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Lionel Trains of the 1960s

Lionel Trains of the 1960s

Lionel Trains of the 1960s

Explore the next period in Lionel’s great postwar history with 20+ articles organized year by year in this colorful 100-page special issue. When it comes to Lionel toy trains in the 1960s, this is your one-stop reference.

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
18,18 $(TVA Incluse)

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2 min.
an appreciation for an imperfect decade

There were many reasons to develop Lionel Trains of the 1960s, the latest special-interest publication from Classic Toy Trains. Readers enjoyed learning about the trains cataloged in the 1950s and asked for the story to be carried into the next decade. Also, much of the basic material had been explored in the magazine, so enhancing it with newly written articles was going to be fairly easy. There were many reasons, but the most important justification for bringing out Lionel Trains of the 1960s rested on a desire to correct the overriding sentiment of the close of the post-World War II era. Namely, the criticism of Lionel’s trains from that time. “Cheap,” “boring,” “uninspired,” “shabby,” “embarrassing,” “uncreative” – the list of pejoratives goes on and on. These unfair generalizations prevent us from seeing…

18 min.
the 1960s – a decade of hope and uncertainty

What a difference a decade made! So much that had characterized the mood and expectations of Lionel’s leadership at the dawn of the 1950s had changed by the early years of the 1960s. Hope about the future and determination to dominate the domestic market were evaporating. Replacing those emotions were worry and a powerful sense of uncertainty about how to continue to survive, let alone thrive. Worrisome trends in 1959 The turmoil and uncertainty associated with Lionel’s prospects in the 1960s had their roots in earth-shattering events that took place in the second half of 1959. Stability and assurance had been broken. Recovery from what had happened would require years if Lionel hoped to regain direction. Members of the board of directors, like executives overseeing day-to-day operations, were aware of how the financial…

18 min.
incredible diversity in great sets

For New Yorkers, the 1960s began just as the 1950s had, with the Yankees in the World Series. The results were different, however. Instead of a 4-game sweep, as occurred when the Bronx Bombers played the Philadelphia Phillies in 1950, Manager Casey Stengel’s club lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games. Another constant in New York City was the Lionel Corp. But changes were afoot there. The company still maintained its headquarters at 15 E. 26th St. in midtown Manhattan, but a new leader was at the helm as the 1960s dawned. Joshua Lionel Cowen had sold his controlling interest in 1959 to his grandnephew Roy Cohn. For many Lionel enthusiasts, the change in ownership is reason enough to minimize the overall value of Lionel’s electric trains for 1960. A closer…

4 min.
handful of rare & unique items

Lionel produced some rare items each year, and collectors aggressively pursue legitimate factory mockups and prototypes. Preproduction models of the no. 3376 operating giraffe car and various submarines used on flatcars are probably the most well known examples Lionel made for 1960. There was the decaled preproduction sample of the no. 1805 Land-Sea And Air gift pack Lionel used for an illustration found in its consumer catalog. This unique item would cause many a collector to take out a second mortgage. The prototype for the 6464-900 New York Central boxcar introduced in 1960 was also decaled and so likely was a one-of-a-kind model. Collectors searching for a rare version of this attractive boxcar should, therefore, search for a regular-production that was stamped over a type III body shell. A couple of unpainted black…

3 min.
3535 operating security car with rotating searchlight

ENGINEERS AND MARKETING heads set out to invigorate the line in hopes of winning interest from kids whose taste in toys continued to broaden. No longer was an electric train the favorite on every boy’s list; kids had plenty to choose from. Designers struggled to create entertaining and novel models sure to challenge kids. They were told to keep down research and development costs. So they had to bring out trains that, though new, were familiar enough to appeal to a fickle audience. A wonderful response to this changing market was the no. 3535 operating security car with rotating searchlight. It promised animation in the form of a floodlight easily manipulated. But notable elements of the model struck engineers and consumers as coming from past catalogs. The odd-looking car seemed safe and…

3 min.
3376 bronx zoo operating giraffe car

TALK ABOUT GOING from the sublime to the absurd or vice versa! The same group of new rolling stock that boasted military-oriented models capable for firing rockets and shooting shells had an operating stockcar with a giraffe bobbing through an opening in the roof. Truly, the line for 1960 promised something for everybody! Not that diversity was a flaw. Executives understood how the market was changing; shifts in what kids wanted compelled them to bring out a variety of trains. Some models had to satisfy consumers for whom realism was paramount. Others should follow trends, such as the national fascination with space. Still others ought to be whimsical, like a stockcar transporting exotic animals rather than familiar cows and chickens. The no. 3376 operating giraffe car touched several bases and as such…