Return to Unusual Items & Production Prototypes

Description Monsanto Tank Car
Category Custom Item

When I first saw this car on an auction site long after the auction was over, I thought I might see others that had also been used as awards as noted by the plaque on the base.  Little did I know at that time that there were various other versions of this car. 

The mounted award model was apparently given to individuals involved in the making of the Monsanto industrial film, "Decision for Chemistry."  One difference between the mounted model and other versions of this car is the presence on the mounted model of the words, "orthonitrochlorobenzene."   That labeling is significant in the film as it is that writing on the side of the car that sends a young man to explore a career in chemistry.   I am attempting to obtain a copy of the film, as it closely follows the A.C. Gilbert philosophy that the scientists and inventors of tomorrow develop their interest in science as young people.  Exactly how many of these models were created is uncertain, but it seems possible that other mounted models may exist as the award trophy does not specify any one person, but merely cites a "contribution" to the production.   I understand that this particular award model was offered for sale at a recent York Train Meet. 

The other versions of this car substitute "phosphoric acid" for the "orthonitrochlorobenzene"  or eliminate it entirely.  The 1953 dating of the award model is curious because Gilbert was not selling HO at that time and the model is clearly from pre-Korean war production.  The discovery of another mounted model dated in 1949 indicated that these models had been around for some time and used by Monsanto for various purposes, most likely other awards.  It is quite possible that other examples of this model exist, but if given as Monsanto awards, most likely ended up in the hands of non-train enthusiasts.

These models appears to have started life as a black shell for a 126 Sinclair tank car.  The partially completed model from the Rick Tonet collection was originally obtained from the collection of the late Frank Castiglione, through his son Mark and is believed to have been created by his father.  It is most likely that Frank Castiglione also created the the other models. 

368 - Decision for Chemistry
Stout Auction Photo
368 - Tufts CollectionFrom
Robert Tufts Collection - Courtesy of Bill Cucchi
368 - Sommer Collection
Charlie Sommer Collection - Courtesy of Bill Cucchi
368 - Castiglione/Tonet Collections
Frank Castiglione Collection - Courtesy of Rick Tonet