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The Observation Platform

by Louis Hertz

In February of 1952 Lou Hertz became the new publisher and editor of the magazine Electric Trains, which was owned by Fox-Shulman Enterprises, Inc. The first article to appear in the initial issue of Electric Trains after Lou become conductor and engineer of this all too short-lived magazine was a letter from the editor, appropriately titled "The Observation Platform." Fifty years later we believe that the words that Lou wrote are as true today as they were then. We've copied his observations into this article word for word except for the substitution of Tinplate Times for Electric Trains. We believe that Lou Hertz would approve. We hope that you agree! - Dave McEntarfer

REGARDLESS of its physical quality, no magazine can long endure unless it fills the needs of its readers. We who produce the magazine can only aim at giving you, the reader, what you want, what you will enjoy and find useful. It is therefore much more than a mere gesture when we say that Tinplate Times must be your magazine; that in the final analysis you, not we, will edit Tinplate Times.

As model railroaders ourselves, we think we have a fair idea of what you will like in a magazine. Where we prove wrong, we expect that you will correct us. Contrary to what might at first thought seem the case; it is a great deal more difficult to edit a tinplate magazine than any other type of model railroad periodical. There are so many diverse interests in tinplate-layout construction, operation, scenery, conversions, history, collecting old models and catalogs, to mention but a few-and our audience is so varied, ranging, we know, almost literally from six to sixty; from boys tasting the first thrills of model railroading with a simple outfit, to men with cellars full of equipment.

We will try to serve all of these fans; to achieve a balance or blend that will make each issue of Tinplate Times of real value and interest to each of you. We are certain that in criticizing us-and we sincerely want criticism even more than we want praise-that you will bear in mind this necessity for providing a mixed dish, "a magazine so diversified, that readers all are satisfied," to paraphrase a famous old tinplate slogan.

We want and need help from every reader. We have many changes and new features in mind for the coming issues of Tinplate Times. Some appear in this issue. Others will be presented in the months ahead. Despite the care with which we have made our plans, this program depends on you. We need articles, pictures, and ideas. Write in and tell us about your railroad. Let the pages of Tinplate Times serve as a medium of exchange of news and suggestions. Above all, never hesitate to let us hear from you because you feel your railroad is too small to be of interest. Remember that there are thousands of fans like you, and they want to hear what you are doing. We hope that Tinplate Times will always remain a friendly, informal magazine. We have redesigned it with this thought foremost in mind, and set up special departments to make it easy for you to participate in these columns. We hope that we will never be dogmatic or pedantic. Model railroading is such a diverse hobby; such a highly individualistic hobby that there is seldom a "best" way, never an "only" way of doing anything. From our own experience' as fellow hobbyists, we know that this factor of individuality is one of the most important and worthy attractions of model railroading.

There is much more that we could say now, but we prefer to let our magazine - yours and ours -speak for itself. We are counting on hearing from you. Please write and tell us how you like this first issue of the new Tinplate Times, for only in this way can we produce the magazine that we want, the magazine that will serve your particular needs best.

We know that such a magazine can be published. We also know that it can be a reality only with the constant cooperation of all of you! We're counting on you!


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