The core of our business was founded prior to World War II by Nelson W. Gray. Nelson brought his talents as a tool and die maker to bear on the subject of his love for large-scale model railroading. Initially, Nelson used sand castings in the kits that he developed. However, the extensive post-foundry machine work that was necessary to finish a kit led Nelson to consider ways to improve the process. In an unprecedented move, Nelson decided to mass-produce model parts by die-casting them, which would yield high-quality parts at a reasonable cost, and eliminate the need for machining. The result was a whole product line of details, couplers, and kits that were better detailed and easier to assemble than anything else then available.
Nelson built a die-casting press in his shop and painstakingly fabricated all the necessary dies and other tooling necessary to produce the parts. In addition to his own products, Nelson also developed and produced parts for other 1" scale suppliers. For several decades, Nelson Gray reigned as the premier supplier of rolling stock components for 1" scale.
Nelson retired from the hobby business in 1979. The impact of this event on the 1" scale hobby was rather profound. Hobbyists had to 'go without', and an active trade in used Nelson Gray trucks and couplers developed. The dies and other equipment were crated and sold to a private individual, and for several years the business lay fallow.
In 1985, Barry Prentice of Boulder, Colorado introduced a 50' mill gondola riding car kit, and was posed with the problem of providing trucks and couplers for it. Rather than 'reinvent the wheel', Barry's quest resulted in his discovery and acquisition of all the Nelson Gray dies and equipment in 1986. Barry built a new modernized die casting machine and spent the next few years reintroducing the Nelson Gray product line under the name of Scale Railroad Supplies.
Barry went on to design and introduce new products, the culmination of which was a joint venture which introduced two ALCO-type diesel locomotives (now available from Britton Scale Models). However, time constraints and conflicts with other business affairs prompted Barry to put his manufacturing business up for sale in 1994.
In late 1995, the business was sold to Lonnie and Nancy Knechtel. The manufacturing operation was moved to Washington State and continued under the new name of One Inch Scale Railroad Supply. We have since been active in the building of improved manufacturing facilities, new tool fabrication, and new product offerings. We are proud to carry on the production of Nelson Gray's line of products in the tradition of our predecessors. We are committed to providing you high quality, affordable railroad components for years to come.