In the 1940s and 1950s, Skyline of Philadelphia manufactured and marketed a line of toy train-oriented building kits. Actually, there were two lines: One was a line of building kits made of cardstock and wood, and one was a smaller line of lithographed tin buildings, similar to the inexpensive toys made by the likes of Louis Marx, Wyandotte, and countless others in the days before ubiquitous plastics.
I’ve long suspected the two product lines came from the same company, but had no evidence to prove it until Ed “Ice” Berg produced scans of a Skyline catalog containing both paper/wood and tin litho buildings, side by side.
Louis Marx was the founder of the toy company that bore his name. His larger toys became staples in Christmas catalogs for generations, while his smaller toys dominated the discount stores of their day.
Louis Marx was first and foremost a toy salesman, but he lived an interesting life. He counted President Dwight Eisenhower among his friends, and Daniel Ellsberg, known for the Pentagon Papers, married his daughter.
Sakai made a switch in the postwar era that looks a lot like a Lionel 1121 but acts like a Marx 1590. But if you use a Sakai control panel, it wires up differently from both of them. Here’s how to wire a Sakai O gauge switch.
The wiring diagram was on the back of the box, which you may not have anymore. I have a copy, as well as an explanation of how it works.
Are Lionel trains AC or DC? That’s a trick question. Traditionally, Lionel trains run on AC but there are exceptions. And even when Lionel trains run on AC, they sometimes do some DC trickery. Let’s explain.
Traditional Lionel trains from before 1969 can generally run on either AC or DC, but are better off running on AC. Some Lionel trains sold in discount stores in the 70s and 80s did run on DC, as a cost reduction measure.
The Marx 333 and 1829 were the largest O gauge steam locomotives Marx produced. But even though Marx’s competitors would sometimes make both a diecast and plastic version of the same engine, that’s not what Marx did here. Let’s take a look at the Marx 1829 vs 333.
The 1829 wasn’t just a plastic Marx 333. The design of the casting differs from the diecast 333, and it used a different trailing truck, since the 333 was a 4-6-2 Pacific and the 1829 was a Hudson. The motor was similar, and like the 333, it came in both smoking and non-smoking versions.
Truth be told, most of our train tables are probably overbuilt. The size and strength of them isn’t the only consideration, and overbuilding them probably does make construction a little easier. But we also don’t need to go crazy with our materials. Here’s how much weight a train table can support.