Thursday, November 17, 2005

SGA Journals

This was the beginning of collecting standard gauge trains. I'm not sure (based on all of the Gauge 1 stuff I have seen) this is near the official start of toy train collecting. I do know it is close to the official start of standard gauge train collecting though.

This literature is detoriorating. I'm no paper expert but I can see the paper is breaking down. This isn't good quality printing (probably how they kept the costs down).

Matter of fact, it is mediocre printing at best, the pages were typed and then copied. Copiers just weren't at the top of their game in 1958. I'm not sure how these were printed, the font is courier from start to finish and the whole magazine looked like it was typed on a vintage Underwood (see the picture to get an idea).

The printing is really light and a bit difficult to read.

I don't think I'll be able to scan much of these into the blog although I do know some real paper experts (not train paper but people that are really experts with old documents). I'll see if I can get them scanned in.

So what do these read like? They read like the early days of toy train collecting. The pontification of bi-laws, rules and meeting minutes looks a lot like the early days of the TCA. Most of the folks in the club actually became long standing members in the TCA.

There was a die-hard brilliance to these guys I just can't get over. They were so serious about this stuff, it really floors me. This club and collecting was almost like a way of life for them. I only know one of them. Jim Cohen was a member but he didn't seem terribly enamored with membership. He's not enamored with membership in any organization (but that's a topic for another time).

Reading this stuff is like reading scripture. These guys were really serious about solving any mystery thrown their way. In one article, they look at the origins of the dark green 408E. They asked Irving Shull to take them to the Lionel Factory in Irvington where they spoke to the two guys that ran the paintshop in the 30's. Can you friggin imagine? These guys thought the dark green 408E they borrowed from Doc Robinson was a fake because it had some of the inside grills bent. It turns out the guys in the Lionel paint shop remembered painting some 408E's dark green and when they couldn't get the grills to fit in properly they bent them to get them to fit right. Turns out every dark green 408E they were sitting on was real!

They mention that at their meets many of the participants actually date the motors, parts and pieces so they can collect variations like stamp collectors. Price didn't really even enter into the picture because there was so much stuff and so few collecting. This access gave these folks something interesting; time to really compare and study the items. Plus it seems like they had access to a tremendous amount of high quality pieces at almost no cost (or what we would consider no cost). They also talked about fakes, which I found fascinating because the payoff for a fake was diddly (or at least what I think is diddly now; $10 then but a ton of fresh trains).

And if you are interested in Ives, I gotta tell ya, I know some Ives collectors and these guys have everyone beat. I have never seen so much detail about Ives production, especially by people like Hertz. Many of these folks had substantial amounts of experience in both the Ives and Lionel factories during production and they were interested even when they were kids.

I haven't counted them yet but I think I have six or seven of these. Not many were published. How do you think I should try and get these out on to the blog? I've only read about 6 pages and the stuff is fascinating. I know everyone will enjoy it.


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