Models For Half A Century Plus

| January/February 1982

  • Betty Cole
    Betty Cole

  • Betty Cole

The Coles' Power Models business, founded over 50 years ago by Charles A. Cole, Sr., is thriving today under management of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Charles A. Cole, Jr.

The corporation is located at Ventura, California. Its clientele covers people in steam, gasoline and electric models, parts tools, supplies and books.

Charles A. Cole, Sr. was interested in steam from the age of 8, and built a small boiler and steam engine at age 10. He studied engineering at Stanford, served in World War I, and settled down to farming and gardening, but continued with steam as a hobby.

He built an English locomotive from castings, and then a steam-powered boat. He wanted to start a mail order business, and got his big break when he met Mr. Stuart-Turner of England at a Rotary convention in Chicago, and won permission to sell the Stuart line of models.

He got out a catalog, and then scaled the 1915 JI Case 65 steam traction engine to a 1 inch model. He made drawings and patterns and the Case has remained in the Cole line from that time forward.

The company's golden anniversary catalog, issued in 1978, shows photos of models. Some of the model makers credited are John V. McDivitt, of Sarver, PA; William H. Eisonlohr, of Bloomfield, NJ; and Walter E. Benson, Whitman, MA.