International Car Corporation
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This page was last updated on July 3, 2021.
(Note on company names: This narrative uses the "International Car" name as a generic reference to the company that manufactured cabooses at Kenton, Ohio. The actual company name changed several times over its years of operation, from 1944 to 1983.)
The International Car Corporation's manufacturing plant was located about 1.3 miles southeast of Kenton, Ohio, alongside the former Erie Lackawanna mainline. Ohio state route 140, known as Bales Road, passes the site, which today is the home of a large automobile salvage yard. The former E-L mainline was removed during the early 1990s. Aerial photos of the area from the 1970s and early 1980s show several buildings with completed and partially-completed cabooses visible.
"International Car was founded in Kenton in 1924 as New City Car Co. It built wooden rail cars. The plant was idle from 1939 to 1941, when it was purchased by an investor company and began to specialize in building cabooses. The plant once shipped 285 cabooses a year, 85 percent of the U. S. production." (Mansfield [Ohio] News Journal, February 20, 1983)
Because International Car was a very small company, and was always controlled by larger diversified parent companies, there is not any known production list of cabooses or cars produced. The closest any researcher might come is from newspaper accounts (see below), and from reports in trade and other magazines, together with railfan reports.
New City Car Company
March 6, 1923
New City Car company delivered 100 poultry cars to the Live Poultry Transportation Company. (South Bend [Indiana] Tribune, March 6, 1923)
(There was an earlier reference to New City Car company in September 1921, when a tornado in Buffalo, New York, destroyed the newly completed building of the Live Poultry Transportation Co., "which is owned by the New City Car company." -- Buffalo Evening News, September 30, 1921.)
April 24, 1923
"The New City Car Co., a branch of the Live Poultry Transit Co., will open its Kenton car plant sometime this summer and within a year expects to be employing 200 men." (Lima Republican Gazette, April 24, 1923)
November 19, 1923
New City Car Company was incorporated in Delaware on November 19, 1923, "for the manufacture and sale of railway cars." (Wilmington [Delaware] Morning News, November 20, 1923)
April 26, 1927
"Financiers Will Meet In Kenton -- Kenton, April 25 -- At six o'clock tomorrow morning, 12 Chicago financiers and business men will arrive in Kenton for their monthly meeting as the Board of Directors of the Live Poultry Transit company, of which the New City Car company here is a branch." (Lima Star, April 26, 1927)
October 30, 1927
"Business In Kenton Is Better Than Average, Say Merchants." "The New City Car company is one of the newer industries in the city. It manufactures high grade fertilizer and cleans and rehabilitates railroad poultry cars." (Lima Morning Star, October 30, 1927)
December 28, 1929
The following comes from the St. Louis Globe Democrat newspaper, December 28, 1929
Live Poultry Transit Sale -- Chicago, Ill., December 27. -- Purchase of the Live Poultry Transit Company has been approved by directors of the North American Car Corporation, President H. H. Brigham announced today. The car corporation will assume operation of the Transit Company on January 1. The consideration was not revealed.
North American Car Corporation will acquire the railroad equipment, plants, patents and good will of the Live Poultry Transit Company. Equipment Includes 2061 steel poultry cars and sixteen combination live poultry and refrigerator cars. Plants comprising complete car building and repair facilities are located at Buffalo, N. Y.; Kenton.. Ohio, and in the Union Stockyards, Chicago. Fertilizer plants are maintained at Buffalo and Kenton.
All minority capital stock of the Palace Poultry Car Company, operated by the North American Car Corporation for three years, will also be acquired in the deal. This makes the corporation sole owner of all cars for rail transportation of live poultry in the United States, with a total of 2677 cars.
February 3, 1930
New City Car Company was dissolved as a Delaware corporation. (Wilmington [Delaware] Morning News, February 4, 1930)
(Although the corporation was dissolved, the manufacturing and employee activity at the Kenton location was still referred to as New City Car company, especially in reports of inter-mural baseball games between employees of New City Car, and other teams in central Ohio.)
February 21, 1930
North American Car formed a new subsidiary called Palace Live Poultry Car Company, to operate its newly acquired fleet of 2700 poultry cars, acquired as part of its purchase of the Live Poultry Transit company. (Boston Globe, February 21, 1930)
November 18, 1941
Kenton, Ohio, is shown as one of the locations of the North American Car Company. "Tank Car Firm Plans Dividend -- Chicago, Nov. 17 -- North American Car Corporation directors today authorized a dividend of $9.50 a share applicable to arrears on the preferred stock." "The company owns, operates and leases steel tank cars. Plants for repairing cars are located at Buffalo, N. Y.; Kenton, O.; Coffeyville. Kan.; North Judson, Ind.; Chicago; West Tulsa, and Cyril, Okla.; Texarkana; Colorado; Willow Springs and Overton, Tex.; Shreveport. La., and Austin, Minn." (Arizona Republic, November 18, 1941)
(Newspaper coverage of New City Car company, and North American Car company in Kenton, Ohio, ended in 1930, with the single reference in 1941.)
International Car Company
(Research suggests that the manufacturing site in Kenton, Ohio, may have been closed by North American Car, and was reopened by new owners in 1944. Morrison Railway Supply may have become involved in 1954.)
(The group of investors noted in articles about ownership of International Car was not specifically named, until 1954 when R. L. Morrison was named as president of both Morrison International and International Car. Possibly, the "International" part of the Morrison International name came from Morrison Railway Supply's ownership of International Car.)
International Railway Car & Equipment Company was organized. (Lima News, July 24, 1947)
"International Car's first customer for Cabooses was local road Akron Canton and Youngstown in 1947, with an order for six. At least one of which is preserved at the Copley, Ohio, Historical Society depot museum, #63, probably the oldest existing International caboose." (Posted by Paul Woodring to Railway Preservation News, May 29, 2021)
July 24, 1947
International Railway Car & Equipment Company announced plans to expand its facility by adding a 180 feet by 60 feet building to its west wing, allowing work to progress on 18 to 20 cars at one time. The number of employees was to be increased from 170 to 300. (Lima News, July 24, 1947)
September 20, 1948
International Car delivered two new cabooses to the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad. The two cars were equipped with side bay windows instead of cupolas, and were ordered on September 18, 1947. (Port Huron Times Herald, September 20, 1948)
July 27, 1950
Seaboard Air Line Railroad ordered 25 new cabooses from International Railway Car & Equipment Company. (Miami News, July 27, 1950)
May 4, 1951
In an employment want ad, the company name was shown as International Railway Car & Equipment Manufacturing Company. (Marion Star, May 4, 1951)
February 19, 1953
Chicago & North Western Railway ordered 12 new cabooses from International Car, to be delivered in August 1953. The new cabooses were to be the bay-window style instead of the cupola style, and would be electrically lighted from propane-powered generators. (Winona Daily News, February 19, 1953)
June 26, 1953
International Car had two cabooses with extended-vision cupolas on display at Chicago's Union Station. (Chicago Tribune, June 26, 1953)
March 18, 1954
R. L. Morrison, of the Morrison Railway Supply Company, located in Buffalo, New York, was shown as also being the president of International Railway Car Company. "Cabooses of the future are to be streamlined, according to R. L. Morrison, president of the International Railway Car Company. The bay window is to take the place of the cupola, the whole car will be of steel construction and interiors, except for a reasonable facsimile of the pot-bellied stove, will be modernized." (Whitewright [Texas] Sun, March 18, 1954)
WP 426-460 (35 cars), built in 1955 by International Car Corp. Built in October 1955 to February 1956.
International Car delivered its first extended-vision cupola cabooses to SLSF Frisco. (Trains magazine, November 1990, page 27, 1940-1990 Timeline)
International Car delivered 75 new extended-vision cupola cabooses to St. Louis San Francisco Railroad. The cupolas extend eight inches on each side. The company name was shown as "International Car Division of Morrison Industries." (Trains magazine, June 1959)
July 10, 1959
St. Louis San Francisco Railroad was using some of its new extended-vision cabooses on the Blue Streak Merchandise premier freight train. The SLSF "Frisco" cabooses were swapped for Southern Pacific cabooses at Corsicana, Texas. The new cabooses were built by the "International Car Division of Morrison Railway Supply Corp." (Corsicana Daily Sun, July 10, 1959)
December 11, 1959
The International Car Division of Morrison Railway Supply was among the divisions sold to Ryder System, Inc. The other divisions include the heavy machinery and rail car leasing division, known as the Morrison Plan, Inc., and the division in Buffalo, New York, that manufactured display equipment for automobile service stations. The International Car division in Kenton, Ohio, manufactured railroad cabooses and camp cars, and had 65 employees. (Tampa Tribune, December 12, 1959; Marion Star, December 24, 1959)
September 15, 1960
The manufacturing division of Ryder System was known as Morrison International Corp. The company was headquartered in Buffalo, New York, and was the world's largest manufacturer of automobile tire racks for service stations. The company also manufactured railroad cabooses and rebuilt railroad freight cars at its plant in Kenton, Ohio. (Fort Lauderdale News, September 15, 1960)
February 18, 1962
The International division of Ryder System at Kenton, Ohio, had recently manufactured a series of under-slung containers, known as ExpressPaks, that were installed on trailers of Ryder System trucks to allow easier handling of package express shipments. The service was being marketed as RPX, Ryder Package Express. (Fort Lauderdale News, February 18, 1962)
April 4, 1962
International Car delivered 50 new bay-window cabooses to the Nickel Plate Road. The company name was shown as Morrison International Corp., of Kenton, Ohio. (Lima Citizen, April 4, 1962)
May 2, 1963
Seaboard Air Line Railroad received 60 new extended-vision cupola cabooses from the International Car Division of Morrison International, of Kenton, Ohio. (Greenwood [South Carolina] News Journal, May 2, 1963)
December 26, 1963
Ryder System, Inc., sold "its railway car manufacturing facility" at Kenton, Ohio, to Nationwide Leasing Company of Chicago. The reported sale price was $800,000. (Miami Herald, December 27, 1963, "Thursday"; Miami News, December 30, 1963; Mansfield [Ohio] News Journal, January 2, 1964)
Union Pacific received 100 CA-8 cupola cabooses built by International Car, numbered as UP 25500-25599.
January 11, 1964
Chicago & North Western Railway received 25 new cabooses from International Car. (Belvedere [Illinois] Daily News, January 11, 1964)
Union Pacific received 100 CA-9 cupola cabooses built by International Car, numbered as UP 25600-25699.
March 8, 1967
International Car's parent company is shown as Nationwide Industries, based in Chicago. The following comes from the Lima News newspaper, March 8, 1967:
Area Firm Expansion Announced -- Kenton -- International Car Corp., largest manufacturer of railway cabooses with manufacturing facilities headquartered here, today disclosed details of a major expansion program. The announcement was made by Robert Shendan, president of Nationwide Industries Inc , Chicago - based parent company of International Car. Sheridan also is board chairman of International Car, which has general offices in Buffalo, N. Y. The program calls for initial expenditures exceeding $100,000, Sheridan said. The Kenton plant, which now occupies 50,000 square feet, will be enlarged to provide additional plant and storage area totaling 13,500 square feet, he told a lunch meeting of the Kenton Area Chamber of Commerce. The new material inventory control center will occupy 10,000 square feet." The program includes a 3,500 square foot expansion of the manufacturing area. An additional 1/4 mile of track will be added, and the general office area will be modernized.
Chesapeake & Ohio received 100 new extended-vision cupola cabooses from International Car company. (Trains magazine, November 1968)
Employees of the International Car company, with company support, built a miniature caboose mounted on tires, and painted with peppermint-striped handrails and lettered as "Santa's House." The caboose was first used to bring Santa to Kenton, and was later repainted and made available for Kenton-area civic organizations. (Greenville [Ohio] Daily Advocate, December 3, 1968)
WP 461-465 (5 cars), built in October 1969 by International Car Corp.
November 11, 1969
Erie-Lackawana Railway received 20 new cabooses from International Car Corporation of Kenton, Ohio. (Scranton Tribune, November 11, 1969)
May 17, 1970
CRI&P "Rock Island" received 20 new cabooses from International Car Corp., of Kenton, Ohio. (Lincoln [Nebraska] Star, May 17, 1970)
December 6, 1970
C&O/B&O received 86 new cabooses from International Car Corp. Seventy-five cabooses were delivered to B&O and 11 cabooses were delivered to C&O. (Lexington [Kentucky] Herald Leader, December 6, 1970)
December 22, 1970
In an employment want ad for a project engineer, the company name was shown as International Car Company. (Marion Star, December 22, 1970)
August 26, 1971
B&O ordered 100 new cabooses from International Car Corporation. Fifty of the new cabooses were to be in service by the end of 1971, and the remainder by July 1, 1972. (Cumberland [Maryland] News, August 26, 1971)
October 15, 1971
Missouri Pacific System ordered 30 new cabooses from International Car Co. of Kenton, Ohio. (Longview [Texas] News Journal, October 15, 1971)
November 24, 1972
Central of Vermont received 10 new cabooses from International Car of Kenton, Ohio, at a reported cost of $32,500 each. (Battleboro [Vermont] Reformer, November 24, 1972)
WP 466-475 (10 cars), built in April 1973 by International Car Corp.
WP 476-480 (5 cars), built in May 1974 by International Car Corp.
Union Pacific received 50 CA-10 cupola cabooses built by International Car, numbered as UP 25700-25749.
December 7, 1975
The following comes from the Lima News newspaper, December 7, 1975.
Caboose firm sold in Kenton -- Kenton -- The International Car Corp on Bales Road has been purchased for approximately $2.5 million by Paccar Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., Paccar president Charles M. Pigott has announced.
Paccar produces mining and transportation construction equipment. Its division in Renton, Wash., the Pacific Car and Foundry Co., manufactures railway freight cars.
International Car, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Nationwide Industries Inc., makes railroad cabooses and anticipates $10 million in 1975 sales.
International Car Co., "now owned by Paccar, Inc.," will deliver 100 new cabooses to Norfolk & Western, starting with 25 in March, and 25 each month thereafter. (Lima News, January 10, 1976)
International Car was to deliver 75 new cabooses to Burlington Northern, starting in 4th Quarter 1979. (Cicero Life, August 2, 1978)
International Car built 75 bay-window cabooses for Southern Pacific, numbered as SP 4700-4774, Class C-50-9. These were the last cabooses built for or purchased by SP.
International Car built six bay-window cabooses for Western Pacific, numbered as WP 481-486. These six cars were almost identical to the above 75 cabooses for SP, and were the last cabooses built for or purchased by WP.
June 20, 1981
"Simpson caboose #201 was ordered by the Chehalis Western Railroad (Weyerhaeuser) with purchase order #CW072271 as Chehalis Western #597, along with sisters 598 and 599, on June 20, 1981, from Paccar. It was built by Paccar's subsidiary International Car at their Kenton, Ohio plant for $80850.00 each. These three cabooses would be among the last produced by Paccar. Simpson #201 is now in the care of the Peninsular Railway and Lumbermen's Museum in Shelton, Washington." (Posted by Dale C. to Railway Preservation News, May 30, 2021)
International Car suspended production from its Kenton plant. The following comes from the Sudbury [Pennsylvania] Daily Item newspaper, March 25, 1982.
A newly minted caboose, depending on refinements, costs somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 today. Demand has been soft of late, according to the nation's largest caboose maker, the International Car division of Paccar, Inc., the Bellevue, Wash., castings and forgings concern. International Car suspended production at its Kenton, Ohio, plant four months ago for lack of orders. In 1969 - its peak year - the plant turned out 299 cabooses.
"More than a year ago [from March 1983], the International Car Division of Paccar, Inc., the nation's largest caboose manufacturer (with some models sticker-priced at $100,000), ceased production at its Kenton, Ohio, plant. Virtually zero business (from a 1969 peak when 300 cabooses were manufactured) was the stated reason for the closure." (Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1983)
(The Los Angeles Times story, above, was part of a larger story about the end of caboose operation. The story was synicated and carried in numerous newspapers nationwide as late as late August.)
February 20, 1983
The following comes from the Mansfield [Ohio] News Journal newspaper, February 20, 1983.
Caboose plant closes -- Kenton -- International Car Co., once the nation's leading manufacturer of railroad cabooses, has announced the closing of its Kenton plant.
As recently as 1981, the plant employed 209 people. The closing was announced this week by PACCAR of Bellevue, Wash., the parent company that is consolidating its rail car manufacturing operations at its much larger Pacific Car and Foundry Co. in Renton, Wash.
International Car was founded in Kenton in 1924 as New City Car Co. It built wooden rail cars. The plant was idle from 1939 to 1941, when it was purchased by an investor company and began to specialize in building cabooses. The plant once shipped 285 cabooses a year, 85 percent of the U. S. production.
PACCAR purchased the company from Nationwide Industries of Chicago in 1975 for $2.5 million, a time when International Car had annual sales of $10 million.
(The closure was covered by both Associated Press [AP] and United Press International [UPI], and the story was picked up in numerous newspapers nationwide, with varying degrees of coverage, from more complete stories, to severely edited versions of less than 50 words.)
(Another company controlled by Paccar was Pacific Car & Foundry, which stopped production in 1984 due to a collapse of the freight car market.)
Feb 25, 1940
Morrison Railway Supply of Buffalo, New York, bought the rails and track equipment of the abandoned Avon, Genesee & Mount Morris Railway.
March 23 1941
Morrison Railway Corp., sold 8000 feet of relay rail to the city of Cincinnati.
Nov 22, 1941
Morrison Railway Supply Corp., registered in Indiana to operate a railroad track reconditioning plant.
During 1944 and 1945, Morrison Railway Supply was operating a track equipment salvage plant in the Pennsylvania Railroad's Verona Yard (Pittsburgh area), Pennsylvania. There were regular want ads in Pittsburgh area newspapers asking for "Chippers and Laborers" as well as "Yard Men and Production Helpers."
Dec 27, 1950
Morrison Railway Supply was operating a plant in Birmingham, Alabama, manufacturing tanks for butane and propane gas. The company vice president, Marvin B. Morrison, was arrested at least three times as late as July 1951 for violating the local zoning laws concerning excess noise at the plant that manufactured tanks to hold gases.
April 16, 1951
Morrison Railway Supply was operating a rail salvaging plant in Marysville, Pennsylvania, under contract with PRR that received car loads of old rails, cuts off the ends, and re-drilled new bolt holes, all to allow re-use of old rail in non-critical locations on the railroad such as low-speed lines, freight tracks and yard service. The salvaged rails were known as "cropped rails" with a minimum length of 20 feet.
July 5, 1953
R. L. Morrison, of Morrison Railway Supply, has devised what was called the Morrison Plan, which would allow small companies and railroads to lease rail cars for short periods of time, paying monthly rent, instead of the industry standard of long-term leases and equipment trusts. The plan was meant to overcome a shortage of cars in the AAR interchange pool. (Quad City Times, July 5, 1953)
By November 1955, Raymond L. Morrison was president of both Morrison Railway Supply, and International Railway Car.
By July 1956, the company had become a diversified holding company, with its new subsidiary, Morrison Industries, Inc., buying control of three other Ohio industrial companies: Lake City Malleable Co. of Cleveland (malleable iron castings); Cambridge Glass Co. of Cambridge (glass products); and L. B. Lockwood Co., also of Cleveland (wood fibre conversion processing).
July 10, 1957
Morrison Railway Supply of Buffalo, New York, purchased the segment of the bankrupt New York, Ontario & Western Railroad between Norwich and Oswego, New York, with the intent of returning the portion to operation. (Scranton Tribune, July 10, 1957)