Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Borden's Butterdish Milk Car - the Prototype

My F&C model along with a photo received from John Nehrich to help me with the end details.
Borden's Butterdish Milk Cars
 Re-post from May 2012

My favourite milk cars which also is a unique style, is the Borden's butterdish milk car. In my next post I will discuss the construction of two F&C kits that Warren Dodgson and I built. The Borden's buttedish car has been produced as a model kit and also in brass. In brass Nickel Plate Products and Railworks Brass each offered a finished model. As a kit Red Ball Models and Funaro and Camerlengo each offered a nice option. F&C still has the butterdish car available on its web site. At one point Walthers was advertising a finished butterdish milk car. I do not think it was ever released.

The Borden's butterdish cars could be found on trains running on the D&H, Rutland, Lehigh Valley, DL&W, NYO&W, Erie and the NYC. I have yet to see a photo of a  Borden's butterdish car on the Central Vermont Ry., MEC or B&M. I have though seen a photo of two butterdish cars in Eagle Bridge on the D&H which connects with the B&M in town. One wonders if it arrived along the B&M main line.

The butterdish cars were a rebuild from Borden's wooden milk cars. It appears they may have picked the cars for rebuilding at random. Not all the wooden milk cars may have been rebuilt. One could see both the butterdish and wood side cars though the years in the same consists. With this in mind the butterdish numbering would not be in any particular series. It was reported that 35 cars saw conversions to the butterdish style. There has not been enough photo evidence found to confirm all the facts stated in reports made. Cars that are known to be butterdish cars are BFIX 503-516-520-521-523-537. One butterdish car, #520  is preserved at the Illinois Ry, Museum in Union, Ill.

The butterdish cars originally had a top fin and two end fins. Later during the war the top fin was removed for scrap metal purposes. The end fins on some car also were removed at a later date. I would think the fins are of cosmetic design and not of structural value.

As built the cars may have been white or silver in colour with black lettering. In the later part of the 1940's, the colour scheme changed to a Chinese lantern red-orange, will yellow cut out sheet metal lettering. The last views in the 1950's show aluminium coloured bodies with black lettering.

This photo view a Borden's butterdish car in chemical service.
Last Uses...
In the mid to late 1950's the butterdish milk cars changed usage. They went from  hauling milk to glue ingredients while others just became storage. Ingredients used in the making of Elmer's glue was reported moving over the D&H in these cars. A photo of BCDX 1006 is seen on the D&H during that era. The photo above views BCDX 1025. Elmer's Glue-all commercial sales began in 1947 and really took off during 1951.

The reporting marks became BCDX  in the 1000 series. In my New England Railroad Heritage No. 1 (1997) booklet I listed the 25 cars that ran in chemical service during 1957. It is interesting to note that cars 516 became 1016, 521 to 1021 and 523 to 1023. You would wonder if the other first numbers were only changed leaving the last two digits the same. If this was the case than we could assume which Borden's cars did live on but does not confirm which are butterdish cars.
Borden's butterdish car totals... originally built - 35
                                                            1957 - 25
                                                            1960 - 22
                                                            1965 - 12

The 12 Borden's chemical cars left in 1965 are 1006, 1007, 1008, 1010, 1018, 1019, 1021, 1024, 1028, 1030, 1031, 1032, but one does not know if all or any were butterdish cars....George Dutka


  1. Found a photo of this car, Silver with NO fins, top or sides. So I wonder if any BLUE versions had no side fins. I am building mine with no top fin and what to know. Also heard that the blue versions were only for glue. Anyone know if this is true?

    1. Hi Tom:
      Photo evidence is the best way...have not seen any blue cars so can not help out on that...but all photos in later years show the top fin removed, at least the ones that I have seen. There last use was glue so any seen into the mid-1960's are glue cars...George