Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Super 7 Up Close

The Super 7 is nicer in person than it is on Joe's website. It's one of those locos Lionel definitely should have made. I also think some Day Coaches in Brass and Nickle would look great behind it as well.

This represents some of standard gauge's best. Early Lionel has a charm all its' own. In Lionel's 1907 catalog it says that the #6 "Will operate on 6 good dry batteries on the Lighting Circuit with our arrangement for reducing the voltage". I wonder how many batteries the Super 7 would need? And how long would it run?

The 1906 catalog shows a picture of the #6 that looks more like a Converse pull. The 1907 catalog's picture actually looks like a #6.

What is really interesting about the 1906 Lionel catalog is when you look at the accessories to go along with these trains. There's an "Open Railway Station", a "Passenger Foot Bridge" and a very cool looking little standard gauge bumper.

The reason I am prattling on about 1906 and 1907 is because this was when 2 7/8 gauge was largely retired and the above standard gauge engines made their appearance. Lionel also claimed to have invented a "flexible truck" that made the trains juming the tracks a "thing of the past". Ok, how's that working out, no more trucks jumping tracks anywhere on any standard gauge pike? I don't think so. Nobody seems to have patented a system that completely prevents derailments. None that I have seen at least.

They also introduced the manual standard gauge switch the same year. This stuff was expensive ($3.50 for a full blown #18 passenger car). Still, this was the new iPod of the times. So much new technology in so little space. Lionel claimed they architected motors that used very little battery power (wishful thinking). JLC called it a "Departure Motor". I love the little motors Lionel sold in the catalog by themselves for $2. According to Joe Mania they work great even now. They take a ton of time to make but they work great. Go figure.

Lionel claimed they had a "Good, Better, Best" selection of trains. I wonder where the Super 7 would fall in that equation? Funny how 101 years could push us into everything being best.


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