Boomer Trail - Craftsman Classics
Edited by Otto M. Vondrak/photos from the collection of Harold Carstens
Started in Chicago in 1933 as The Model Craftsman, our magazine has grown over the years to meet the diverse needs of its readers. These photos from the colletion of the late Hal Carstens offer a glimpse into the history and development of Railroad Model Craftsman and Carstens Publications. Founded in 1933 by Emanuele Stieri, our first product was The Model Craftsman, aimed at all areas of scale modeling. Founded in Chicago, ownership of the publishing company passed in 1934 to Charles Penn who moved the company to New York that year.
Harold V. Loose (pictured above) was the editor of through the 1930s. His series, "How to Build a Model Railroad" introduced the hobby of scale model railroading to thousands of hobbyists. Loose did much to stabilize the fledgling magazine until his untimely death from tuberculosis.
Terry Linotypers in New York City typeset each issue of The Model Craftsman. A linotype machine allowed an operator to set metal type for printing presses quickly and efficiently before the advent of practical photo- and computer-assisted graphics.
Jim Thompson succeeded his brother Robert as Managing Editor after World War II. In 1948, the magazine focused exclusively on trains and became Railroad Model Craftsman.
The Model Craftsman's first offices were in Chicago, but quickly moved to New York City in 1934. In 1942, editorial offices moved to this building off Route 17 in Ramsey, New Jersey. This building no longer exists.
The staff of Railroad Model Craftsman in 1954 included (from left to right) Jim Thompson (Executive Editor), Sam Skean, Bill Schopp (Technical Editor), Charles Penn (Editor and Publisher), Ed Alexander (Research Editor), and Hal Carstens (Managing Editor).
In 1955, Railroad Model Craftsman moved its offices to this former telephone company building at 31 Arch Street in Ramsey, New Jersey.
Hal Carstens joined the staff of Railroad Model Craftsman in 1952, and became Publisher in 1962 after the retirement of Charles Penn.
In 1973, Carstens Publications moved to a brand new building in Newton, New Jersey. This 11,000 square foot facility houses the company's full-time employees and is where all of the magazine and book design work is accomplished.
In 1979, Carstens acquired the venerable Railroad Magazine and combined it into Railfan & Railroad. Publisher Hal Carstens, Railroad editor Freeman Hubbard, Railfan editor Jim Boyd, and RMC editor Tony Koester celebrate his Hubbard's career at a party in New York City.
The Carstens offices buried in snow after a winter storm in 1980. The offices in Newton remain our home to this day, housing all of our editorial, advertising, and design operations as well as our warehouse and Carstens Book Store operations.