Lionel and K-Line Catalogs and Flyers

432 views
4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 183 posts
Lionel and K-Line Catalogs and Flyers
Posted by phrankenstign on Thursday, August 03, 2017 10:28 PM

Awhile back I started a thread asking whether anyone here knew of where I could get a comprehensive listing of Lionel and K-Line catalogs and flyers.  I knew people had been collecting Lionel and K-Line trains for quite a long time, so I believed I was going to get plenty of help from the members here.  As it turned out, I didn't get any help for awhile.  When some members finally did reply, it wasn't what I expected.  They appeared to be in the same boat as me.  They'd created their own lists, but they were far from comprehensive.  Most merely listed what they'd already owned.  A few listed additional items they'd learned about, but none of the lists were complete.

I started my collection of catalogs and flyers back in the 90s when I lived in Virginia.  There was a long-time Lionel enthusiast who sold trains from his home attic in Norfolk, VA.  (I think he was even listed as one of Lionel's Value-added dealers, so I think he also fixed trains too.)  I'd go there occasionally with my son to buy trains.  He'd tell us quite a bit about the history of Lionel whenever we visited.  I remember mentioning to him how much I loved paging through Lionel's catalogs as a kid.  He mentioned he had catalogs and flyers in stock he'd accumulated over the years.  I told him I'd really like to buy one of each as long as the prices weren't too high.  He told me he'd sell them to me for the cover price, so I agreed.  He ended up having catalogs from every year from 1964-present (mid to late 90s).  I was amazed that he actually had so many from past years, but luckily I had enough cash on me for all of them.  My son and I spent quite a bit of time afterwards thumbing through them imagining what it would have been like to have all of those great trains produced throughout those years.  Until then, only one Lionel catalog of mine had survived the years albeit without its covers and first and last eight pages.  I'd only just returned to the hobby in 1994, but I had acquired a few Lionel, K-Line, and MTH catalogs and flyers during the period just before.  Since acquiring that big pile of catalogs from that gentleman in Norfolk, I've added many more over the years.

Unfortunately I stopped around 2002 due to marital diffictulties.  We ended up getting a divorce, and I became a single parent.  The 3 kids I have were young, so they ended up taking up much of my time.

It wasn't until I became a member here a few years ago, that I got back into the hobby.  I resumed collecting Lionel and K-Line catalogs and flyers whenever I saw a good deal on a lot on ebay.  It's too expensive to buy them one at a time, because the shipping cost would be prohibitive.  Slowly, I've made progress into filling the holes in my collection.

A big problem is some sellers of catalogs and flyers don't list the titles nor years.  This made my list worthless.  I'd have to dig through my collection constantly to see if what they depicted was something I already had.  What a pain!  It occurred to me I could scan pics of the covers and keep them on my computer.  I could then easily check whether I had what was being sold or not.  But what format should I use?  I decided to use the web space I was already using for my model inventory.  It's located at:

www.phrankenstign.com.

I've been working on it for years.  Since I'm already paying for the domain and hosting, there would be no additional cost.  My web-site is only using a fraction of what is available to me.  I decided to add a new Lionel and K-Line catalogs and flyers section to it.  Anyone wanting to check it out is welcome.  It is located at:

www.phrankenstign.com/Trains/TrainsFrames.htm

Both the model and and the train sections are NOT commercial sites.  I make absolutely NO money from them.  There are no ads, so the load times for each page are only for the pictures of the catalogs and flyers.

At this time, I am still adding stuff I have in my collection.  I should be done sometime next week.  Afterwards I will add more whenever I get a good deal on a lot on ebay, or whenever I find a good deal elsewhere.  It's mainly for my reference, but it may provide some information or enjoyment for members here.  At some point I plan on adding my listing to it, but I haven't decided on the exact format it will take.  Perhaps a thunbnail with a description next to it?  Maybe.  I'd be interested if anyone has suggestions on how to improve its usefulness as a reference tool.  For now, I'm only going to concentrate on 1960 onwards.  Perhaps once I'm done, I may start adding earlier years.  I was born in 1959, so that's why 1960 seemed like a good year to start with.  I remember thumbing through catalogs that had Super "O" displayed throughout, so the nostalgia factor definitely played a role there.  Not so much for previous years, although CTT has played a role in my appreciation for Lionel stuff prior to 1959.

Let me know what you think!

Tony

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: North Texas
  • 4,305 posts
Posted by wrmcclellan on Friday, August 04, 2017 10:27 AM

Tony,

Very interesting. I like it. You may wish to optimize your site for iPads and phones where a "portrait" mode is a better fit to the device orientation. So catalog covers are vertical vs side-by-side. Place your index and legal at the top. Text on the index is very small making it a bit of a challenge on a touch screen device. 

I was impressed how cleanly you got the scans of the foldout to be so clean where the staples/fold is. Obviously this is a downside to a vertical format.

I probably have several of your missing K-Line catalogs. Would have to dig them out though...

Thanks!

 

Regards, Roy

           

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 183 posts
Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, August 05, 2017 3:41 AM

Thanks for checking the site out!

Hmmmmmm......

I hadn't thought of optimizing my site for iPads and phones, since I always use my desktop PC to use it.  I'm not really sure what I could do.  Most smartphones automatically switch from landscape to portrait mode when the phone is turned.  About half of the pics are portrait while the rest are landscape already.  Optimizing for one would be to the detriment of the other, wouldn't it?  The pics are a fairly big size enabling one to read nearly all of the text on a PC, laptop, and iPad.

I made the text in the index a bit bigger.  Hopefully that eases the challenge for touch screen users.  (I could probably increase the size a bit more, but I don't want the numbers to be too close together.  The space between them should make it easier to keep from accidentally pressing the wrong one.)

The foldouts are definitely a challenge, but I like being able to see the entire picture.  There are many covers I've seen over the years that were either foldouts or wraparound covers.  Until I actually owned them, I never knew.  When I first saw them, it was a pleasant surprise.  That's one reason I decided to scan those covers and stitch the pieces together.  I'm sure there are many others who will be surprised at the number of covers that were actually part of much bigger pictures.

If you or anyone else has any catalogs that aren't pictured yet (other than those I've listed in the "Coming Soon!" section), please let me know if you'd like to sell or swap for comparable ones.  I've got some K-Line Collectors Club exclusive catalogs I'll be adding, but that's about it for K-Line.  As is evident from the site, there are numerous early catalogs I don't have.  K-Line never had the vast numbers of collectors and operators Lionel had, but their products kept improving in the 90s to the point where I considered them a better value than Lionel's.  I became a big fan,  and that's why I collected their catalogs.  I have quite a few MTH, Bachmann, Atlas, and various other ephemera from the other manufacturer's, but I didn't care for them as much as I did for the Lionel and K-Line stuff.  Although I may add some of that other stuff later, I'm going to strictly concentrate only on Lionel and K-Line for now.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 183 posts
Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, August 12, 2017 3:42 PM

I've never tried to optimize anything for cell phones, so it was a bit of a challenge for me.

I played around with what you suggested.  Here's what I came up with:

http://www.phrankenstign.com/Trains/Mobile.htm

I adapted four items for it from 1964, 1965, 1979, and 2013.  I'm not sure what to do about the size of the years to make selection easier.  I made the font size bigger, but it still seems kind of small for fingers on a cell phone.  What do you think?  Once the design is set, then I can concentrate on doing the rest of the items for each year.

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: North Texas
  • 4,305 posts
Posted by wrmcclellan on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 5:34 PM

Tony,

The changes in my opinion worked great on my iPad, in both landscape and portrait!

Another suggestion - where you have the catalog years at the top, add a stationary note to "swipe right or left to view the available catalog years". Took me a minute to figure that out after rereading your post and catching that you had 1979 and 2013 years, so I went back and tried swiping and viola!

I am not near my catalogs at this time, but will be later this fall, so if you can remember to PM me later this year and you are still moving forward I would be willing to look at what I have to see if I can loan you some missing items.

Regards, Roy

           

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

Search the Community