Basement Find - need Marx transformer

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Basement Find - need Marx transformer
Posted by grandnational on Monday, January 21, 2019 12:46 PM

Hi Everyone - a train noob here, so forgive my basic questions.  My father was interested in mainly HO scale trains.  When cleaning out my Mom's basement, I found his HO trains, but also another box with a much larger scale train (O or S).  After 'Googling' this weekend, I believe I have identified it as a set with a Marx 999 loco (fourth variation: no Marx logo and a solid pilot with rivets but with no horizontal bars).  I'm trying to find out generally what year this may be from (all of the cars are metal, no plastic, there is no box, and all of the swiches are manual turning/no electric) and more importantly, since the only component missing is the transformer, what transformer would be correct for this set (wattage, style, etc.).  I ultimately want to get it running to give to my son.  Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Monday, January 21, 2019 2:35 PM

Any Lionel, Marx, or American Flyer 40 watts or more transformer will work. Those sets usually came with a 50 watt model:

A 90 watt Lionel 1033 or 1044 would be ideal and give you some operating flexibility & options.

Rob

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Posted by grandnational on Monday, January 21, 2019 2:51 PM

Awesome!  Thanks, ADCX Rob!

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Monday, January 21, 2019 5:01 PM

Marx trains like the 999 are very robust.  Many of the Marx I've repaired only needed cleaning and a lube.  Good luck with your repair.

Jim

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Posted by grandnational on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:46 AM

I actually found 2 transformers in a box with HO stuff.  One might be a Marx (its labelled 7-15 volts, but only seems to put out 12.5 max) and the other is a Lionel which puts out about the same.  The engine seems to be postwar based on the center pickup.

post-war 999transformers

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Posted by grandnational on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:49 AM

 

 

 

Transformers and Pickup

 


I actually found 2 transformers in a box with HO stuff. One might be a Marx (its labelled 7-15 volts, but only seems to put out 12.5 max) and the other is a Lionel which puts out about the same. The engine seems to be postwar based on the center pickup.

transformers

postwar

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 10:32 AM

Either one will work. The red handle is a 50 watts Marx, the other a 35 watts Lionel.

Rob

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Posted by grandnational on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 11:57 AM

TY!

I'm curious if there is any way to narrow down the year of production.  Using these pages as guides and understanding production started in '50 or '51, but I have a post-war, flush rivet, no logo version, maybe the closest I'll ever get is '46-'53?

http://marxtinplatetrains.com/marx_guide_locos.htm

https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=25843

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Posted by Papa_D on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:57 PM

Relative to what year this set was produced, the below is background on the Marx 999 engine from a different thread. If you describe the cars (road name, number, color) that came with this set it might be possible to come up with a closer guess than late 40's or early 50's. While sets with a 999 engine generally don't command a lot of money (there are exceptions yours is not one of them), its real value is in its history.

Papa D

The 999 was Marx’s first die-cast shell. It was produced in limited quantities in ’41 & ’42 and again after the war from ’46 to ‘54. The only pre-war 999 ad I’ve been able to find is from the Spiegel ’42 Christmas catalog. Note that shows an open cowcatcher.

  

After the war, the Sears ’46 Christmas catalog shows a 999 also with an open spoke cowcatcher. 

The open spoke cowcatcher was reportedly easily broken.  Since Marx’s philosophy was to made low cost but rugged toys, this design was quickly changed to a solid spoke cowcatcher and then probably to save a few pennies to a solid cowcatcher as shown in this Sears ’47 Christmas catalog ad.

The 999 last appeared in the Sears Christmas catalog in ’50.

Montgomery Ward’s last Christmas catalog ad for a 999 set appeared in ’54.

The Marx ’54 dealer catalog in GMTC also  lists a 999 engine.

Recently on eBay there were 33 electric 999 being offered with the following cowcatcher types:  1 cut-off (aka broken), no open spoke, 1 closed spoke, and 31 plain (see photo). Marx sure sold a lot of 999 electric steam engines for them to be so plentiful over 60 years later.

 

Papa D

 

 

 

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 5:31 PM

Papa

Neat information!!!!!

Jim

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:53 PM

Welcome aboard!

Further to Papa D's post, check out this site that has Sears and other Christmas Wishbooks: http://www.wishbookweb.com/the-catalogs/

Big Smile  I'm Cuckoo For Choo Choo Stuffs!  Big Smile

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 10:35 PM

 Despite her appearance, this one can still hold her own with the best of them

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 5:38 AM

Thank you for the great information.
--
Last evening I tried to get the loco moving, but unfortunately, it would not move under its own power.  All I got was some buzzing/humming from inside and some sparks at the rails.  I can rotate the assembly by hand, although it seems harder than I would think it should be...like there is way too much mass to get moving (probably why the old tired motor can't do it).  Maybe its binding internally or something although it doesn't 'grind' or anything.
--
Could this be an indication of bad brushes or seized bearings (if applicable)? or something?...or maybe just 60 years of 'gunk' and some rust?
--
I haven't had any time to do anything more to the loco, but am going to get some Goo-Gone and some 3-in-1 lightweight oil tonight.
--
Any other suggestions?

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:49 AM

Thank you!  The front shot you provided is the pilot I have (solid, no slots, rivets, no horizontal bars).  Please see photo attached of the other cars.

 

Thank yhou in advance.

 

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 7:06 AM

From the Sears catalogs, possibly a '46 or '47?

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 2:49 PM

 

 

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Posted by Papa_D on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 3:34 PM

You’re having the same problem posting photos that many others also have. It might be easier for you to just give a verbal description of the cars that came with this engine, ie road name & number, number of wheels, and colors.

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:02 PM

http://i66.tinypic.com/2j47e3c.jpg

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:03 PM

http://i67.tinypic.com/2598hmb.jpg

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:04 PM

http://i64.tinypic.com/r90ta8.jpg

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:11 PM

Being able to find a free server to post the photos was one challenge, now the other is it seems nothing I post, gets posted at least in a timely manner (I understand there is moderator review timeframe).

 

I send the base url links to the pics.

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:18 PM

tanker, silver , NIAX 256?  Niagara Falls, for Glacial Acetic Acid

box car, silver, Pacific Fruit Express

caboose, red, Reading 92812

gondola, black, NYC & Stl Nickel Plate Road

tender, black, New Work Central

loco, black, 999 (no Marx logo)

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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:48 PM
I've tried to post many things, even just text, but nothing seems to be going through.
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Posted by grandnational on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:54 PM
black 999 loco black new york central tender black gondola 71499 NKP NYC & Stl Nickel Plate Road silver tanker Niacet Chemicals Corp NIAX 256? Niagara Falls, NY for glacial acetic acid box yellow Pacific Fruit Express 35461 caboose red Reading 92812
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 10:56 PM

It should turn fairly easily by hand, otherwise it may be binding, or gummed  up.

I don't know how to quantify the free turning other than this :

when I put mine on the track and roll it by hand , the drivers turn with only very minimal sliding down the track. So, it should be relatively free rolling. Otherwise, the motor may not be able to overcome the binding.

 

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Posted by grandnational on Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:58 AM

For some reason, I can't post anything anymore (not even text), so I'm using a different browser and new session.

 

black 999 loco

black new york central tender

black gondola 71499 NKP NYC & Stl Nickel Plate Road

silver tanker Niacet Chemicals Corp NIAX 256? Niagara Falls, NY for glacial acetic acid

box yellow Pacific Fruit Express 35461 

caboose red Reading 92812

Tags: Marx loco
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Posted by grandnational on Thursday, January 24, 2019 9:49 PM

Papa_D:

Does this help?  I think you can see the pic now.

 

cars

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Thursday, January 24, 2019 10:32 PM

All your pictures and posts are coming through now. Great set ! Really like the Marx tinplate cars that are about 3/16" scale. Got a few myself.

Glad your engine is running !

Paul

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Posted by grandnational on Thursday, January 24, 2019 10:41 PM

Thanks.  Yes, getting the loco moving was a huge step forward and a relief.  The cars and power supply seem to be a set based on the Sear catalogs.  It also has an uncouple track but has no vertical piece to actually make it work and a power tap piece which isn't attached to a track, plus I believe some joiners (pins and black rectangles).  There is some Lionel track in the box and also what I believe to be Marx track; 4 straights (including the uncouple piece) and 9 curves (strange number), so my guess it was an oval.  Were 4 straights in a set common? Thx

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Posted by Papa_D on Friday, January 25, 2019 9:23 AM

After searching Greenberg’s Guide to Marx Trains- Sets, Vol 3, your set is most likely 25000-12.

Your transformer looks to be a 709 from ’50. You can confirm the transformer model number by the stamping on the bottom. 

While not your set, a Sears set advertised in ’48 is similar. The transformer (729) that came with this set appears to have 4 taps. This transformer was first produced in ’40. 

A best guess then is your set dates most likely from ’49 or ‘50. Enjoy!

Papa D

 

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