Art Déco – GEM second part – freight cars

Art Deco – GEM second part – the freight wagons

(by P.G.)

cat art deco

Although we have already spoken of this brand in the article “Umberto Boccioni – Biaggi – GEM”, I find that its wagons ….

… have a special charm, they deserve to be treated in more detail and may constitute itself the subject of a small but valuable collection.
Generally GEM packaging (not all) have a beautiful “Art Deco” illustration  on the cover …

… The sets contain from two to six wagons … ..

… and they can be equipped or not with tracks ….
Between 1947 and 1952, these wagons were sold individually.
We present here, first of all, some unpublished photos of the locomotives contained in the sets and intended to tow small freight convoys :
The “Prairie” 1-3-1 first version GEM M 5 ….

also called, probably because of his running gear, “680” as the Conti similar model ….

…the 1-3-1 second version GEM M 5A…. .

… The “Mogul” 1-3-0 GEM M 4 ….

… Or, more rarely, the “Porter” 1-2-0 GEM M 3.

The latest GEM packaging, like this, probably 1954, with four wagons ….

… could hold the locomotive GEM A5A ….

… The only equipped with a relay for the remote inversion.
And here, in chronological order,


the sheets instructions (I know three different) content in the packs,


subject of this article.

Freight wagons GEM appear only partially in the catalog ….

…. all have a common metal platform, typical of the brand hooks in nickel plated steel or burnished brass, bakelite wheels with semi-hollow axle which rotates on a steel pin inserted in the bushes under the leaf springs.

Let’s start with the wagon with high sides with cargo of stone as was defined at the era….

… With the sides in printed and burnished sheet and cork fragments which intend to represent the “stones”: in those years as well as GEM also PVZ, Conti and others used this raw material or painted in white or black to play stones coal.
This wagon, however, comes with four beautiful fuel drums in turned and painted wood with the labels of four oil companies ….

gem12 ….

Held by a double chain of burnished brass

It existed in two versions, with slightly different drums.

We could not miss in the GEM range transport wagon wood …

With miniature beams polished with wax and in metal stants brass.

cera Grey
Particularly interesting is the chariot-cranes which we have already spoken in the article on these vehicles …

… With the arm made of sheet pressed steel and burnished, which rotates on a brass support turned fixed in turn to the frame by means of screw and nut. It looks a bit to the arm of the crane Rivarossi wagon,  perhaps it was produced too  it by Marchesini (BO), however, unlike that of Como Company, does not bring the “AM” acronym.
Very nice also this wagon with the red tank of the “Standard” made of welded sheet metal with burnished steel accessories.

In the 50 “Eagle” was a popular fuel brand in Italy. GEM also reproduced a “wagon-barrel”, as
like this


and called “transportation fuel oil tank”, that was proposed first in black ….

… and then in silver with the inscription “GEM” in red ….

It also existed a wagon-barrel that I do not own, the same color, but with the words “GEM” in blue.

The catalog also indicates a Shell wagon that I only saw in bad conditions

In the second part of the article on “Allard -Au Pullmann” we spoke of  “Wagons-Foudre” or chariot with wooden barrels for wine shipping, very popular to the age in France than in Italy. This is, in my opinion, the first car of this type played in Italy in HO / OO …

… With the two barrels wooden made they turned yellow with silver hoops, or with wooden barrels waxed and polished ….

This freight car, devoted to transport wine, brings the written of the Chianti producer Adolfo Giannini …. . It has two wooden vertical


anks turned …

… With ladder and platform plated burnished steel.
We speak now of the GEM wagons for transportation vehicles.
The cargo consists of Mercury vehicles in the series “Micro”, the solution adopted at the era also by PVZ, Conti and later Pocher.
This wagon carries a pickup truck with an open body fixed to the floor with a single screw … 

The Mercury trucks


could also be of various other colors

The floor of the next image …

… .trasport a new model FIAT 1400 (first series), produced by Mercury promptly upon presentation at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1950. Note that it was the first car of the Turin Company made bearing body and its American-lines fit perfectly in the “Art Deco” style.

Returning to the car transport wagons, the two described below are supplied with two “Topolino C” of different colors,


produced too them from Mercury.

The 500 C is one of the symbols of the Italian revival of the post-war (1949) …

… And also Conti, as well as GEM, chose rightly, to be carried on all his chariots …

A car that Italians of the era supposedly considered “luxury” was the Lancia Aurelia

Perhaps for this reason  GEM choosed as a load for his floor …

And for the same reason, I think, he manned another


with a Cadillac.


Among the cars a bit exotic’s age could not miss a beautiful red Studebaker …

… .or a greenish … Aero.

… All combined in this set with a GEM M5A locomotive

To conclude the series of GEM cars with Mercury, here are two other vehicles, the one with a “tipper truck tarpaulin” ….

The other with a truck-crane …


Testimonials too of the economic effort, technical and social of Italy after World War II, the GEM freight cars are much harder to find than all the era produced by Rivarossi, Maerklin and Trix ……


but look the images , they speak for themselves … !!! ….

continues in the third part


and then something about Art Deco by clicking on the above image

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