Memories of Madison Hardware

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Posted by thesiding on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:32 PM
I was there a few times includingafter going to an audition (did not get the part) and that time though I did not buy anything I said Someday I'll be back That was in the fall of 1988 II got many an item there including Lionel HO About one third of my collection came from there Then I did get back to the store when they were packing it in One of the young mne there who got me the HO Trains told me they had closed (THANK YOU RICHARD KUHN) If only I could have been let loose in there for an extended time what would I have found?
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Posted by cwburfle on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 3:20 PM

I guess most folks are aware that a Book has been written about Madison Hardware.
The book is being sold direct. Here is a link: http://www.madisonposter.com/

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Posted by mdeange3 on Monday, October 17, 2016 9:03 PM

That's true about Carl, black eye glasses without lenses. Carl was a ladies man. My brother-in-law and I were in the store one late afternoon, and when my wife and sister entered later, Carl dropped his attention off us, and it was all: HEL-LO, LADIES! After that, we could not get a word in edgewise and never finished business with Carl that day.

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Posted by cosmic on Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:44 AM

Have to correct a typo I just noticed in my original post. The brass plated loco didn't bring $69K, only a mere $60K.

Still true however, that it was the largest sum ever for that sort of artifact.

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Posted by cosmic on Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:22 AM

You're welcome Johnny. It may be of interest to know that until at least the early 60s the store also sold hardware: lamps, nuts & bolts, keys, what have you. Of course that was just an afterthought activity, quite casually managed, but it was there.

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Posted by SleeperN06 on Thursday, December 20, 2012 1:44 AM

Wow, I sure wish I could have seen it. I grew up in Pittsburgh and there sure was something to be said about those old long time stores. I was always just fascinated by hardware stores but to have trains to, wow that must have been something.

I’ve fantasized about having my own hardware store all my life from when I was a kid and I always knew that if it were ever to be, I would also sell trains and a large layout in the store all year long.

It’s kind of funny because I was just talking about this a few weeks ago with some friends as I was putting together my Christmas layout. It’s so big for an average house that I wish I had a place to show it off and someone mentioned maybe renting it to a store front someplace, but there aren’t many places like that anymore.

Thanks, JohnnyB
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Posted by cosmic on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:09 PM

I realize that this thread is quite dated, but I just came across it, and the subject is very interesting to me,  also that you guys all have interest in the old store. Here's some answers/corrections that I hope may still be helpful.

Postwar Man07
You asked when the store was opened. As purely a hardware store it was opened in the late twenties, by Wm. A. Morrison, brother in law to Louis Shur. Morrison lost the enterprise during the great depression, and Lois took it over with the financial help of his mother, Esther Anastacia Shur, also William's mother in law. I don't know exactly when, but early in thirties Louis befreinded Lionel Cowan, and out of that friendship he was made a preferred distributor for the Lionel product line.

1688torpedo
You said that when the inventory moved to Michigan it was sold mail order. Bears mentioning that through almost its entire history MH in New York also sold mail order.
Also, the surname Shaw was an affectation, and never legalized. Carl was originally in show business (he was a drummer and worked in several big bands in the 20s-30s, when semitic names were bad business). His birth name was Carl Shur, and he was Louis's brother.

SotaPop
Here's a photo of a loco that Louis had brass plated and put on display in the store. Some of you oldtimers may remember seeing it. After his death his nephew Larry Morrison put it up for auction. I don't recall which auction house, but it's a prominent one for this kind of stuff, and the $69K that it brought was the highest price ever paid for this class of artifact.



Train Memories & msacco
See my response to Postwar Man07 above.

Train-0
They didn't own the building, they occupied it, for many years, on a lease. At one time (at least) Louis negotiated to buy it, but no satisfactory agreement was ever reached.

cwburfle
The major reason for Louis closing the business is that as he advanced in age, and became a multimillionaire out of this little shop, he became intolerant of the stress, and wanted to retire to Florida like the rest of New York. But in typical Louis Shur fashion he did it his own way, not Miami or Ft.Lauderdale, but Gainesville of all places. He lived there into his 101st year.

Texas Pete
Thanks! You gave me a laugh.







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Posted by Train-O on Monday, October 24, 2011 3:43 PM

Pete and Don,

You're both right.

I don't know how those guys knew where things were, as there were items all over the place, but I found out that most places, like that, function very well.

Ralph

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Posted by DMUinCT on Monday, October 24, 2011 1:28 PM

Walls of small drawers, maybe 4" by 6", unmarked.  Ask one of the brothers for a part, describe it, they would go right to the proper drawer.  Price was good and fare.

Don U. TCA 73-5735

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Posted by Texas Pete on Monday, October 24, 2011 1:01 PM

Dad took me to Madison one time.  Had to have been '55 or '56.  My recollection is that of a poorly organized warehouse, not a retail shop by a long shot.  It was like an auto parts store managed by a crazy person.  From what I've been reading it was probably a gold mine for Lionel enthusiasts who knew exactly what they wanted, but I was not impressed.

Pete

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Posted by Train-O on Monday, October 24, 2011 11:51 AM

cwburfle,

Was, the closing of a Legend and era. due to age?

Ralph 

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Posted by cwburfle on Monday, October 24, 2011 9:19 AM

I stand corrected, I was told they owned the building.

Then, as usual, high rent prices drove them out, being one of the determining factors!

There are many rumors circulating about Madison, as one would expect, given Madison Hardware's position in the world of Lionel. However, there were no better sources than Carl and Lou. Of course, what is posted here is second hand.

Let me restate: the owner's terms for a new lease was a minor factor. I wouldn't use the term "determining factor".

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Posted by arkady on Sunday, October 23, 2011 10:08 PM

I never visited Madison Hardware, though I often wished I could have.  I got my #53 Rio Grande snowplow (mint in box, unused, and with the correct "a") by mail order from them in about 1972.  I saw it in one of those MR ads that everyone mentions.

 

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:25 PM

cwburfle,

Thank you,

I stand corrected, I was told they owned the building.

Then, as usual, high rent prices drove them out, being one of the determining factors!

Ralph

 

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Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:48 PM

The building that Madison Hardware was located at, was owned by Madison Hardware and as a result, they were able to store their large stock of Lionel trains.

Sorry, but this statement is incorrect.
From the mouth of Lou Shur: they had a long term lease on the store. It was up for renewal, and the building owners wanted a very significant increase in rent.
A lot of factors went into their decision to sell the store, the lease only being a small part.

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Posted by SPMan on Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:46 PM

I never had the pleasure of going to Madison Hardware but ordered parts from them for repairing my post war trains.  I remember getting things like original Hiawatha engine wheels from them and other hard to find items.  I still save those little Madison Hardware parts boxes with their label on it for a souvenir.  They were an institution.

Ray

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, October 23, 2011 9:06 AM

Don,

That is something to know about Polk's.

Years ago, I've been to Polk's store in Mann. and I knew they moved out of Mann,, but I did not  know that they reestablished in N.J.

Probably, because of the beautifully, outrages rent and taxes, of both N.Y.C. and N.Y.S., is what drove them and many other businesses out of N.Y.!!!

Ralph

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Posted by DMUinCT on Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:27 AM

traindaddy1
I remember Madison Hardware well.  Does anyone remember a multi-story hobby shop on 5th Avenue called Polk's? They had an entire floor dedicated to trains, parts and supplies. Thanks.

Polk's is a family operation now based across the river in Irvington NJ and run by Nat's son Louis.  "Polk's Model Craft Hobbies"is one of the largest "G Gauge" manufacturer under the name "Aristo-Craft".  They also make advanced radio control setups for the hobby industry under the name of "Crest".

Don U. TCA 73-5735

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Posted by Seayakbill on Sunday, October 23, 2011 5:10 AM

Living in Seattle during my younger years a visit to Madison Hardware was never an option. Every spring I would get a sales flyer from Madison Hardware of items they were discounting to reduce stock after Christmas. I still have one of those discount sheets, very interesting prices. One item I did order was the #59 Minuteman Vulcan  switcher for $5.95, that took mowing 3 lawns at $2.00 per lawn. Still have that little guy and it runs and growls just like it did 50 years ago.

Bill T.

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Posted by Train-O on Saturday, October 22, 2011 11:09 PM

Having been born and raised in Manhattan was great, especially around the holidays.

There, were so many places to shop at and Madison Hardware was the special place to go to.

Though, there were many stores that sold Lionel trains, Madison Hardware was kind of a "Lionel Central," because they had a large inventory of Lionel trains and had sort of a relation with Lionel.

The building that Madison Hardware was located at, was owned by Madison Hardware and as a result, they were able to store their large stock of Lionel trains.

Ralph

 

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Posted by bobo3138 on Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:27 PM

I was a stock boy there in1967-1968 They sold Keys which Harry Usually handeled.

Lou shur told me on the first day "well Bobby have you ever seen so many trains in your Life"

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Posted by envfocus on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 10:01 PM

I was looking at some archived TCA articles and came across this photo.  Thought some of you would enjoy....

Take Care......RJ (TCA 07-61869)
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Posted by Train Memories on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:24 PM

    There should be some kind of "Lionel hall of fame" for hobby trains and I'd vote for "Madison Hardware" to be inducted. YEAA!! lol.

                                                    Reuben

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Posted by LL675 on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:26 PM
 SotaPop wrote:
Looking through the CTT 2004 index, I found:

"Madison Hardware building today", Feb 2004 p.25

I'll check it out later tonight.

 

love to see that/ could you share that? thanks

Dave

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 7:26 PM
Jim: Born and raised in Manhattan, reading your post brought tears to my eyes as I can relate to the scenario. Those certainly were the days!  Many thanks for the memories.
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Posted by jimsrpo on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 7:02 PM

 traindaddy1 wrote:
I remember Madison Hardware well.  Does anyone remember a multi-story hobby shop on 5th Avenue called Polk's? They had an entire floor dedicated to trains, parts and supplies. Thanks.

Polk's was one of the stops on the yearly pilgrimage my father and I would make shortly after Thanksgiving in the 1950's . 

First, it was the Lionel showroom for a copy of the new catalog and the grandest layout of all time, then over to the Gilbert Hall of Science to see the newest American Flyer.  A quick stop in Madison Hardware even though there wasn't much for a little kid to see or appreciate.

Then we would walk up 5th Avenue stopping at Polk's on 32 St.  Then over to Macy's and Gimbel's to see their huge Lionel Christmas displays (and the required picture with Santa - ugh...the only bad part of the day!) 

Lunch was always at the Horn and Hardart Automat where coins inserted in the slot would open a little door leading to a sandwich or a piece of pie.

Then up to West 45 St to Carmen Webster's basement shop called Model Railroad Equipment Corp.

Then the subway trip back to the Bronx with the Lionel and AF catalogs to read on the way.

Life was good if you were a kid in New York City who loved trains .

Jim

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 19, 2007 3:38 PM
From some of the replies on The Other Forum the Madison Hardware guys sound like slightly strange birds. But that's like many an LHS, especially back in the day. Just makes me glad I have a great shop like Todd's Train Depot close at hand.
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Posted by cnw1995 on Monday, November 19, 2007 3:35 PM

I never went there myself but I remember my dad telling me how he drove all the way into the city in 1983 (from our home in Connecticut) to have his pre-war 248 and a few other tinplate items, as well as his R transformer completely refurbished. They did a pretty good job. I have and run them today - complete with their Madison repair tags

Doug Murphy 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...' Henry V.

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, November 19, 2007 3:20 PM

 Train Memories wrote:
... I would always wondered, as many people would, why would they have named that store that way when all they sold was Lionel trains. Does anybody know? Well that's my short story.                  Reuben

"Legend" has it that 20th century wives going through laundry or papers were not as likely to question register tapes or sales tickets with the name "Madison Hardware" as they would "Jim's Lokie Shop" or "5th Avenue Train & Hobby" or "Model Train Equipment Corp"(I think that last one really exsisted).

Well, legend anyway.

Rob 

Rob

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