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That Is No Country For Old Men

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  • Member since
    June, 2018
  • From: Chicago, IL
  • 148 posts
Posted by Eilif on Thursday, August 15, 2019 8:09 PM

Facinating stuff.  Thanks so much for posting it!

My dad was born in '56 and though it wasn't a main hobby of his, both he and one of his brothers did model trains (O and HO respectively) for several years.  I assume it was as kids but I should ask.  He still has his Lionel trains and a box of his model airplanes.   The last time I visited my uncle he said he still had his trains but hadn't run them in a long while.  The next time I visit I'm going to surprise him with an oval of EZ track and a transformer and bring some cleaning and lubing supplies.

I haven't bothered with issues of MR pre-80's as I don't model much before then, but I've really enjoyed reading some of the books published in the 50's and 60's just for the perspectives, writing style and ideas contained within.  It's facinating to see what ideas and developments were distinctly "of-their-time" and which have endured. 

The statistics in the first post don't surprise me much. Especially the ages of the hobbyists as that was the same time that model building and other relatively skill-and-labor-intensive hobbies were in full flower among the youth.

My guess is that the parents of those born in the 50's and 60's largely hadn't grown up with the hobby and hadn't taken it into adulthood. 

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad for Chicago Trainspotting and Budget Model Railroading. 

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,043 posts
Posted by dknelson on Saturday, August 17, 2019 11:50 AM

selector
Forty percent inflation between 1950 and 1956?!!!?? It's not stated specifically, but if wages increased that much, so did inflation, even if only somewhat closely.

That statistic struck me too.  One possible explanation is that the GI bill was being taken advantage of in large numbers and people were upwardly mobile in the work force due to their new educational level, and so their new jobs and pay grades took effect during those 5 years.

Another explanation is that over that time period the model railroading population became less working class (skilled labor, often) and more professional class: so it wasn't an increase in wages for the same work, or the same worker, but different lines of work.  The 1950 to 1956 time frame was an era of a constant stream of new entrants into the hobby, so changes in average income were not necessarily just pay raises for the same group of guys working the same basic job, but for new entrants of a higher income level.  

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,922 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, August 17, 2019 8:10 PM

dknelson
The 1950 to 1956 time frame was an era of a constant stream of new entrants into the hobby, so changes in average income were not necessarily just pay raises for the same group of guys working the same basic job, but for new entrants of a higher income level.

And don't forget the higher paying unionized industrial and construction jobs. A high school dropout could land a high paying industry or construction  job. 

Even at 15 I was making $50.00 a day unloading boxcars-that's two boxcars a day or one 50' double door boxcar loaded with lumber-pay was  by the linear feet. You had to work fast unloading the car to make that money though.

I had a Social Security card and lied about my age. They didn't check ages back then.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,775 posts
Posted by rrebell on Monday, August 19, 2019 9:30 AM

York1

 

 
riogrande5761
I find all of this discussion a bit like morbid wallowing, like life is basically over and mostly all that is left is to remember the past. 

 

 

While I don't disagree, I think it also is a call to those of us who love this hobby.  We can't stand the thought that in 20 years, the hobby as we know it will have died out unless new young modelers take it up.

 

Funny, I have heard that ever since i started and I am 66. We have more of everything now and in real $, most things are cheaper.

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