Heisler Builder's & Number Plates
Nelson Riedel, Nelson@NelsonsLocomotive.com
1/21/2014, last updated 01/26/2014

This past Fall Russ Kepler brought his beautiful Shay pictured above all the way from Albuquerque to the Logging Locomotive Meet at Mill Creek Central.  I was immediately envious of the number plate --- what a finishing touch!  Russ said he purchased the number plate as well as builder's plates which he hadn't installed yet from Robert Dustin.   I recalled that I got a catalogue from Dustin about ten years earlier so after the meet I got the catalogue out.  That catalogue was for 1:20 scale (garden railroads) but the data indicated that he could make any scale.   I emailed Dustin to get prices for 1.5" scale.   He quickly returned the prices as $45 for a number plate and $52 for a pair of builders plates, including taxes and shipping.   I sent him a check and got the plates about 6 weeks later.  

Robert Dustin' Contact information is: 

Robert Dustin
P.O. Box 77
Thompson, CT 06277
Phone/FAX (860) 923-0174

I copied the info from that old catalogue above to give more detail.

The plates are about 1/16" thick.   I made a fixture for the number plate consisting of a 1/8" thick disk slightly smaller than the number plate diameter and silver soldered the disk to a 10/32 threaded rod.  A clearance hole was drilled most the way through the smoke box door with the last 1/8" or so threaded 10/32.    The number plate was attached to the disk with hi temperature epoxy.   The fixture/number plate were then screwed into the door, aligned properly and secured in position  with a 10-32 nut. Photo at the right shows the edge of the number plate and fixture.


Photo above shows the front of the number plate.

Graphic above shows the available builder's plates.  

Once the the builder's plates arrived I did some research to determine where to mount them.    I checked my hundreds of photos of MRSR91 and couldn't any that showed the builder's plate or holes in the typical locations where the plate was attached. (Yes, I have photos that show that detail.)  My guess is that the MRSR91 plates were stolen or removed to prevent theft.  

A typical location for the builder's plate was on the frame above the front wheel  as shown in photo above.  

 The builders plate on Cass Heisler No 6 is attached to the frame gusset above the rear axel of the front truck as shown above.   I found a couple other photos of builders plates on late Heislers attached to this gusset so I located mine there.      

This is the actual builder's plate mounted on  Raccoon Valley Lumber No 2 using a pair of 0-80 screws.


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