Reddy Kilowatt

There are some brands that are not themselves railroad-owned, but they are as relevant to the modeling community as the most popular railroads. For example, as a manufacturer, we can expect demand for Cargill and ADM paint schemes to be as strong as Santa Fe and Conrail.

One brand that would have been a household name from the 1920 through 1970s is Reddy Kilowatt. Into the1930s, the overwhelming majority of rural areas were without electrical power. This new "electrical" technology represented a paradigm shift of significant proportions, and utility companies recognized that electricity was a tough sell for rural dwellers. Many of these individuals had never seen the benefits of electric power, and at the time, it couldn’t be taken for granted that one would know what electric power could do. Ashton Collins, the commercial manager for Alabama Power Company, sought a likeable character to give a face to electrical utilities industry. By the 1960s, Reddy Kilowatt was licensed for use by over 300 utilities.  These companies used the jovial image to relate to the public, and that includes, putting Reddy Kilowatt on freight cars!

 

 

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) produced this fun commercial using Reddy Kilowatt sometime between 1945 and 1960.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed a look into the past with Reddy Kilowatt. 

Happy railroading!

Blaine Hadfield

 


21 Responses

Dale A. Keller
Dale A. Keller

April 13, 2016

Modelers are " Ready " for “Reddy Kilowatt” !!! Just as Jim Fitch said regarding the Rio Grande Coal trains, there would be no combination better than the Rio Grande Flying logo with Reddy to go with it. Two classic company/industry logos on one car – I’ll take a dozen or more of them right now!!!!

JIM FITCH

March 27, 2016
D&RGW participated in the Reddy Kilowatt branding with their coal hauling too. Rio Grande’s first order toward their “Great Steel Fleet” of Bethlehem 100-ton 12-panel hoppers consisted of 125 of the new 47-foot 11-inch, 3,483-cubic-foot cars;built in May, 1964 and according to Jim Eager and was the only order adorned with the classic flying Rio Grande. Per the caption information about this car, it also has a “Randy Kilowatt” logo proclaiming that it’s carrying a load of Routt County Coal, and stencil assigning it to the Public Service Company of Colorado’s Cherokee power plant.

Adrian Neils
Adrian Neils

March 28, 2016

This LOGO used to be visible on my hometown’s power plant in Sheboygan, WI. . I grew up watching the Chicago and Northwestern railroad pull in coal loads in on a mainline that now is operated by Union Pacific. The power plant is massive and has a machine that rotates the coal hopper upside-down to empty it. Located on Lake Michigan.

wayne
wayne

March 28, 2016

Yes a Reddy Kilowatt hopper such as the Indianapolis would be good to model HOWEVER, the guys at EXACTRAIL need to be aware that Athearn are already scheduled to release a rapid discharge hopper featuring Reddy Kilowatt in July 2016 – for roadname MPSX as a single car and six car set. So perhaps Exactrail could produce a different roadname as per the photo of EWSX or similar.

Mel P
Mel P

March 28, 2016

Are you going to produce some “reddy kilowatt” coal cars with “RK” on them ??

Wa;ter Appel
Wa;ter Appel

March 27, 2016

Bar Mills made a Reddy Kilowatt roof top sign one of which adorns the top of a West Penn Power facility in Port Allegheny, PA on my HO scale Piedmont & Allegheny RY. Also received many Reddy handouts at public utility meetings when I worked as an investment analyst covering the industry.

Richard C orbett
Richard C orbett

March 27, 2016

Is this something that you will be offering thru Exact Rail ? Reddy Kilowatt I mean .

Doug Briggs
Doug Briggs

March 27, 2016

You need to make the Indianapolis version!

Todd Green
Todd Green

March 27, 2016

Yup, remember this character from my youth. Used by in Northern Minnesota by Minnesota Power and Light (MP&L).

Larry Olsen
Larry Olsen

March 27, 2016

Seeing the photo of the Indianapolis Power & Light hopper made me think back when I was a kid. I grew up in Indianapolis and remember a big billboard (might have been lighted) with Reddy Kilowatt. This was back in the 1950’s.

Jim Fitch
Jim Fitch

March 27, 2016

D&RGW participated in the Reddy Kilowatt branding with their coal hauling too. Rio Grande’s first order toward their “Great Steel Fleet” of Bethlehem 100-ton 12-panel hoppers consisted of 125 of the new 47-foot 11-inch, 3,483-cubic-foot cars;built in May, 1964 and according to Jim Eager and was the only order adorned with the classic flying Rio Grande. Per the caption information about this car, it also has a “Randy Kilowatt” logo proclaiming that it’s carrying a load of Routt County Coal, and stencil assigning it to the Public Service Company of Colorado’s Cherokee power plant.

The above information is from Jim Eager’s Color Guide to Freight & Passenger Equipment and the caption may erroneously refer to Reddy as Randy Kilowatt. It would be really great if ExactRail could offer that version of their 3483 ft coal car!

Cheers, Jim Fitch

Michael Maurer
Michael Maurer

March 27, 2016

“Reddy” for ExactRail to produce the cars! :-)

Shawn J. Sampsel Sr.
Shawn J. Sampsel Sr.

March 27, 2016

I do remember those advertisements, even living in New England. A lot of power generated there was from dams, so didn’t see the rail cars of the type depicted in the photo. That would be an interesting logo though, especially a layout representing the late 40s and 50s. Wouldn’t mind haveing a few in “N” scale myself.

Stuart Thayer
Stuart Thayer

March 27, 2016

Blaine,

Very interesting subject. I remember Reddy Kilowatt growing up int the 60’s and early 70’s. The character was recognizable as to what he stood for even to little kid growing up in Louisville, KY. I also find it interesting how some of the railroads and power companies were able to utilize him on their hoppers. Immediately I can think of the Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L) hoppers of the mid-60’s that were used in some of the first dedicated unit train operations in the country as well as the first order of D&RGW 4-bay 100 ton cars that came with the small Reddy Kilowatt logos on them. In fact, I like the PP&L cars so much that I am jealous of 60’s-era PRR modelers that get to model those trains. Being an L&N modeler we didn’t have any Reddy Kilowatt logo’d cars running around the hills of Eastern Kentucky unfortunately. Too bad…

Stuart Thayer

gary wise
gary wise

March 27, 2016

anyway you guys can start making n scale chip cars there in high demand…

thank you…

John
John

March 27, 2016

I am long familiar with Reddy Kilowatt. My father worked for the power company. Can we expect to see some Reddy Kilowat cars in the future from ER?

Kenneth Borg
Kenneth Borg

March 27, 2016

Yes, Reddy Kilowatt…your electric servent. At Detroit Edison Reddy was on the plant locomotves with an engineers hat and oil can. Actually DECo had a lot of Reddy in many different poses. I still have a plate and cup with Reddy on it earings too.

Michael Patey
Michael Patey

March 27, 2016

I live in Newfoundland, Canada and Reddy Kilowatt was used by Newfoundland Light & Power up till the late 1980’s. In fact he was on the doors of NL&P vehicles until the late 80’s hen NL&P shortened their name to Newfoundland Power. Around the late 80’s NP adopted Louie the Lightning Bug,

Vincent Sanders
Vincent Sanders

March 27, 2016

I remember these and others. Thanks for sharing. I would make a great decal to add to relevant cars. If you do a car like the picture you have here. Remember us N scalier. I would buy ten of so. Vincent Sanders.

Andre Cooper
Andre Cooper

March 27, 2016

I’ve always been fascinated with commercials from the past. Since I’m a Generation X child, I was not privy to those advertisements.

Norm
Norm

March 27, 2016

I have all the N scale and O gauge IPL cars, but I have yet to find the Indianapolis Power & Light cars with either the yellow or white back ground in HO.

Scott Roseland
Scott Roseland

March 27, 2016

I would love to get some Reddy cars for my power plant !!!

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