Isn’t it funny to think about the manufacturing twists and turns to make one of our favorite little parts.  Four years after acquiring the All Nation Line business, we are still discovering new things.  Wait until you see this little gadget that was brilliantly developed.  It creates the very important twist to the freight car steps we so affectionately love!  Did you ever wonder how that perfect little twist is made?

I will take you back in time to when there was little automation in the world.  Even if there was automation, sometimes the best things in life are small hand-tools to make just the right turn.  I introduce to you the “Freight Car Step Bender Fixture“.  Yes, now you, too, are one of the few people who know the secret to perfectly putting the twist with a 90 degree bend to the legs of the steps for a prototypical part.

In all seriousness, below you will see pictured two of the home grown tools.  These hand held working jigs have been used thousands of times in the creation of freight car steps.  What a unique creation by the machinists of a time long ago.

In delving more into the history of this hand-tool, we spoke recently to a great friend, who was part of one of the important families in the history of All Nation Line.  Terrell Colson, the son of Bob Colson (owner of All Nation Line from 1958 to 1972), remembers many days working with his father.  Indeed, he remembers bending many steps with this very tool.  We continue to learn fascinating history about this company for even the smallest little detail part.  Recently, we met up with Terrell while at the March Meet. With his permission I share a fun photo of the two of us (John on the left, Terrell on the right).  What great conversations we had about the history of All Nation Line.

I made a short instructional video using this “Freight Car Step Bender” and thought you would enjoy watching. So now you, too, know the secret twists and turns for this beautiful little part.  Wishing you well in your O Scale 2 Rail adventures.  John Wubbel

Freight Car Step Bender Fixture Video Click Here