In the mid 40's, Framburg returned to the lighting business, and ceased making ID models.  An employee, Mr. Dale, left the company and started producing models with the moulds under arrangement with Framburg. He modified the original Framburg land vehicle moulds by making two fundamental changes. First he added wheels to the base, allowing the model to roll. Second he separated the mould into parts, casting the turret separately from the chassis. This allowed the turret to rotate. These changes allowed Dale to market the models as toys, and made them popular with children. Dale also continued to manufacture and distribute the Framburg line of ship models.Other firms involved in the US recognition field, such as Comet (Authenticast), concentrated on the hobby market, when the U.S. government ceased using models as a means of recognition training in the 1950’s.  In the 1960’s Comet employed Ian  ‘John’ Carter to produce the ship models, the creator of the ’Superior’ trademark. In 1962 Superior received permission from H.A.Framburg to reproduce their ships, several of which are still in the Superior line.   

With thanks to the following sources who have graciously allowed me to quote from their pages:

Tacoma Class (US-PF) 2-44

Selfridge Class (US_DD) 2-44  (above)            Gearing Class (UD-DD) 44 (below) 

USS Atlanta (US-LC) 9-44


With the sixtieth anniversary of VJ-Day approaching [this was written in  2004]  I thought it would be appropriate to insert a chapter on USN Recognition Models.  During WWII, Framburg was commissioned by the U.S. Government to produce a wide range of naval and military recognition models.  It is the military ones of which most people are aware, however they also produced 1:1200 scale naval recognition models (mostly British and American ships). Framburg ceased production of miniatures in the 1950's. The moulds were later acquired by Superior Models.

The firm originated In 1905 when Henry Alfred Framburg started H. A. Framburg and Company in Chicago, Illinois, producing quality commercial and residential lighting fixtures.  The firm continues to this day, still producing the highest quality commercial grade and residential lighting fixtures, designed and handcrafted in the United States of America.  During the World Wars most of Framburg's production was dedicated to satisfying its military contracts.  In WWI, Framburg made searchlights for the Armed Services.  During WWII, in 1943, they obtained a government contract to make naval recognition models as they were configured in the ONI Recognition Manuals.

Recognition models, also referred to as ID or spotters’ models, were used by the armed forces to train troops to identify ships, airplanes and ground vehicles.  This was designed to prevent casualties from friendly fire and allow better estimates of enemy troop strength. It was not unusual for spotter models to come in at least two scales. For ships this meant a small scale, 1/1200 for students to use, and a larger, 1/500 scale, 'teachers model' to aid the instructor in describing the important aspects of a particular vessel.  Framburg also built a series of larger scale (1/36) land vehicles (tanks and armoured cars).  Spotter models were made of many different materials, including lead/zinc alloys, plastic/cellulose acetate, and wood.  In addition to recognition models, the government also issued recognition cards, pamphlets, and even used kites with airplane silhouettes to help train soldiers.  The ship models were hollow, with a large oval hole in the base. They were cast in one piece, so none of the parts (turret, etc.) articulate.  The ships were often mounted on light blue or grey boards. These boards were housed in a wooden case or box, often with ships from the same country (Germany, USA, etc).  They were well detailed and durable.

Independence Class (US-CVL) 9-10.

USS Alaska (Battle Cruiser)  Stamped: Alaska Class (US-CB) HA Framburg & Co Chicago 12-44