We have gotten requests for making a list of S-scale's pioneers. Bill Fraley, Sam Powell, and Jeff Madden contributed to this list. The people are listed in alphabetical order by their last name. Most photos came from the NASG's The Dispatch. Others are by Bill Winans, Michael Ferraro, Bill Lane, Brooks Stover, and Peter Vanvliet; all used by permission.
Len owned Branch Line Models. He produced the first S-scale catalog with lots of products in it.
Where would S-scale be today without Ron and American Models? He started the company in the mid 1980s, which is still going strong today, providing a stunning amount of product for us.
Jesse (pronounced "Jess") showed that S-scale dreams can come true with his fantastic layout and models. He built numerous S-scale steam locomotives from scratch. He also built his own home from "scratch"! Jesse passed away in November 2009 at the age of 96.
John scratchbuilt prize-winning steam locomotives that ran great, pioneering what could be done in S-scale. He was a machinist for Nabisco.
Dave started the S Gauge Herald magazine in 1960.
Wally took over the S Gauge Herald magazine as publisher in 1961, and put it on solid footing.
Russ created the Downs Model Railroad Co., which produced a large number of freight cars during the "lean" years. He bought several other companies' product lines, to keep them going for S-scale modelers. Russ passed away in December 2009.
Together with Don Thompson, Michael started S-Helper Service. Michael has been involved in the NASG's leadership for several decades now.
There would probably not be a modeling scale called "S-scale" without this man. Alfred Carlton Gilbert bought American Flyer in 1938 and integrated it into his A.C. Gilbert company. After WWII he converted the product line to be S-scale (1:64), and competed with Lionel (O-scale).
Walter founded ACE Products, which "saved" S-scale when American Flyer went out of business. They produced wheels, trucks, and couplers. Walter was a lawyer.
In 1962, at the tender age of 14, Don started the S Gaugian magazine, which was shut down in 2019 upon Don's retirement. It is a miracle for any magazine to last this long, much less of one covering such a niche topic.
Lee, together with Ed Loizeaux, provided the strong support for S-scale modeling on the west coast of the U.S. Lee was always very active in the NASG's leadership.
Dick was at the meeting where Claud Wade came up with the idea of what would become the NASG. Dick is the last surviving member of that initial group, and he is a fantastic modeler, a prolific author, and very active in the NASG and the NMRA's S-scale SIG.
Former NASG president. Currently involved with the S-scale SIG within the NMRA. Has a beautiful NYC-based layout. Ed has always been a strong promoter of our scale.
Produced locomotives, track, and many other S-scale products in the early days.
Where would three-foot narrow-gauge, Sn3, be today without Bill Peter and P-B-L? It is hard to imagine a world without his continued efforts.
Howard was a co-founder of S&P Distributors, which manufactured locomotives and rolling stock.
Sam was a kind-hearted man who wrote many articles, gave many clinics at NASG Conventions, and was a fantastic modeler. He inspired many in the S-scale world.
Ed was an inspirational and artistic modeler. As NASG president, he oversaw the early tumultuous times of the organization, including the formalization into the NASG, Inc.
Des Plaines Hobbies is a name people who are new to S-scale modeling will learn quickly. Ron's brick-n-mortar store caters to all scales, but his personal favorite was S-scale. Des Plaines Hobbies has bought a number of product lines, keeping S-scale modelers supplied for decades. Ron passed away in October 2019.
He was an outspoken promoter of S-scale modeling, built and sold fantastic models. Josh passed away in February 2003. His wife, Barbara, was very involved with his efforts, hand-painting a large number of the models. She passed away in December 2020.
John was a co-founder of S&P Distributors.
Brooks is an inspirational modeler, and a prolific author. He is very well known for his Buffalo Creek & Gauley railroad modeling efforts as well as prototype documentation.
One of the founders of the NASG. He was the General Director from 1962 through 1965.
Don started Trainstuff in 1975 producing S-scale products. After selling that company, he and Michael Ferraro started S-Helper Service in 1989, which produced top-of-the-line, yet affordable, S-scale models. Don has been very active in the NASG, including the S-MOD modular standard.
Frank was the S Gauge Herald magazine's editor. He created Lehigh Valley Models. A prolific model builder. Frank passed away at the age of 93 on January 15, 2015.
Founder of the Pacific Rail Shops company, John's efforts produced a huge quantity of easy-to-build freight car kits that can be found on nearly all S-scale layouts.
One of the founders of the NASG (the NASG was his original idea). He was the General Director from 1960 through 1962. He created the company "S Scale Locomotive & Supply". Claud passed away in April 2005 at the age of 84.