Frank Birch

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Frank birch was the owner/operator of Birch Models.

See also The Hoffman Hudson Story.

Tidbits from Chaski

Cardo posted on 6 March 2003:

The Josslin Hudson was first described in the Model Engineer in 1933 and Frank Birch was mentioned as being the supplier of castings for this locomotive. However, in the April, 1934 issue of the Modelmaker, there is an article (with photos) by a Mr. I. B. Kerr of Oslo, Norway who constructed a Josslin Hudson and who states that the castings for his model came from a Mr. C. Holt.
My understanding is that Calvert Holt also had a very detailed NYC Hudson design in 3/4" scale but he only advertised completed locomotives for sale and never had any castings or drawings on offer.
The fact that I could never identify the castings on the Josslin Hudson here and they didn't seem to be anything like those of Carl Hoffman and Frank Birch, maybe, upon reflection, they are also Holt castings. They are very detailed but have no identification. Interesting but inconclusive.

A Birch Locomotive

Anthony Duarte writes:

Today (29 September 2013) I picked up a gorgeous 3/4 inch scale pacific that has been sitting in front of a fireplace for over three decades. According to the previous owner, it was built by Al Kollmar in the late 1950's in Buffalo, NY. The markings on the cylinder castings read "BIRCH". The grates really rock to get rid of ash build up, and the axle pump looks like a booster engine. The smokebox cover unscrews out of the smokebox cylinder, which will hopefully keep paint from chipping off every time it's removed for cleaning. Lots of neat little things.
I'm the 4th owner, including the builder. The previous owner, John Mahoney, apparently knew Al Kollmar and had seen the locomotive in construction. When it went up for sale, a mutual friend beat him to it. I couldn't understand the name of the 2nd owner over the phone. Bolcott, I think?
As with any piece of machinery that's been sitting for 30+ years, valves and other things need to be looked over and cleaned. But it should be a good runner! Expect to see it out at GGLS in the near future.

Eric L. replies:

You are correct about the builder. I've attached a scan of a photo and letter he sent to Pershing "Scotty" Scott of Iowa. I obtained the photo and letter when I purchased a 3/4" Friends atlantic from Scotty several years ago. They were inside an envelope of plans that Scotty sent along with the engine. I've always wondered what happened to the engine. Based off the drawings and picture, it appears Kollmar started with a Coventry PRR K4s pacific, and modified it. It looks like someone re-numbered the engine at some point.

Keith Taylor replies:

Those are not Coventry castings. Frank Birch of Ontario, Canada also sold castings for 1/2" and 3/4" scale locomotives and I know that he offered castings for a number of engines including a K-4. It appears that the only casting from the K-4 used was the trailing truck frame as the cylinders and valve gear are very different.
That is a really fine looking locomotive. It appeared on the cover of an issue of the Modelmaker Magazine in the 1930's.

Anthony Duarte wrote:

So, what happened to Birch's patterns? Did they get bought by L.E. or Friends?

Keith Taylor replied:

Neither.....I believe the patterns for all of Frank Birch's locomotives have disappeared.