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  #1  
Old 02-16-2005, 01:12 PM
xx TheMonk xx
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Default What does HO, O, etc... stand for.

Hi,

Ok I know that HO is the smallest scale version of cars, trains etc. But what do the letters HO stand for?

For that matter what does "O scale" stand for? 1/32 and 1/24 are pretty straight forward but I'm not sure what HO and O mean.

Just curious really. Thanks again!
Monk
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2005, 09:32 PM
oldstromguy
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Default I think this one got lost somwhere....but.....

HO stands for Half O...as in "half the size of "O" gauge. I think it started with model trains.
Some others here will know more about it.
Now, as to what exactly "O" gauge is, that's another question that I cannot answer.
FWIW, it seems folks use "O" gauge train scenery for 1/32 slot car tracks.
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2006, 05:50 PM
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Kerry Kerry is offline
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Default You asked for it!

I manufacture model trains and get scale/gauge questions from time to time...
Gauge is the distance between the rails. Standard gauge is 4' 8 1/2". Which relates to horses and roads in Roman times. Really, it does! There are other gauges like 5' in South America as well as many narrow gauges around the world including North America: 3' for the Denver and Rio Grande Western.
Scale is different: a fraction of actual size.
"O" is 1/48 scale which is 1/4" to the foot.
"G" was Gauge 1 and was originally 1/32, but now there are several scales which use the same gauge track. For the long-winded version:
http://www.thortrains.net/Gscale1.html
USA Trains (usually 1/29 is the closest)
Since the English don't say Zero, it became "O"
Properly HO Scale (Half "O") is 1/87.1 despite half "O" being 1/96!
"HO" slot cars (derived from Hot Wheels size) are actually 1/64.

So using 1/32 scale trains would dwarf the cars (just like real life), but some model railroaders use smaller scales to give depth to a scene or to hilight the trains...

Kerry
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:50 PM
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O scale is 1/4" equals 1 foot, or 1/48 scale. "Oh" is Zero, from this system, invented by toy manufacturers nearly 100 years ago:

#O gauge: 1.25" between the rails, nominally 1/48 scale, but actually 1/48 scale bodies on 1/45 scale track gauge
#1 gauge: about 1/32 scale
#2 gauge: bigger still; forgot what it is! I think it was also called "Standard Gauge".

Later, smaller trains were christened Half O (HO), and were to 1/87 scale, which is 3.5mm=one foot. OO was also made in England, with gauge (distance between the rails) at 1/87 scale, but the bodies of the locos and cars at 1/76 scale (4mm=1 ft). This is also called "British HO", and is used today for trains by Hornby (who owns Scalextric). They were once called Hornby Dublo (double oh). Half of O (1/48) is 1/96, or 1/8"=1 ft, another architect's scale, used only for model ships.

Even smaller trains were made to N gauge (1/160 scale), TT gauge (Table Top), or 1/120 scale (.1"=1 ft), followed by Z gauge, or 1/220 scale. Military models of tanks are made in 1/285 scale by GHQ for war games, and in 1/300 scale by others. Ship models are currently made in 1/350 and 1/720, as well as 1/1200 for naval war games.

As pointed out so accurately, so-called HO slot cars are 1/64 scale, NOT 1/87, and are really in S scale. S scale trains are in 1/64 scale, or 3/16" = 1 foot. They used to be made by American Flyer. Hot Wheels are often around 1/64.

Now, it is also true that 1/43 collector's model cars are 7mm=1 foot, which IS truly twice HO at 3.5=1 ft.

1/24th is half-inch=one foot. 1/25th is a decimal system invented in Detroit by the auto industry, where everyone used inches and decimal inches.

1/32 is 3/8"=one foot, which you can find on architect's scales. It is not a metric scale, although nearly every company that produces 1/32 slot cars functions with the metric system.

1/35th is a military model scale, invented in Japan for use with the metric system.

1/72, or Pica Scale, is used for model aircraft, and is one inch=6 feet. Printers used to use Points and Pica scales.
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2006, 11:54 AM
wiganerinwales wiganerinwales is offline
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Smile O gauge in UK

O gauge model railways in the UK are to a scale of 1/43 (or 1/43.5), rather than the 1/48 used in North America. Hence HO being 'Half O' at 1/87. I recall reading on a website the reason HO slot cars are to 1/64, rather than 'true' HO and it is something the do with the licenced manufacture of the long defunct British system Model Motoring in the USA. The system was marketed as OO in the UK, but as OO means little in America the nearest familiar scale (HO) was used. The cars grew a little in size to 1/64 but the HO tag stuck. Apologies to whoever explained this far better on their own website.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:53 PM
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I had thought that Dennis Allenden modelled in "Continental O" (he's an ex patriate Brit living in France, with many magazine articles about his fabulous models) which is 1/43, or 7mm to the foot. Be that as it may be, thanks for the further info, Mr. W.
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:57 AM
wiganerinwales wiganerinwales is offline
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I believe the French version of O gauge is the same as the British (1/43.5), while the German version (1/45) is popular in the rest of Europe. All I know is that they are all different from the main two home slot racing scales and I look at the amount of scenic accessories available to railway modellers with with envy!

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  #8  
Old 01-18-2006, 04:09 PM
idontbelieveitsbutter idontbelieveitsbutter is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PT Fan
I manufacture model trains and get scale/gauge questions from time to time...
Gauge is the distance between the rails. Standard gauge is 4' 8 1/2". Which relates to horses and roads in Roman times. Really, it does! There are other gauges like 5' in South America as well as many narrow gauges around the world including North America: 3' for the Denver and Rio Grande Western.
Hey here in Australia we have 3 differant size gauges for the railways (dumb, I know) 3 foot 6 inchs (in queensland) 4 foot 8 inchs( in new south wales) and 5 foot 6 inches ( in victoria) I think thats how they go

cheers
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:24 AM
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Broad Gauge was 8 feet on the Great Western (UK) and the Erie (USA) in the formative days of railroading. This allowed very stable running at high speed (on the Great Western), with large boilers. In some ways it was a better choice than the Roman wagon based gauge of 4' 8.25", which was really based on the width of a horse, which determined the width of the vehicle it pulled.
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2006, 08:31 AM
dgersh dgersh is offline
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Default HO down

HO cars were originally made to accompany trains, not really as a standalone system, hence that choice of scale. At the beginning, it was touch and to in the marketing departments if they were going to be sold as racing or road systems... They were probably a bit oversized already, even in the original Playcraft/Aurora versions that had a fairly small vibrator type motor (ca 1959-60).

The inflation to about 1/64 had nothing to do with Hot Wheels as far as I know, but simply because the original DC motors were too big for an actual HO scale body, so the bodies were "distorted", proportionally of course, to fit the chassis made by Aurora, Atlas, Tyco, etc. This was - and is - done by most slot car manufacturers, at least to some extent. The early Scalextric and Strombecker cars were more 1/30 than 1/32, etc. - among other reasons, the motors they used wouldn't have fit under true 1/32 bodies.

Don
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