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New Maxwell House plant

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 7:48 AM

Interesting about using coffee cans for a layout.  Nothing wrong with that!  I stumbled upon other household items that can get used on a layout:

https://www.modelrailroadacademy.com/article/common-household-items-can-use-model-railroad-scenery/

 

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 6:36 AM
That's pretty cool. I never thought a Coffee plant would look like a Chemical Plant..
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Posted by KEVIN TAYLOR on Sunday, June 16, 2019 3:24 PM
Anyone have any Maxwell House pics near Milby Street from the 1980s? Planning to model Milby Street Roundhouse as it would have looked in 1983.
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Posted by leighant on Saturday, December 22, 2012 11:43 AM

I grew up about a mile and a half from the Maxwell House plant in the east end of Houston, Texas on Harrisburg Boulevard.  Houston Belt and Terminal's Milby Street enginehouse was only one block west.  Both the coffee plant and the enginehouse are still there, although the corporate ownerships have changed.

This is how Maxwell House looked from next to the enginehouse (a 1994 view taken as close as I could get w/o trespassing)

The plant was bought by Maximus Coffee Group in 2006 and the animated sign with the dripping last drop came down in 2007 according to wikipedia. Wikipedia says that building was 16 stories tall.  Coffee roasting plants tend to be tall with a lot of vertical elements because of a process that roasts "green" coffee beans in a heated air current up a vertical cylinder, where the beans are continually blown upward while being cooked.

I often saw the plant from the east side while riding the bus to attend Rice University in the 1960s.  This is another 1994 view from a couple blocks east on Harrisburg.

Lots of vertical machinery and "stuff".  Most of the higher stuff was fairly industrial and utilitarian, except for the band of red-brown brick near the top of the highest structural tower.   Foreground left is Stewart and Stevenson, distribution and sales of heavy trucking equipment.  Railroad service to Maxwell House was on Galveston, Houston and Henderson tracks on side 1 1/2 blocks south from Harrisburg.  I was especially interested in the variations of building style on the side facing Harrisbug, the "public face" of the plant.

According to Ray Miller's Guide to Houston, the oldest part of the plant building had been an automobile assembly plant during the 1920s.  That would be the portion in the right half of this picture, with fancy red-brown brickwork, stone footings and pediments, multiple small window panes, and interesting caged rotating casement windows on the second level.  The original construction has been modernized with bottom floor windows bricked in.

The section to left, probably a warehousing facility, is built of concrete panels with embedded small rock, probably tilt-up panels, approximating a color close to the stone architectural details of the old building.  One band of red-brown brick echoes the color of the old building.

As the plant expanded westward along Harrisburg, the appearance of the old unit was copied in successively more modern, stylized and simplied form.  The tallest section in the middle of the complex, built of the same red-brown brick, continues the bays and stone pediments, and bases of the older section, but omits the stonework details above the first floor windows, and omits bays entirely on all higher floors.

Finally the section on the far right has become modern, simple, sleek, without bays or much architectural detailing.  But it retains the red-brown brick and frames, and brackets the anodized-metal-framed glass formal entrance with smooth stone slabs that approximate the color of the fancified stonework of the original section.

I notice that the Houston building has a color and appearance somewhat similar to a Maxwell House plant in Jacksonville, Florida shown on wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maxwell_House_Jacksonville.JPG

Wikipedia also says Maxwell House had an older plant in Hobokenm New Jersey, now demolished with a huge rooftop sign visible across the river in Manhattan.  The Micro Structures animated lighted sign (Walther's #502-4181) is said to be based on a New Jersey rooftop prototype.

I once planned to have a condensed and freelanced coffee plant in the Big City of my ultimate gargantuan dream layout.  That layout would have required construction of a 25 x 30 foot model train "palace," to be built when I became rich.

I bought a Walther's Brach's Candy Factory to be the basis of my coffee plant.    That kit, now discontinued, uses the same parts as the currently-offered American Hardware: http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/933-3253

Since my layout represents mid-1950s, I would use the kit for the older portion of the plant, and have only one slightly-modernized newer section.

As a free-lanced industry, I thought I would give it  a name based on the initials of the Texas affiliate of the ATSF, Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe.  But "Colorado" doesn't sound very coffee-related.  So G&C could stand for "Gulf and Caribbean," a little more coffee-appropriate.  "G&C means Good Coffee!"

Well, I have decided I am probably not going to strike it rich and build that monster train "palace" so I have simplified my ambitions to model just the Island Seaport of Karankawa (based on Galveston).  And no coffee-roasting plant.  But coffee traffic can continue at a reduced level with a ship cargo of "green" coffee beans into my port every 8 or 10 operating sessions, producing six or eight boxcar loads consigned to go to the G&C plant in Santa Vaca (unmodeled but still existing in my imagination via staging.)  Once every dozen or 15 operating sessions, a boxcar of canned coffee can be routed from the non-existent G&C plant to Island Mercantile which operates grocery stores in Karankawa.  (Not modeled but served via team track next to the Santa Fe freight house...)

And the Brach's Candy Factory can be "unwrapped" and rearranged to 2-stories high to represent the front of the dockside cargo sheds that hide my passenger train layover staging. (Here in mockup):

 Now, I have a mind to go brew myself a cup or two of Java.

 

 

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Posted by jbu50 on Saturday, December 22, 2012 10:11 AM

Progress update on Maxwell House. 12/22/2012. The sign is temporary until I make my own.

John

The Dames Point Industrial Railroad

http:\\dpirr.blogspot.com

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Posted by UPinCT on Friday, December 21, 2012 7:41 PM

Hi John,

On the sign, just realize with the Miller signs, that they do have a selectable animation pattern.  Some if not all can up to 40 different patterns.  All the signs connect to a control/power module where there is a button to select the pattern.  I had the advantage of buying mine at a show so I was able to get a demo of all the flash patterns available.  Not sure of all the animation looks on the Maxwell House sign.

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Posted by leighant on Friday, December 21, 2012 2:57 PM

Maxwell House (now under a different name) had a big plant in Houston, Texas one block from from the Houston Belt & Terminal Milby Street engine facility.  I have shot several pix over the years as it changed.  (Was originally an AUTO assembly plant in the 1920s!)  I'll have to hunt up some of these and scan em to post here.

(shameless admission.  I make this post hinting I may have something substantial to add later, so I can go to "my discussions" and find this in a hurry when I DO track down the pictures.)

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Posted by jbu50 on Friday, December 21, 2012 1:30 PM

At Dave's suggestion, and a good one, I am re-posting the updated Maxwell House plant to this thread rather than creating a new one. For those that have not seen it yet, 

There is an animated sign out there that has the coffee dripping but I think I am going to try and make my own. Not sure if it will flash but hopefully I can at least get it lit up.

John

The Dames Point Industrial Railroad

http:\\dpirr.blogspot.com

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:41 PM

Me again!

Did a little research and found this:

http://www.bakatronics.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=338

The flash sequence is not exactly what you want because it has two lights on at a time, but heck - that will just look like your coffee is dripping faster.

You could send them a note to ask if they can provide yellow LEDs (if yellow LEDs will work with the circuit - can't see why they wouldn't).

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 20, 2012 8:25 PM

Hello again John:

There is a Maxwell House animated sign available on eBay right now. The asking price is about $41.00 plus shipping. Here is the listing (This is the Canadian version):

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Animated-Billboard-Sign-Maxwell-House-Coffee-HO-O-Miller-4181-NEW-/120984421260?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item1c2b3bc38c

If you scroll down the listing you can see the animation working. Quite frankly I am somewhat disappointed because there really isn't a whole lot happening on the sign. If you ignore the "Good to the last drop" which appears to flash brighter and then dimmer, all you have is three drops going from brown to yellow sequentially. I am not an electronic genious (far from it!) but I suspect that you could mimmick the three drops with some yellow LEDs behind clear brown plastic and a simple flasher circuit. The rest of the sign would not be difficult to make up, that is depending on your artistic skills. Perhaps you could scan an older Maxwell House label to get the cup part. On the new labels the cup is reversed and lacks the red and blue accents. Check out Tomkat-13's sign thread - he might have what you need.

Perhaps some of our electronic wizzards can make some suggestions.

Dave

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, December 20, 2012 4:51 PM

Now all you have to do is put a shelf under the plant for a coffee machine.  Look, Ma, prototypical smells...

Chuck (Maxwell House drinker modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 20, 2012 4:18 PM

Hey John!

There is always Santa Claus!

Also, there is an animated kit available from the same company for about half the price which would allow you to animate part of a scratch built sign:

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/502-2502

Dave

 

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Posted by jbu50 on Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:52 AM

Oh my goodness! Curse you Dave! Big Smile I did not need to see that. Guess I better save a few more pennies.

John

The Dames Point Industrial Railroad

http:\\dpirr.blogspot.com

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Posted by UPinCT on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:27 PM

looking Great John.

Keep the photos coming as you finish each step

Derek

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:29 PM

John:

Are you aware of this sign?

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/502-4181

Dave

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Posted by jbu50 on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 2:56 PM

Right now the loads in are coffee beans, metal and plastic cans. All in boxcars. Loads out is, what else, coffee! The tanks are for another industry in front of this one. I also have to print and mount the Maxwell House log on the front somewhere. Complete with coffee cup dripping one last drop.

John

The Dames Point Industrial Railroad

http:\\dpirr.blogspot.com

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Posted by stokesda on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 2:53 PM

Nice job so far!

I'm always interested in industries that people have on their model RRs. From the loco in the foreground, I assume you model more-or-less the modern era. What kind of inbound/outbound cars and loads serve the factory? Does the factory include the tanks in the foreground, or is that a different industry?

Dan Stokes

My other car is a tunnel motor

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New Maxwell House plant
Posted by jbu50 on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:28 AM

Well I hated the look of my old Maxwell House plant so I am in the process of scratch building a new one from plaint sheet styrene and styrene strips. The pictures show the unpainted building which I just completed last night along with adding the roof. The walls are a sand color and the roof is brown. I will send some additional pics of that. Now to add mega roof details as the real plant has all sorts of stuff on the roof.

John

The Dames Point Industrial Railroad

http:\\dpirr.blogspot.com

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