Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jerry Williams Story 2

Ah, the Williams Prewar Years.... I like Jerry's stuff now as well. I know it is all Lionel Postwar knock-offs. They work extremely well and are probably the best post war prices in the industry (for new gear). If you have are anxious for a GG1 or Berk in O gauge, check out:



Jerry Williams Story

I was intrigued by some of the info I saw on early Williams Standard Gauge so I did some digging. Check out this article on Jerry and the early evolution of Mike Wolf....

Let me know if you need help blowing these up. The best way to blow up pics and keep them straight is here:

www.picasa.com (download picasa software and use it to view pictures).


Monday, October 24, 2005

Pride Lines in their own words 3

Last part of the Pride Lines article. I'm done babbling. Just blow this up and read it!! Best way to do it is download it from the blog and blow it up using Microsoft Word or MS Picture.

Also, some of you have asked me for Jim Cohen's info. Send me an email and I will be glad to give it to you. I spoke to him last week and he said he would be glad to discuss custom trains or do some consulting.


PS She changed our world, trains included - Rosa Parks, we'll miss you!

Pride Lines in their own words 2

You're going to have blow this up a little to see this but it's worth it.

One more thing, I know I am going to get some letters saying "I thought you liked Rich Art or JAD or Jimmy Cohen or McCoy." I like all standard gauge, regardless of manufacturer.

But here's one thing I see missing out of our hobby: we need to take a very holistic view toward manufacturers. Competition is good for consumers. This is usually true except when competitors don't exist because the market is too small.

The standard gauge market is small and we need every manufacturer we can get. These folks can't look at themselves as competing for finite dollars, eventhough that's true. Any manufacturer in the market helps expand the market and is most likely not taking food out of another's mouth.

Here's the thing; the supply for standard gauge is very small and the demand is small albeit not as price sensitive as other markets. When a supplier exits the market it makes the existing products more expensive (less new products entering the market), reduces selection and eventually contracts demand. Price can become untenable. When a market is this small competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games, computers and HO trains highjacks potential newcomers.

You want to see 200 series cabooses for $3k with no alternative? Let manufacturing exit. You want to be playing with trains on a computer instead of in-person in 2025? Nope.

Here's the bottom line: we need to take a holistic view of the standard gauge and prewar market. Unless we are belabored by extreme malfeasance on the part of the manufacturer, we need everyone we can get. Preferably in our neck of the woods.


Pride Lines in their own words....

I am going to wax nostalgic for a moment, please bear with me. I hate it when a good company slows down or goes away. Family business departures especially bother me. It isn't necessarily because I like the product (eventhough I do) or that I like the people (I do).

It bothers me because it signals a symptom. It is the changes our society seems to be going through that we shouldn't tolerate. I like doing business with people, families, whatever you want to call it, it's still me handing money to someone I know. They use it to buy goods and services for their company or more likely themselves. It's a one to one exchange and the money goes to other people within the community.

I'm not naive. I know that products get built by all kinds of people all over the place. But most of the products I have in my home are no longer built by people right here, in my country and in my neighborhood. Is it progress? Well, maybe. But probably not.

Just try calling a 1-800 line for help for your computer. Progress left the building long ago after it was outsourced. I speak to lots of customers all day long. They all call me because they like speaking to someone they know will fix what's broken and learn from the mistake.

Let me finish my waxing by saying I'll miss Pride Lines and the New York toys they made in Long Island. They are a company that made graceful little playthings that are now part of train collecting lore. Ok, I am calling the Minwax people to remind me that they are the one's making the wax, not me.

I was scanning a ton of old literature the other day and came across this article by John Davanzano about his company; Pride Lines. I was going to do some OCR and try to scan it in, I just decided that you all can read it as intended. Check it out, it has some things I didn't know about Pride Lines.

Another Shot of the old Sefton Layout in 1977

Before you all start writing me letters about how it's not Tom Sefton's museum, it's the San Diego Railroad Museum, stop. I know.

I like how this layout is done. I wish I had this kind of room in my attic. I have to start considering my layout in two phases. By the way, click on this pic (or any on the website for that matter) to blow it up.

Phase 1 - Will be the initial layout to showcase stnadard gauge and Leland Detroit Monorails plus some accessories. Basically it will be flat with a tunnel. 2006 is the official start year and 2007 (1/2) I will finish (or as finished as I can be).

Phase II - Provided I don't move or have some ridiculous illness, phase II has to involve knocking down my office walls in my attic in 2025. Maybe by then I can have helper robots pack up my standard gauge trains, knock down the walls, clean up the mess, haul it down two levels of Victorian House and polish the 130 year old pine on the floor. It will expand my space by about 25 to 30 square feet. I can move my office and a few prized trains downstairs. Hopefully my kids will be out on their own (depending on what the economy looks like 25 years from now (don't ask, I really hate speculating on the economy, it's too depressing)). Hopefully the solar cells on top of my house and batteries in my house will power the ZW (yes, it will still be used even then).

I'll add some stretching room for the standard gauge as well as a large 2 7/8 addition (two 2 7/8's bridges and an elevated). Maybe a small O gauge pike as well.

It sounds bizarre but I look at the old TCA Quarterly's as well as some of the old literature I have from the early part of the 20th Century and there are a ton of guys that started collecting before television. More than half of the TCA still doesn't use the internet (not a slant, just reality).

Layouts evolve over decades and mine is going to start evolving in 2006. I wonder what the world of trains will look like in 2025? Looking at the above picture, I could have lived just fine without computers, cable or cell phones in 1960.


Tom Sefton Circa 1977

I'm going to start discussing layouts more and more. This layout is probably one of the nicest I have seen (besides Bill Krames' 1 Gauge Layout).

By the way, I know most of the Krames items were sold to Ward Kimball. I liked Ward's layout but I think I really liked the way Bill had his train room decked out even better. Everyone is nostalgic for Grizzly Flats (including me).

Here is Tom Sefton's layout long before the museum bore his name. It was started in 1960 and had 630 feet of track in 1977. I guess we really missed some of the glory days of collecting. I've heard stories from some of Tom's friends on how he acquired items. All above board and very gentlemanly mind you but those were the days when Comet sets were had for $15 a car and Lionel Trolley's were found in attics and whole lots of Pre WW I toys were bought for $25.

Still, this is a glorious layout. Click on it to blow it up.


David O. King

This is kind of neat. I have seen David O. King O gauge stuff but I have never seen his standard gauge gear.

This is from a 1977 Quarterly. Weird, I remember 1977 really well. It was almost 30 years ago. The slot cars and Micronauts that I bought at Kmart in 1977 are considered kitsch antiques. Gotta figure that one out someday.

Does anyone have one of these? Some pics of them operating? They look really interesting, at least they are something different than the stock Lionel replicas that get turned out 99% of the time. Does David still make these?


McCoy on eBay

There is some really nice McCoy out on eBay now. Matter of fact, if you missed York and you are pining away for a 200 or 500 series freight, there is a ton of nice stuff out there right now for not a ton of cash. Just a thought....


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Nov. Stout Auction

The Stout Auction is up! Don't miss checking out this auction!!! It has a ton of very cool standard gauge. It's kind of mixed in with all the Postwar stuff but that's ok.

Makes me feel like I am rummaging through a box under a table at the St. Vincent's show at Elmont.

The sets! The 10 Interuban! The Ives 1 Gauge!

Hey, I also noticed CTT (Classic Toy Trains) is issuing a 100th Anniversary of Standard Gauge. I'm kind of looking forward to it. Most of the Classic Toy Trains Mags are pre-occupied with current production and postwar stuff so I'll be interested to see how they cover standard gauge.

More coming! I've doing some research. I've got found some interesting stuff on Pridelines. Seems as they are closing up shop soon and they WILL be missed!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NETTE Nov. 2005 Auction is up!

The NETTE Nov. 2005 auction is up. Use the link to go and take a look. Some very nice standard gauge is out there.

I am a fan of Mark and Naomi, Mark is a good guy to bounce trains off of. If there is anyone out there that knows real vs. repro, it is Mark Tobias. He can smell a fake a little under 2 miles away!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More Gauge 1

Wow. Just wow.

Bill, we're still not worthy.


Bill Krames Gauge 1 Layout

I was gazing at this and wondering what happened to this amazing layout. If I had seen this before standard gauge, I would probably be a Gauge 1 Collector.

This train room and this collection is just amazing. Now just imagine the huge difference color digital photography has made in our lives (and it only took 40 years to get there!). Still, even in black and white, this panorama is awe inspiring.

How fitting that a founding member of the TCA have one of the most glorious layouts ever. I liked Ward Kimball's collection but it just doesn't hold a candle to this. Did anyone reading this actually get to see this?


More of the Herd

Another nice 1965 black and white shot of the thundering herd. I have seen some great standard gauge layouts but this one has to be the most voluminous.

Blow up this picture on your screen. I wish I could make a poster of it. I wonder what all this stuff sounded like when it was running full blast?


The Thundering Herd

I was looking in some old TCA Quarterly's and I found this one from 1965. It is really something.

Anyone that lives on the East Coast has heard of Fred Ziegler. He probably had the largest collection of 402's and 408's ever. Grab this picture and blow it up.

Rumor has it that Fred used to run all of these 402's and 408's along with a whole bunch of TCA'ers and a keg of beer. I have never been to a train house where we also consumed a keg of beer simultaneously! Probably why so many trains were wrecked in the early days (you thought it was boys lighting them on fire and jumping them over Plasticville houses!).

Also, check out the collection of cabooses Fred has on the top shelf. Talk about top shelf cabooses!

Ya just dont' see this kind of thing anymore, it really kind of hit me when I was looking at this old Quarterly. It got me thinking.... Running trains is much better than acquiring them.

Check out some of the other pics.


Mysterious Postwar Standard Gauge

Ok, I'm guilty, I'm a postwar nut. Postwar standard gauge though.

I've seen some great discussion on Post WWII standard gauge on the Yahoo Groups lately. I want to keep that going.

Why do we like it? One word: MYSTERY. Everyone loves a mystery. Did you see the amazing little Wakeling cars Arno grabbed off of eBay last week (see below)? It was said that they were prototypes and that they were the only one's produced and the manufacturer died. Sounds like some drama to me. Great ideas that meet an end too early (or their creators) are almost always interesting.

Forget about the money they might be worth, they are really cool looking and I have never seen them before. Did the manufacturer die? Did he make any more? Did he make any variations? How do they work? What do they look like on an operating pike? Were they easy to make? What was the inspiration?

There is a ton of incredible standard gauge that was not produced by Ives, Lionel, American Flyer, Boucher and so on. Much of these are one off's or very low production. They are typically amazing models that are as good as anything Lionel would have produced, sometimes better. Most of the time, the really crummy one's fall apart and don't stand the test of time. The really great one's appreciate a little in value and a whole lot in innovation and creativity.

Some day there may be a "Pebble Beach" of toy trains (AKA York) where we can pull up our one of a kind items and put them through their paces. At the moment it's just the "Seen at York" part of the TCA Quarterly.

Not everyone collects 400E's and 200 series boxcar variations. Rich Art, Jim Cohen, CMT, Jerry Williams, Forney, Roberts Lines and more are some of the amazing creations out there. Check out the little engine above I found in a 1964 TCA Quarterly. Just friggin amazing. Has anyone actually seen one of these things? That seems to be the question every time I see a new piece of standard gauge I have never seen before.....


T-Repro Tipple

Hmmm. I just got this in the mail. I know there are still quite a few of you out there smarting from the $400 plus loss you suffered. After I got this advertisement in the mail I called Norm Thomas to say hello and see what this was all about.

He says he can't keep these things in stock for more than a day or two. It is a hugely popular product.

I have heard both sides of the T-Repro story (Norm's and several of my esteemed colleagues). Sounds like there was some hardship on both sides. Well, be that as it may nobody ever said life was going be easy or simple. I offer the board up to comments in one direction or another.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Word Verification

I have some interesting news coming up tomorrow but first a quick word; we now have word verification in the comments area.

"Sweet Abraham Lincoln's Mother! What are you talking about Marc?"

What I am talking about is the new feature that takes spammers out of my comments area and discussion parts of the BLOG.

When you go to post new comments, the BLOG will ask you to verify your comments with a coded word (presented to you onscreen). A computer won't be able to interpret this word but a human can. Bye bye computer generated spam on my message boards.

Interesting stuff on the way tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I can not believe I missed this!

I can't believe I missed this incredible little car on eBay. It is for standard gauge track. Very, very cool little item. The seller said that the manufacturer was a guy named "Wakeling". I am going to go back over my TCA Quarterlys and ask some folks what I can find out. This is a one of a kind item I guess.

Man, this is the kind of stuff that I like. This is definitely something that turns heads. The seller said that this was a prototype. I am not sure if that's the case, the pictures depict a very slick looking finished good. Any thoughts? Stephen, thanks for bringing it to my attention (shoot for before the auction ending next time!!!).