1950s era HO switcher engine inquiry

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1950s era HO switcher engine inquiry
Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Saturday, October 27, 2012 5:59 AM

First off, let me say that I am a pretty experienced model railroader and understand the differences between MR and CTT. I think the question might best be answered here.

As a kid I had the chance to play with my grandfather's Lionel train. It was only a LV #625 0-27 freight set but I had lots of fun with it. I hoped to inherit it someday but it has since disappeared. One of the things that my grandfather would keep in the box of trains for me to play with was a smaller train engine. It was completely made of plastic, except for metal wheels and metal couplers. For couplers, it had metal tabs that extended out and then bent down- roughly in the same fashion as cheap plastic train sets today. The engine was roughly modeling an SW-7.

It was roughly HO scale, but I don't think it was designed to run on HO scale track. If you flipped it over, the inside was hollow... no motors, no gears, etc. Each "truck" was only one axle with tinplate flanges, and the trucks were actually like steam engine pilot or training trucks in that they pivoted on the inside of the body. Aside from maybe handrails there wasn't much detail, and I don't think a manufacturer's name was stamped on it.

I played with it a lot, even though it didn't have a train. I mention that it was HO scale because I could put it on the Lionel track between two of the three rails and push it with the Lionel engine. Since it didn't short out the engine I guess maybe the wheels were insulated. Whenever it got to the automatic uncoupler track it would ride up over it and sometimes come back down on the other side. Also, it was a perfect load for the flat car with log load insert, especially since we had lost the logs and it was otherwise empty.

I don't collect vintage HO trains and I haven't any books to look it up in. Since it probably dates to around the same time period as the Lionel set looking on CTT first makes sense. Any ideas?

Thanks.

 

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Posted by baberuth73 on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 5:35 PM

I wish I could help you out but I'm at a loss, too. One thing I have tried with a measure of success  whenever I wanted to identify some train item is to check out the listings on ebay. Look at the "other" and "mixed lot" headings. Also check the "antique" listings- all kinds of train related stuff winds up there from time to time. 

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Posted by stebbycentral on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:54 AM

My guess is that it was a train toy, as versus a model train.  The abscence of a motor, the lack of significant detail, all indicate to me it was manufactured as a push toy.   Or possibly a wind-up toy that had lost it's mechanism at some point.  The only thing I find interesting is the fact that it had couplers, which would appear to indicate that at one time there were other cars with it. And since it apparently had wheel flanges, possibly it also had track when it was new. 

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Thursday, October 22, 2015 3:45 PM

Three years later, I thought I would ask the same question again. I remember now that it was molded (or painted) in gray plastic, with a blue cab I think.

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Posted by sir james I on Thursday, October 22, 2015 4:30 PM

Without a motor it sounds like a toy. 

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Posted by stebbycentral on Thursday, October 22, 2015 9:19 PM

One possibility: Tootsie Toys

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Friday, October 23, 2015 6:05 AM

Maybe, but the one I remember was predominantly plastic and those in the picture above look like metal. 

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Posted by tinplatacis on Friday, October 23, 2015 7:54 AM

Benjamin Maggi

Maybe, but the one I remember was predominantly plastic and those in the picture above look like metal. 

 

Was it a hardened rubber? My family had some cars of an unknown make made of hardened rubber, and for the life of me I thought it was plastic.  Maybe that would explain it.  Do you know when this engine would have been made?

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 3:11 PM

I know, this is a very old thread but I finally found a picture of the engine I was talking about. If you look on the train behind the 44-tonner, the flat car has a blue and gray engine as a load. It obviously didn't come with the Lionel set, I just added it. This picture is from 1987, but the train was likely purchased in the 1960s.

I don't know how to post the picture to this thread, so I am including the link to my blog where it is:

https://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/2019/02/playing-with-my-grandfathers-lionel.html

Thanks.

Modeling the D&H in 1984: http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 3:28 PM

The picture's kind of fuzzy as far as your mystery engine is concerned, but man, it could be anything.  It's probably just a plain 'ol toy train, nothing more, nothing less, although considering your history with it if it isn't priceless I'm sure it is to you.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 7:38 PM

It resembles a Marx switcher:

The color suggests either Boston and Maine:

Or NYC blue:

But Marx HO couplers were the standard NMRA type.

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Thursday, February 28, 2019 8:27 AM

Thanks, it might have been Marx but it definitely wasn't a "Hustler" type body. It was a "SW" or "N" type switcher body. Normally, it would have had two trucks (4 wheels each) but not on the model.

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Posted by NVSRR on Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:03 AM

It most likely was an early marx piece.   Probably wind up at one time. The descriptions  fits for what marx i have seen

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by NVSRR on Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:09 AM

I took a quick look through ebaY.  Since i had the time

to  and found a couple that match your description.   They are early postwar marx engines.  15 to 30 if you are looking to replace it

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:28 AM

I searched EBay for "Marx HO engine" and nothing came up looking like a SW type engine. Remember, the engine I had was the body shape of an SW-1 or NW-2. I don't think Marx made anything that looked like that in HO scale, but if they did I would love a link to it. 

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:30 PM

This is a Marx O27 #1998 Alco:

And here are 2 more with another type of switcher body:

Marx did make dummy switchers:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/MARX-RARE-1998-DUMMY-AT-SF-MAROON-DIESEL-SWITCHER-LOCOMOTIVE/323708800937?hash=item4b5e8c4fa9:g:z58AAOSwUSRccshZ:rk:4:pf:0

What's important here is to remember that Marx was making 3/16ths scale trains since shortly after American Flyer introduced the scale just prior to WWII.  3/16ths is S Gauge.  A small S gauge sized switcher could easily be confused for HO.  I've made the mistake several times at train shows when viewing S gauge layouts from across the room.

I think what you had to play with was an Allstate dummy from Sears.  However set #79N9622C from 1962  http://www.wishbookweb.com/the-catalogs/  (See page #439)  was the only set Sears offered with a dummy Marx O27 diesel.  And it was lettered for Rock Island.

While Marx was usually equipping cars with it's "Tilt" coupler, some diesels, especially those sold to deep discounters like Kresge's, could be produced with metal hook couplers to control costs:

My 2 Cents  Becky

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Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:20 PM

He clearly remembers pushing the train in question along one side of a 3-rail O-gauge track.  Even though HO gauge is very slightly wider than half of O-gauge, the circular cross-section of tubular track makes this possible.  That had to be an HO-gauge train.

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Posted by toptrain on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 6:41 AM

Their was a  1950's Western Germany release of a SW7 type set with a couple of cars that would match the discription given. It might have been made by Fleischmann. Made as a toy train for little hands to be able to handel it. A very plain Jane train deviod of detail. 

my edit 5-18-19; I'll try to remember when at future train shows to if i should see this SW1 again to photograph it or if cheep enough buy it, so you could see it again. 

 

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 7:23 AM

Thanks for the info!

Modeling the D&H in 1984: http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/

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