Levon Kemalyan

Levon Kemalyan

Levon J. Kemalyan (1907 - 1976) was a legendary model railroading entrepreneur.

Companies Owned

Fresno Photo-Engraving Company, a business that, apparently, preceded Kemalyan's involvement in model railroading, and perhaps operated simultaneously.

U.S. Hobbies, Inc., formerly a [http://kepler.ss.ca.gov/list.html California corporation] , was an importer of large model railroad locomotives. The California incorporation of U.S. Hobbies dissolved November 7, 1956.

Kemtron Corporation, formerly a [http://kepler.ss.ca.gov/list.html California corporation] , founded and owned by Kemalyan, manufactured model railway cars, locomotives, parts (especially for scratchbuilders), and accessories. Kemtron employed legendary design engineers. For some reason, the State of California suspended the incorporation of Kemtron September 24, 1964.

The legacy of Kemalyan and Kemtron thrives today.

:* 1970 — Lawrence S. Kazoyan (b. November 7, 1931 - d. April 15, 2000, Palm Beach), a retired aerospace engineer, acquired Kemtron, and moved it from Fresno to Los Angeles

:* 1978 — T. Fredrick Hill and Wayne Lyndon, original owners of [http://www.thewhistlestop.com/ The Original Whistle Stop Inc.] , acquired Kemtron and moved it to Sacramento

:* 1986 — [http://www.precisionscaleco.com/ Precision Scale Company, Inc.] acquired Kemtron as a merger. Today, many of the Kemtron parts and some lines are still being manufactured by [http://www.precisionscaleco.com/ PSC] . As the World War II generation of model railroaders passes on, Kemtron products are still actively sold around the world, especially on the internet (see Kemtron on eBay).

Engineers at Kemtron pioneered the use of the [http://users.lmi.net/drewid/Lost_Wax_Casting.html lost wax-casting] to produce finely detailed parts for model railroad kits. Kemtron also produced brass kits, primarily locomotives that were ahead of their time in detail and performance.

The Japanese, after World War II, earn much of the credit for initiating higher manufacturing standards in the body detailing of model trains by adapting [http://users.lmi.net/drewid/Lost_Wax_Casting.html lost wax-casting] systems.

In the mid-60s, [http://www.vsrnonline.com/Library/Kemtron/ Kemtron] also produced a line of slot cars and accessories.

Kemalyan started Kemtron in Fresno in the early '50s (possibly even 48 or 49), and he provided layout space for the Fresno Model Railroad club in the early '50s. One of Kemtron's product lines, photo engraved car kits, particularly the flats, often used zinc (or a very high zinc content brass) sheet, as opposed to brass. The 'blue' coating, was the 'photo resist' that was not cleaned off. Kemtron, initially, was a sideline of Fresno Photo Engraving, which explains why common photo engraving materials were often used.

Associated Brass Products, Inc., maker of the Cal-Scale line, and also based in Fresno, was founded by former Kemtron people, namely John Schow Anderson.

Honors

:*1999 "Hall of Fame" inductee, [http://www.hmahobby.com/ Model Railroad Industry Association (MRIA)] ; (Note: on July 1, 2005, MRIA became the Model Railroad Division of the [http://www.hmahobby.com/ Hobby Manufacturers Association] )

:*2001 [http://users.foxvalley.net/~osn/HallofFame.htm "O Scale Hall of Fame."] inductee, [http://www.oscalenews.com/ "O Scale News"] , Gate VI Publishing Company (Elmhurst, IL), Thomas Howard Nixon, President

Obituary

Levon J. Kemalyan died from a brief illness Tuesday evening, November 2, 1976, at a local hospital in Fresno, CA. He was buried at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno.

Kemalyan was born February 24, 1907, grew up in Fresno, and attended [http://www.fresno.k12.ca.us/ Fresno public schools] . He was active in the [http://www.firstpresfresno.org First Presbyterian Church] , having served as an Elder to the Session and on the Board of Trustees.

urviving Widow

:Roselle Kemalyan

Children

:Constance Wright (Mrs. Gerald Wright), of Pasadena, CA, nee Constance Roselle Kemalyan (b. April 12, 1943, Fresno, CA):Katharine Starbird (Mrs. Thomas Starbird), of Pasadena, CA, nee Katharine Jean Kemalyan (b. July 20, 1946, Fresno, CA)

iblings

:Flora Kemalyan Maroot (b. July 28, 1898 - d. June 1978), of Fresno, CA:Alice Kemalyan Thomas, of Laguna Hills, CA:Naomi Kemalyan Webster----See
*G scale - 1:22.5
*O scale - 1:43 (Märklin, Germany) (also 1:48 & 1:64)
*00 scale - 1:76.2 (UK)
*HO scale - 1:87
*HOn3 scale - 1:87
*TT scale - 1:101
*N scale - 1:152 (UK) (aka OOO scale)
*Z scale - 1:220

See also John Schow Anderson. Anderson was a onetime design engineer at Kemtron. Anderson married Barbara LeFevre Dodd in 1958, an only daughter of the David Dodd, Columbia professor and coauthor of "Security Analysis"


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