Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Commercial Solvents Corporation tank car mystery not solved, but...

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, front cover

When I initially sought assistance in identifying the colors of the logos, etc., on GATX 65808, I received some good advice as well as some good conjectures about the colors. I was also directed to the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute by Richard Brennan, where there are materials about the company in the library's archives. Knowing I was going to pass right through Terre Haute on my way to the St. Louis RPM, I allocated time for a visit. The bad news is that I did not find the colors for GATX 65808. However, among the many annual reports in the collection was the 1955 edition. Interestingly, that annual report featured a full color cover, unique among all the CSC annual reports I perused (all others were black ink on various shades of white paper, with a single spot color for effects, graphs, tables, charts, etc.) It was undoubtedly expensive to print such a glossy color cover. 

Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover
However, we are the beneficiaries of the cost. On the back cover was an image of GATX 74805. While it is of a different prototype and certainly different color in the logos than GATX 65808, it is nonetheless an interesting find. The image of the car itself is isolated below. It was an insulated car (TRI) with an aluminum tank and a capacity of 10,112 gallons, part of series 74800-74899, 25 cars in January, 1953. I have tried unsuccessfully to identify the exact classification and I just cannot make out the lettering. My guess is ICC 201-A-35-W, but I am simply not sure.

I owe a huge thank you to Sean Eisele and the staff of the Vigo County Public Library.

GATX 74805 from Commercial Solvents Corporation 1955 Annual Report, rear cover


  1. A -very- useful find... I'm glad the pointer to the Vigo County Public Library was of use.

    Re the color question: A Google image search of "Commercial Solvents Corporation csc" shows additional red or red+black logo examples... so I think the odds on orange are less.


  2. Richard,

    A useful find due to your sleuthing! I am still torn on these colors. I guess if the emblems/logos in the black and white photo contain Scotchlite, then it's quite possible that they are red, white, and black, as shown here. Bob Heninger and I were communicating back and forth about this yesterday. The other wild cards are the quirky interpretations and renderings of color that different emulsions of black and white film can produce. In the absence of any other information, this might be the best approximation we will see.