Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Elektoy vs. Lionel

From 1910-1913 Elektoy made #1 gauge trains to compete in the middle of the market. The lower end comprised O gauge trains from Ives and the German imports, the upper end was Ives, Marklin and Bing #1 gauge and Lionel Standard gauge. Elektoy made only 0-4-0 locomotives in electric and steam outline. Passenger and freight cars were simply made, looking a bit like a cross between Lionel's smaller series standard gauge cars and Ives lithographed 1 gauge cars. The cars were painted with rubber stamped details. Their delux engine was made in brass like a smaller version of Lionel's #7. However, unlike the #7 or #6 special, the Elektoy brass engine is the most common one to find of the series.

Alot of collectors like Elektoy and pay big money for it, but no one defends its quality. In fact it tends to be derided as crudely designed and simply made. At least I thought so until I got one of their brass engines (still need a tender).

A quick comparison between an Elektoy switcher shown below and a Lionel #5 shows how much nicer the Elektoy is. Lionel #5s were selling for $8.25 in 1911 with track and the smaller Elektoy 0-4-0 was selling for $7.00. We don't know how much the Elektoy switcher sold for because it wasn't cataloged. There are about 6 known.

Notice that the Elektoy is all metal with a bell whereas the #5 has wooden domes boiler front, and cylinder ends and no bell. The Elektoy has rivet detail on the steamchest, boiler and bunker and a really nice octagonal headlight with pedestal, whereas the Lionel has no rivet detail except for the cab and a simple round headlight stuck on top of the boiler. The Elektoy is better proportioned than the #5, which sits too far forward on the wheels. The coolest thing is the Elektoy name engraved in the steam chest. For a middle of the road item, they really did a nice job.

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