Barry Hauge

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Barry Hauge was the founder and owner of Superscale Locomotive Company until his death, as well as a member of the Los Angeles Live Steamers.


Barry Hauge, circa 2016. Photo by Mike Massee

Barry passed away 7 December 2016. Mike Massee posted the following, 21 December 2016:

Here is an expanded obituary for Barry Hauge of SuperScale, compiled by Diana Manchester of LALS.

Master Design Engineer Barry Hauge Leaves Legacy

By Diana Manchester with Jim Kreider, Hal Hoadley and Karl Hovanitz

A “perfectionist”, “genius”, “master craftsman”, “hobby pioneer”, “inspiration”, and “friend” are just a few of the many descriptions expressed by those who knew SuperScale’s proprietor and master engineer, Barry Hauge.

Although a resident of Grover Beach, CA for the past 20+ years, Barry’s roots were in southern California. Jim Kreider, a longtime member of LALSRM, reminisces about Barry’s pre-SuperScale days: “I first got to know Barry sometime in the early 1970’s when he was developing and testing his safety valves. We used to gather in Sun Valley at Truson Buegel’s garage where Truson was working on Tom Miller’s first locomotive, a Pacific, along with a set of Railroad Supply passenger cars. Barry was there, prototype-testing his safety valves with a small boiler borrowed from Charlie Dockstader. Barry was a perfectionist (the word ‘genius’ comes to mind). The safety valves had to consistently open and close with a sharp pop. Nothing short of that was acceptable and the design and machining had to work for every valve, not just some. In addition, the valves had to be a perfect scale model of a Consolidated 3-1/2” safety valve. ‘How nice,’ I thought, ‘just what this future Berkshire model needed.’“

Barry earned his mechanical engineering degree from USC. He initially worked for places like Bethlehem Steel, before founding his own company, SuperScale in 1975. LALSRM member and friend Hal Hoadley recalls the early days when Barry was involved at Railroad Supply: “Barry’s engineering drawings became legendary. It was while developing a lost wax water glass for the hobby when past LALS president Chester Peterson stated ‘you super scale guys are driving me crazy!’ that led to Barry naming his business ‘SuperScale Locomotive Works’. That water glass was the first commercial use of the lost wax process for making fine scale parts for the hobby, and is still in his catalog.”

Barry designed and pioneered many highly-detailed scale parts for the live steam hobby.

Hal notes, “Barry was an early adopter of CNC equipment for the production of scale parts. Those same machines were in use right up to his passing. His development of a good “economy” injector to replace the temperamental ones from England led to them becoming the standard of the hobby.” He applied this process to the development of couplers and airbrake components, which also became widely used.

“When Barry started making his parts in the mid 1970’s there were no professionally-produced parts. Parts were made by live steam machinists in their home shops,” shared Karl Hovanitz of Bitter Creek Western Railroad. “Barry made parts that were utterly reliable. He made our steam engines run. He was our savior.”

Hal described Barry’s recent goals, “Barry demonstrated for several years a working triple valve, and while never put into production, it is a fine example of his incredible machinist skills. Always the pioneer, at his passing Barry was investigating the use of 3D printing for making molds, thus allowing even finer details, often where they could not be seen.”

Barry was active in his business right up to the time of his death, during a surgery to repair his heart following a massive heart attack. Live steam friends commented on social media that they had spoken to him just days before his passing. He was known for being easy to get along with, and willing to converse at length with modelers about any technical issues they were experiencing. He will be sorely missed by the live steam community who expressed shock and sadness at his untimely demise at age 74.

“I first met Barry as a kid hanging around LALS and having the great fortune to be able to simply listen and observe guys like Barry, Doug Alkire, Gene Allen, Glen Anderson, Jerry Brown, and others who were quick with a good story and even better advice. For a kid like me who found great role models and willing mentors, it filled a huge gap ... [Barry was] always an inspiration.” –Larry Fisher, Fisher Detail Foundry
“Barry will be missed. He was a true artist working in metal.”– John Friend
"I called him a few years back and we talked for quite a while about almost everything. Super friendly and nice guy. What a great man and amazing manufacturer. He made a lot of things happen for us live steamers.” – Charlie Giordano
“Yesterday our hobby suffered the loss of a master craftsman and extremely talented machinist. Someone who truly set the bar for accuracy, detail, and performance.” – Anthony Ruiz Duarte
“His contributions to the hobby cannot be overstated, and he will be greatly missed.” – Mike Massee

Karl Hovanitz confirmed that plans are in the works for a railroaders’ memorial at the February President's Day Meet at Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande. A family memorial will probably not happen until summer 2017. As for the future of SuperScale, please be patient and updates will be given as the situation is sorted out in the coming months.