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The Magor Car Corporation

by Edward S. Kaminski


Magor jacket

The Magor Car Corporation, located in northern New Jersey at Clifton, was a significant railcar builder throughout much of the twentieth century. It had its origins in a partnership founded in 1899 by Basil Magor and Robert Wonham, which led in 1902 to a manufacturing operation called the Wonham-Magor Engineering Works.

In the first part of the century, Magor concentrated on export railcars, aided by its proximity to the port of New York. Basil's brother, Robert Magor, also became associated with the company, and in 1910 it became the Magor Car Company. It was incorporated in 1917 as the Magor Car Corporation; among its major stockholders was J.P. Morgan.

In 1914, Magor's first freight cars for revenue use on an American railroad were built, and such sales grew steadily thereafter, though export cars continued as the company's mainstay for some years. In 1918, Magor was among the many firms which built cars for the United States Railroad Administration as part of its effort to construct 100,000 standard freight cars.

During World Wars I and II as well as during the Korean conflict, Magor was called on for thousands of export cars for military needs, and was also a principal builder of cars for Europe under the Marshall Plan. In 1959, Magor built its first aluminum-bodied covered hopper cars, which were also the first to be placed in U.S. revenue service, and went on to build more than 5000 aluminum cars.

Magor's sale in 1964 to Fruehauf Corporation marked many changes in its activities, among which was the dissolution of the joint sales operation with National Steel Car Corp. of Canada, an arrangement in effect since Basil Magor founded that firm in 1911. Declining railcar sales during the 1960s led to Magor's closure in 1973. Magor was an important builder of American freight cars, though not one of the larger builders. Its history is a significant part of United States railroad history.

Car builder historian Ed Kaminski, author of American Car & Foundry Company,has assembled a broad and intriguing perspective on this New Jersey company's history, spanning its lifetime,1899-1973. In addition to several hundred photographs, nearly all of them never before published, advertising materials and catalog information make this a fascinating presentation.

Also available: Full reviews of this book as well as the Table of Contents of the book.


Particulars: The Magor Car Corporation,by Edward S. Kaminski
List price: $55     Size: 200 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 237 photos; extensive catalog pages, drawings and graphics, index
ISBN: 1-930013-04-3     Publication date: December 31, 2000
Distribution: Western Star Distributors, Lompoc, CA; or direct from publisher.