Model Railroading Blog Post #15
ETE_BayArea_Newsletter_August_2017, Brian Hitchcock
I really like my Brawa PEZ cars shown in Photos 1-3 and I was wondering if the PEZ company ever had real box cars for shipping their products. I looked online and found the PEZ website us.pez.com. Under the history tab I learned that PEZ was created in 1927 in Austria. In German, peppermint is pfefferminz and taking the first and last letters, and an ‘e’ from the middle, we have PEZ. Originally PEZ were round peppermint candies marketed as an alternative to smoking. It turns out that it was difficult to build machinery to wrap the round peppermints so they had to be hand packed which increased costs. Changing to the familiar brick shape made it easy to mechanize the packing process.
Photo 1 Brawa 48022. Photo by Brian Hitchcock.
From the Brawa web site (brawa.de) I found the operating instructions for item 49057 which tells me that the prototype for this car was built as early as 1911. Therefore it is possible that the prototype of this model could have been used by the PEZ company in the 1900s to ship PEZ products. But could I confirm this? I couldn’t find any photos online of a real-world PEZ box car but the PEZ web site had a contact button so I asked them. They replied that it was a great question but they are not aware of any dedicated rail cars that had the PEZ logo on them.
Photo 2 Brawa 49057. Photo by Brian Hitchcock.
Photo 3 Brawa PEZ cars 48022 and 49057. Photo by Brian Hitchcock.
If I couldn’t confirm that there were prototype cars decorated like the models, perhaps I could try to confirm that the artwork on the models is accurate. Searching online for PEZ advertising I found many examples of artwork from the same time period and one example looked very similar to the models, see Photo 4. The way the PEZ package is drawn in the advertisment is very much the same as that on the models. While I can’t confirm that there ever were real boxcars decorated like my Brawa models, it seems likely that models are an accurate representation of what they would have looked like, if there had been such railcars, given the advertising art of the time.
Photo 4 PEZ Advertising artwork from 1950s.
The PEZ web site says that over 3 billion ‘bricks’ are consumed worldwide each year. How many could one of these box cars carry? The dimensions of a PEZ brick are 15mm x 8mm x 5mm and my HO scale ruler tells me the dimensions of these box cars are about 22’ x 8’ x 6’. Using these numbers I think we could get about 44 million PEZ candies in one boxcar. If I am going to ship 3 billion bricks on my railway, I’m going to need to move about 70 boxcars. I’m not sure how I get all those boxcars moved worldwide but I will work on that.
While looking into all this, I discovered that a Brawa 2017 new item is yet another PEZ boxcar item 47941. I will order this car to add to my roster. With three PEZ freight cars I can move about 130 million candies in each shipment. Then it will only take about 24 shipments to meet worldwide demand…it is good to have goals!
Thanks to AC Euro Trains for helping me get these Brawa cars!