- Inquiring minds want to know.....
Your questions about the origins of boxcar red caught my interests. I didn't
have a clue to the answer. So I did a bit of research, and here's what I
found (which matches up well with Charles' post):
First used on barns as a wood primer to protect the wood from the weather.
This crude paint was made from commonly available components going back over
eons of time:
** Linseed Oil (obtained from the seed of the flax plant, Linum
** Iron oxide powder (hence the color)
"Iron oxide is also know as Hematite, red iron oxide, Jeweler's Rouge. >
> Hematite is a mineral, the most abundant ore of iron. It is composed of ferriciron, as a pigment and as mineral specimens.">
> oxide (Fe2O3). Widely distributed over the world, it occurs in rocks of all
> ages as rhombohedral crystals. Typical applications: Very important ore of
>Early 1800's boxcars were also made of wood, and it was natural to use an
accepted form of wood protection (i.e., barns) for rolling stock as well. More
modern forms of the primer/paint were used when steel boxcars came on the
If you use your favorite search engine on "boxcar red," you'll find no answer
to its origin, but you will find about 8,000 posts on modeler's debating what
the "correct" color of boxcar red really is. Instead, search on Iron Oxide
and Paint, and you'll find my reference sources.
Thanks for asking the question so I could get smarter.
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