PFM Catalog photos for the
Gorre and Daphetid Reminiscence Project

By Chuck Kinzer March 8-11, 2006, Jan 10, 2010
Comments by Jeff Witt March 11-19, 2006

This document describes PFM catalog scans provided for research by the Gorre and Daphetid Reminiscence Project. This is a chronological reference for PFM catalogs and ads that have references to John Allen.

There are 13 PFM catalog pages or covers with John Allen’s work. Page number counting includes covers. File names number the front cover as "page 001" and the back cover as "page 999" for convenience. Early catalogs had no page numbers. Later ones numbered the front cover as page one.

PFM catalogs are not specifically dated except the 3rd edition has some supplements for the “1958” catalog. The dates shown are from the PFM publication Pacific Fast Mail – 25 Years of Fine Models at page 94.

The catalogs, the John Allen content, and the Filenames:

Loose leaf catalog: (1954) Small ring binder with brown leatherette cover with individual sheets for PFM products and also companies that PFM distributed at the time such as Kemtron and Binkley. PFM would create new sheets to augment or upgrade this catalog.  A Kemtron data sheet features the Thomas Flyer (rumored to be inspired by John Allen’s inspection car) and there are photos of built models, but they are attributed to others than John Allen. There are no John Allen references in this catalog.

1st edition: (1955) First printed PFM catalog. There are no John Allen references in this catalog.  It has the same cover design (but different color) as the 2nd and 3rd editions, but does not reference an edition number.


There has been some confusion over the existence of this catalog.  Pacific Fast Mail - 25 Years of Fine Models” by Phil and Ruth Kohl does not mention this copy.  They call the loose leaf version “Catalog No. 1” and the rest starting with the 2nd edition “Catalog No.  2 through No. 13”.  While rare, copies surface occasionally.  A telephone call to Phil Kohl in 2009 confirmed that they were not aware of this catalog edition.


There has also been a mystery about a reprint of this catalog and about as many copies of this have appeared as the original.  Pages show original flaws of the original meaning an original catalog was used as art for the reprint.  The reprint does not have dot screened photos resulting in high contrast photos with details washed out.  But the catalogs seem commercially produced and old, having a patina, slight oxidation on staples, unusual staple size (larger than the original), and edge trimming after assembly (although about 1/8 inch longer than the original).  Further confirmation of age is that some have surfaced in estate sales along with other items from the period.  Phil Kohl doubted that Jim Ryan (founder of PFM) would have produced a lower quality reprint like this.  But at this time, it can only be speculated whether these were made by PFM, some hobby shop, or perhaps a Canadian distributor.     

2nd edition: (1956) There are no John Allen references in this catalog.

3rd edition: (1957)


4th edition: (1958)


5th edition: (1959)

Jeff Witt: I added the page showing the ATSF Berkshire 4100 class, one of which became #43 (this loco was incorrectly identified as a 2-10-2 in "The Book." Compare it to the pictures of Number 43 in the "Locomotives" Gallery.

Files: PFM_CAT-ED05-015-600_70.jpg (whole page)

6th Edition: (1960)


7th Edition: (1962)

·  Front cover – Shay

·  Rear cover – Sierra 2-6-6-2


8th Edition: (1963)

No John Allen references

9th Edition: (1964)

No John Allen references

10th Edition: (1965)

Page 14 – SP Pacific. Same photo as in 6th edition, but much larger. John Allen not credited.

File: PFM_CAT-ED10-014-600_70.jpg (whole page)

11th Edition: (1966)

No John Allen references

12th Edition: (1967)


13th Edition: (1969)

No explicit John Allen references. However, there is a posed Golden Spike ceremony with many unusual figures that looks like John Allen’s work, as does the photo quality and lighting.

Thanks to Jeff Witt for identifying figures from Varney ads, and probably elsewhere. John Allen figures were clearly used which strongly suggests John Allen posed and took this photo.

Certain very recognizable figures are also seen in various articles and Varney ads on back covers of Model Railroader.


Several years pass with no catalogs. (John Allen passes away in 1973.)

1st Half 1976 Product Brochure: (1976)
14th Edition: (1978)
15th Edition: (date unknown)
No John Allen references in any of these editions.

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Copyright © 2006 Peter T. Prunka, Charles Kinzer and Jeffrey L. Witt