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The Paintings of Leslie Ragan – Advertisements for the Budd Company, Part 1 Advertisements History

Well it might not be very Spring-like outside right now, but at least this week we did have a few days with some enjoyable temperatures. I’m not sure about all of you, but I’m certainly ready for the cold weather to be done. I always joke that my camera hibernates for the winter, which isn’t quite true, but I would much rather be taking photos of trains in some nicer weather (And yes, I suppose it is somewhat ironic that despite all that I took my recent vacation to Alaska). The good thing is that hunting for railroad ephemera is a hobby that doesn’t really require nice weather. While wandering around I happened to come across a cache of lovely artwork by famed railroad artist Leslie Ragan.

Now if you’re familiar with the blog, you may remember that I’ve already profiled Ragan, and have already gone on record with how much I love his paintings. Ragan did quite a bit of work for the New York Central, and some of it was featured on system timetables during World War II and the ensuing years. Of course Ragan didn’t work solely for the Central – he created works for a wide variety of companies and organizations – including the Seaboard Railway, the United Nations, and even the Woman’s Home Companion. But perhaps Ragan’s largest body of work were the paintings he did for the Budd Company, and used for many of their ads in the 1950′s. And it was one of those ads that seemed decidedly Spring-like, and inspired this post.


This beautiful painting by Leslie Ragan, which seems to set the mood for a long-awaited Spring, appeared in an advertisement for the Budd Company.

If you enjoy Ragan’s artwork as much as I do, this post will be a real treat, as we have quite a collection of Budd ads. So many that there will have to be a part 2 at some point in the future!

   
   
   

Budd did not only make trains – this advertisement was for car bodies, but I absolutely adore the artwork of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Comments
  • Beautiful artwork, very inspiring!

  • Al Cyone:

    I revisited (or, more likely, saw for the first time) your earlier post on Ragan and realized that I have long had a poster of his painting of the 20th Century Limited (without knowing anything about the artist). Thanks for the info.

  • Lee Winson:

    Neat stuff, thanks for posting it!

    Sadly, the Budd Company is gone. Their railway division (Red Lion) building in northeast Philadelphia was demolished to build a golf course.

    Budd had a special expertise in welding stainless steel, a metal that is difficult to work with, but is lightweight, strong, and long-lasting. Budd products were known to last, and many remain in regular service to this day, such as Amtrak’s Amfleet, the PATCO fleet, a few NYC subway cars, some RDCs, and some Amtrak legacy equipment. SEPTA just retired its 49 year old Budd Silverliners and they were in good shape despite their age.

  • William Hays:

    Was this the same artist that did the famous painting for General Motors? It showed a “Jimmy Junker” passing over a railroad. Unfortunately, for GM, the loco pulling the train was an Alco (FA, or PA), while GM was producing EMD units.

    Aside: I recently became a Caterpillar shareholder, since their buyout of Electro- Motive Diesel (Canada). I was always an Alco fan, with slight affection of Fairbanks-Morse. Baldwin, including B-L-H, and Electro Motive Division (both loved by the “Red Team” [PRR]) were not in my viewfinder very often. Now that BHO’s lap-dog, Jeff Immelt, is running GE, I will not buy anymore GE locomotives. Take that, Jeff!

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