Last May I wrote about the resurrection of a Carlisle and Finch #4 paper label set:
The engine is from around 1898-1903 but the cars are a mystery. .
They look like Finch's small 13 series passengers cars and have exactly the same dimensions, but the window shapes were different and the cars are made of steel instead of brass. After de-rusting, the original scribe marks emerged around the windows and doors which showed that they were hand cut, suggesting that the cars were hand made. Finch would have made up a punch with jig to make the windows
After repainting them to match the original design, I made paper labels in two styles. One had black lining and lettering on a yellow background like original Finch labels and the other had yellow lining and lettering on a black background which matches the style shown in Finch's black and white catalogs. The illustrator probably did this to make the labels stand out more clearly in the catalogs, but I thought I'd try it out to see what it looked like:
I asked 7 people who's opinion I respect which way to go with the labels: 4 were for black, 3 for yellow. I excercised veto power and went with yellow because the black looked a bit overpowering. The labels were made up to closely match Finch's font style and the cars were weathered to give them some patina. The wheels were simply derusted and the original paint, or what was left of it, was kept.
I think the cars were made about the same time as the engine. Finch's catalogs encouraged scratch building and sold parts for that purpose. It wouldn't be surprising that someone simply bought the wheels and copied the 13 series cars to save some money or just because they wanted to build some cars.