Lionel 113 Station AF 4689 Lionel Trolley Ives 1764

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Getting The Word Out At The Local Library

by Charles Grover

Perhaps this idea is worth sharing in Tinplate Times to try to stimulate publicizing the hobby. My local library allowed me to set up a pre-Christmas display of toy trains in the two display cabinets where people enter the library. I set up the displays and took a few photographs. Three of the books are mine. A librarian came up with the others. I am exhibiting this anonymously for security. I don't want a stranger raiding my basement. I have put a special e-mail address on one placard for anyone who has questions.When the last Harry Potter movie comes out I will see if I can do a display of Lionel's 0 and 1 gauge Hogwarts Express, and my N model of the train that was later repainted for the movies. I might have a time to run them in the library community room. The librarians could come up with some other things to display or locate them in the community. I have offered to run trains for kids any time mutually convenient.

The tall cabinet is all tinplate.

Text of the sign inside the all tinplate cabinet:

Tinplate Toy Trains designed in the first half of the 20th Century

Many early toy trains were manufactured from tin plated steel, the same sort of tinplate used for canning foods. Tinplate Trains are collected and operated by avid hobbyists. All of the designs here are from the first half of the 20th century, although most of the examples are reproductions. Others are original, some of which are repainted or restored.

The large Standard Gauge engines and cars and the 0 Gauge 256 locomotive and observation car were designed in the 1920’s and produced by Lionel until World War II broke out. The first electric trains manufactured by Joshua Lionel Cowen (1901) were set up in store windows to attract customers to other merchandise. The exhibitor remembers seeing a Lionel Train from the 1910-1920 era in the show window of a men’s clothing store in Syracuse in the 1970’s.

The tinplate tunnel and the tipping car exhibited with it are from the Louis Marx Company. Mr. Marx developed a niche of inexpensive trains that sold for lower prices than Lionel, Ives, American Flyer and other brands. The method of producing colors, patterns and pictures on the tinplate, called lithography, was developed to a high state by Marx.

The Gramps tank car at the same level as three Lionel tank cars (or Oil Cars as Lionel called them) is a reproduction of an Ives design.

The small trains in the cases are Hallmark Christmas Ornaments produced as miniatures of Lionel toy trains. This years train is the brown and yellow Union Pacific Streamliner, originally produced in the 1930’ in 0 Gauge.

Questions about these trains may be sent by e-mail to the exhibitor at ToyTrains@twcny.rr.com .

The broad cabinet is Thomas and Friends.

Text of the sign inside the Thomas and Friends cabinet:

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

The Rev. W. Awdry, O.B.E., parish priest in the Church of England, wrote his stories about Thomas and Friends for his son Christopher. Father Awdry was an avid model railroader and he modeled many of the engines and cars for his Ffarquhar layout. The railway equipment was based on actual trains in Great Britain.

Because of the nature of the original stories the exhibitor considers Father Awdry to be a significant moral educator of children and holds him in high esteem. Since Awdry’s death Thomas and Friends have lived on in television and new books.

Thomas and Friends are available as toys and models in many sizes and styles. Exhibited here are large scale Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, Percy, and the Troublesome Trucks, all currently sold under the Bachmann brand. 0 Gauge sets are sold be Lionel. All of these can be had locally at JR Junction at 2716 Erie Boulevard East, whose owner lives in Chittenango.

Smaller operating electric trains are made under the British Hornby name and in Japan by Tomix.

Toby the Tram has a homemade body mounted on a chassis from an American manufacturer, Hartland Locomotive Works. His quarry train cars are adapted from Hartland products.

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