Trademarking America’s Rail Lines

When you think about fierce trademark legal battles, you probably don’t envision railroads. Why not? The truth is that railways actually deal with some very interesting cases related to copyrights or trademarks.

This all goes back to the 1940s, when railroads gradually began to decline. Some were sold off, others merged and consolidated to reduce operating costs. Ultimately, more and more lines became what industry insiders referred to as “Fallen Flags”. These abandoned rail lines were sometimes purchased by other railroads, and even if they weren’t used the companies still held onto these trademarks.

By 2005, most of the lines that were going to fade had already done so. That’s nearly thousands in the period of just 60 years. It was a major loss, but one the industry absorbed over time.

However, trademarks from that era are still enforceable by the companies that hold them. Why would that be important?

Let’s say you wanted to build a model of a CSX Transport line for sale on Etsy or eBay. Without acquiring a license to do the work, and present it accurately in accordance with the license holder’s requests, you could be sued. It’s arguable that these restrictions are undue burdens on model makers (they probably are), but it’s an interesting avenue of trademark law not often explored.

Eventually, maybe courts will side with the argument that these trademarks have fallen out of use for too long to still have any value. Maybe then will the tradition of building the train model set make a comeback.

Beginner’s Tips for Painting Furniture

The first time you’re painting furniture, there are bound to be some mistakes. It probably won’t be easy to paint with any kind of precision, you might use more than you had anticipated, and there amy be problems that occur in the moment (like warped wood). It’s not an easy task for any newbie, even if the concept seems like it should be. Here are some of the tips furniture makers over the years have found valuable to their trade.


Firstly, sanding is one of the most therapeutic things you can do in your spare time. You’re actually working toward something (a smooth and level piece of wood), and you’re in no particular hurry to get their if your piece isn’t a commission. Be careful you don’t gouge or dent the surface, and buy a few different grits of sandpaper to figure out which gives you the finish you want for your piece.


One of the other most important steps in painting furniture is priming, which most people know. What many don’t realize is that skimping on good quality primer is more of a detriment. Poor quality primer will cause your paint to chip, crack or peel over time. Buy a mini foam roller for application purposes, and a few smaller width brushes.


How many coats do you need? Many furniture makers will tell you anywhere between two and three coats should give you the color you want. Most smaller pieces, like a chair or an end table, won’t take more than a gallon of paint to finish.