Westbrook was a moderate cost kit producer from the 1930s to the early 1950s. They sold basic wood body kits for freight cars, with preprinted sides for various roads. But to build a complete model, one also had to buy the hardware kit for the model in question, whether a box car or refrigerator car. The Westbrook hardware kit included a heavy cast metal underframe, brake details, trucks and couplers.|
Although I finished this model on July 10, 2017 it's actually 77 years old. The printed sides suffered from discoloration due to acid in the instruction sheets, in which the printed sides had been wrapped since 1940.
I'm not all that sure how accurate this model is as a Gerber Baby Food prototype. Gerber strained baby food was developed by the Fremont Canning Company of Michigan in 1927. By 1930 it was selling nationally. To do that, wide distribution was necessary and likely done in railroad cars.
The paint job represented with this model (and many others in the market place as well) is quite striking with that parade of animals across the car sides. GSVX reporting marks do not appear in my 1943 and 1953 Official Railway Equipment Registers. If Gerber did field some cars like this, by 1943 with the US in WW II, such cars would have been in high demand carrying food goods mainly for the military. Small private owners like Gerber usually sold their equipment, and maximized their production tailored to the war effort instead.
Questions sometimes arise over such "billboard" advertising on railroad cars, common for the 1920's. Large railcar leasing companies like UTLX, NATX and others sold advertising space on their cars to earn a bit exrtra income. Just because a car had an a billboard ad for a certain product, that did not necessarily mean such was in that car. Also, in allocating cars to shippers, railroads paid no attention to the ads on them. Often, a competitor's ad car would end up on another shipper' siding.
This created uncertainty and confusion in the eyes of the public, which back then paid a lot more attention to such things. So after some lawsuits, billboard ads were banned from the leased cars. Still, by the 1930s, with the Great Depression and everyone exercising great frugality, those expensive paint jobs would die out anyway. But companies owning their cars, could still put billboard paint jobs on them if they wished, as no other outfit would be using them. So some meat packers and a few outfits like Gerber in owning their cars could still put out a billboard job.
This model is all original with the exception of the ice hatches with platform and the ladders, which are All Nation parts from the 1950s. Oh, Yes! The Kadee couplers and BTS air hoses are the only 'modern parts.' The most tedious job was mixing paint to match the preprinted cardboard sides for the ladders, grab irons and door hardware.
Since such baby food was shipped canned,(glass jars came after WW II), this I model is more accurately an insulated, ventilated boxcar as iced refrigeration was not necessary.