was one of his most prolific years with 14 articles written and all sold. That $60 US in 1961 would be roughly equivalent to $450 US today, and $650 US in 1961 would be about $4,875 US today - nothing to sneeze at. The Union Pacific Windmill was the last article he wrote and submitted to Model Trains. It marked the end of the first phase in E. L. Moore’s model building career, and the beginning of the ten or so years that would be his most productive.


  1. I've got about half the windmill project done, will post a couple of photos tomorrow. I'm not sure what MR pays now for an equivalent article -- I had one in RMC that got me something around $200 in 2004, but the problem was getting RMC to actually send the check. My bet, though, is that MR probably doesn't pay $450 now for a 3-pager, which is what the windmill was!

    1. I'm interested in seeing what you've got done. I don't have any idea what the various publications pay for articles, but $60 in '61 seems pretty good. An internet search tells me a '61 Chevy Impala could be bought for something around $2,700, so his income from articles in '61 was good - even though he didn't own a car from what I can tell :-)