Thursday, December 3, 2015

Care for a Game of Chance?

As we have noted before, the 36 is the only preserved car with brackets for holding up portable tables.  These were used for playing cards, often by regular commuters.  But as far as I know, there are no such tables from the CA&E in existence.

From the Johnson historic photo collection, this is the only picture I've seen of such a table in use.  This is not one of the wood cars, and the table itself doesn't appear to be fastened to the wall; it's just supported on the players' knees.  But it gives a good idea of the general size and shape.  It's a very dark color, which I'll take to be black.  And if you look closely, you can see that it has the CA&E herald painted on it, although faded.

So here's my repro card table, after I got the hooks to latch onto the brackets in the wall correctly.   It needs another coat of paint or two, and then I can letter it.  Nick was visiting yesterday, and he says these would be supplied by the conductor, who would receive tips in return.  I haven't yet figured out where this could be stored on the car, however.

Now if anybody wants to try making some money as a con man by luring gullible passengers into a rigged card game, it's fine with me.  I could even make some more tables if there's a need.  Just remember, though:  we always get our cut.   Or else!


Joe S. said...

I have seen some North Shore ones at the museum, but I don't remember them being marked for the railroad. I think they were Seagrams 7 branded. They are kind of flimsy and designed to sit on people's knees. I also saw a picture of a Milwaukee Road version recently, I'm not sure how many railroads use to carry these. An interesting detail we don't think about too often.

Out of curiosity, how much are the Hick's conductors planning to charge to loan these out?

Randall Hicks said...

Thanks, Joe, I didn't know we had any from the North Shore. Nick has one from the Milwaukee Road, that may be what you are thinking of. It's somewhat larger because the seats are wider on a steam road car. Mine is pretty flimsy, too. You really need a folding leg to support any real weight.

Joel Ahrendt said...

I think I've seen some on the IT train as well, but don't quote me.

Randall Hicks said...

The IT 234 has at least one tray table, which also hooks onto the wall although the fittings and dimensions are different. It's designed for food service, so it's more heavily built and has a large folding leg for support. I thought I had some pictures of it somewhere but can't find them now.

Anonymous said...

They also had them on the Key Systems's Bridge Units; but they were not as nice as the one you have. They did not have a railway Logo on them.

They are an interesting piece of railroad history. Does anyone play bridge anymore?
My parents were crazy about the game!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

I think the guys in the picture must be playing poker. It looks like the stakes are up to 15 cents. Certainly not bridge.

Brian J. Patterson said...

Hello, Randy.

First, if I were you, I'd put legs on the outboard ends of your tables to keep them from being ripped out of the wall. A simple "T" type leg with a single foot will do nicely.

The tables were probably stored behind the seats that butt up against the bulkheads. This would keep them close-at-hand but out of the way when not in use. The table looks great so far.


Brian J. Patterson.

Randall Hicks said...

I'm still pondering the possibility of installing a drop leg, so I'll keep you posted. And there are no seats against the bulkheads; this car has basically no spare storage space.

Anonymous said...

I see what looks like a table leg in the first photo. Again, looks like a wide board was used and a hole was cut out in the center Man facing camera by the window has his left foot up on the car heater.
Dwight winkley