Note: I am rebuilding this website.
Here's a link to the old site.

Archive for the 'Prewar 0 Gauge' Category

Lionel 4 Wheel 600 Pullman O Gauge 1915-25

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Lionel 600 passenger set in orange

Lionel introduced the O gauge line in 1915 with 3 different sizes of passenger cars. The little 4 wheeled 600 Pullman cars were the smallest O gauge car. In fact this is the smallest O gauge passenger car ever made by Lionel.

The first year the 600 was made in dark green with a gold stripe under the windows.In 1916 the gold stripe was dropped.

In 1918 Lionel changed the color of the car to maroon. Maroon is the most common color of the 600 Pullman car as it was made until 1925.

Brown cars were made in 1919 or 1920.

Beginning in 1921 Lionel painted the 600 Pullman in some odd colors.  The orange cars shown on this page are an example. Only 2 sets are known in orange. One set is known in olive green.

Some of the dark green cars without gold stripes may also be specials from the 1920s, but they don’t look any different  from the cars produced earlier so are largely ignored by collectors. A dark green 600 Pullman with a corporation stamp on the bottom is probably a later special rather than a regular production item.

The pullman was always lettered New York Central Lines over the windows and pullman under the windows in gold. The number 600 is usually on the car end to the right of the door, but some cars have the number on the bottom.    Earlier cars have “The Lionel Lines NY USA” stamped on the end, later cars have a Lionel Corporation stamp on the bottom.

The 600 Pullman came is sets with the 700 and long 150 locos in dark green.  Maroon and brown cars came with 150 and 158 locos. The orange cars came with the maroon 150 loco shown in the photo above. I don’t know what loco pulled the olive green cars, but assume it was a 150.

close up of orange 600 pullmans

Lionel reused the number 600 for a Pullman car in the 1930s.

Lionel 820 Boxcar O Gauge 1915-26

Monday, June 20th, 2011

 Lionel Brown roof 820 box car from 1915

The 820 Box car was introduced by Lionel in 1915. The first runs of cars were yellow-orange with brown roof as shown above. Few of these brown roof cars were made, and they are very rare.Some guides say the roofs were produced in brown and maroon, but I’ve never seen a maroon one.

The Brown roof 820 is much rarer than the brown roof 4 wheeled 800 boxcar.

After a few brown roof cars were produced, Lionel changed the roof color to match the body.

Cars were produced from 1916-26 in yellow-orange and in a darker shade of orange.  Both shades of orange cars had Illinois Central or Union Pacific road names. There are quite a few variations of the lettering on the orange cars.

Sometime in 1916 or 17 Lionel made a run of dark green 820 box cars lettered for Santa Fe. My dates are based on a photograph of trains running under a Christmas tree that shows two dark green cars that is dated December 1917 on the back.

The dark green car is worth more than the brown roof car, because it’s more popular. The all orange cars are quite common and relatively cheap. Any box for these cars is harder to find than the car itself, and if in nice shape with all flaps will bring more than the car.

I’ll add pictures of the other colors of The Lionel 820 boxcar in the future.

Note: The number 820 was also used on a floodlight car made by Lionel in the 1930s.

Lionel Mickey Mouse Circus Train 1935

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Lionel Mickey Mouse Circus Set

This is a really desirable Lionel prewar windup train set from 1935 only. It’s O gauge.

The set is pulled by a 1508 loco with Mickey Mouse stoker tender. Here’s a closer shot of the loco and tender.

Lionel Mickey Mouse Barker

Also shown in the photo above is the composition Mickey Barker.  Made of compressed sawdust the figure is very fragile and few survived.

The cars are a 1518 Diner, a 1536 Band Car, and a 1536 Animal car.  While the cars share the same body, the litho is different.

When sold the set came with a cardboard tent and tickets.  These are seldom seen today, but reproductions have been made.

Pride Lines made copies of this set using an electric motor rather than a windup.

Lionel 700K Scale Hudson Kit 1939-42

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Lionel 700K Kit Hudson Assembled In Primer Grey

In 1937 Lionel introduced the famous 700E Hudson locomotive. This was a scale 1:48 model of the New York Central steam locomotive. The assembled 700E came with a walnut display stand and was the first commercially produced die cast O scale locomotive made.

The 700E Hudson was very popular with the newly emerging O scale operators. By the mid 1930s a movement towards scale or realist locomotives had grown up in the US and many operators built kits. Factory assembled scale locomotives and cars weren’t available. So the Lionel Hudson was a first.

In 1939 to accommodate O scalers who wanted to build their own locomotive Lionel began offering the 700E in kit form. 5 kits built the locomotive and tender, and a sixth kit contained a whistle for the tender. The kits could be built for inside or outside third rail.

To make it easier for modelers on a budget, Lionel sold the kits separately. Some modelers built the locomotive and never painted it black so there are a few original gray 700K locos out there. (The one shown at the top of this page is an original kit locomotive assembled and unpainted.) I always wanted to build a 700K so since I had acquired most of the parts I decided to build my own Hudson kit.

The first kit 700K-1 came with the frame with wheels mounted, the crossheads and valve gear need to be mounted..

I lost the picture of the frame before adding parts, but you can see it under the trimmed boiler shown in the third kit.

This portion was a mess. Because I was using parts from junk Hudsons I used the best of each part I had and bought the missing parts. The frame I used came from a 763E so this loco has blind center drivers.

I had Don Hagar replace one of the wheels and straighten the frame. The wheel Don replaced broke in the mail on the way back so the frame had to make a return trip. Don didn’t charge me for the shipping or the work required to replace the wheel.

This whole process of getting the frame ready to mount the valve gear took 2 months acquiring the parts and dealing with the broken wheels.

Then I sat down to start putting the parts in kit 1 on, and the cranks and crankshafts on the parts engines were either modified or broken. I ordered replacements from Sal Olsen.

Sal sent me the wrong rivets to attach the cranks to the crankshafts, and one of the cranks was defective. Another month as the parts went back and forth.

Everything sat in boxes for months waiting for the parts. Some of the time was occupied by other pursuits, but it was quite frustrating to sit down and start working only to realize something was missing or broken.

If I wasn’t already bald I would have been pulling out my hair.

Anyway I finally got kit 1 put together. Here’s both sides after the assembly of kit 1:

700K-1 frame assembled

700K frame with valve gear

The second kit 700K-2 included the motor, e unit, collectors - inside and outside, the headlight and a lead weight.

The second kit went together in minutes. I test ran the loco to make sure everything was correct only to find a short in the e-unit. I don’t have an e-unit to cannibalize for parts so I decided to temporarily wire the engine without the e-unit so it only runs forward.

Here’s photos of both sides after the parts in kit 2 have been added to the frame:

700K frame with motor

700K-3 assembled

The third kit contained the boiler and cab assembly and all the trim. Below is a photo of a Hudson boiler without the trim installed.

700K boiler unpainted

I added the trim to the boiler while I was waiting for the frame parts. Here’s both sides of the boiler after mounting trim. I set the boiler on the frame before the parts in kits 1 and 2 were added to the frame.for these pictures.

700K boiler primer gray with trim

700K boiler primer gray with trim

The next step is mounting the boiler to the frame. Another short showed in a wire coming off a brush at this point. The original wire is cloth covered and it was pinched between the cab and the frame. I’ll rewire it when I put the new e-unit in.

Here’s pictures of the trimmed cab mounted on the frame with valve gear from step 2:

700K boiler mounted on frame

700K boiler mounted on frame

700K-4 contained the ash pan, ladders, coupler and pilot, boiler front, lead and trailing trucks and some small bits of valve gear that attach to the boiler.

These parts were easy to mount. Because I used a 763E frame, I don’t have the holes to mount the coupler chain assembly. When I pull it apart to mount the e-unit I’ll drill the holes and mount the coupler chain. The boiler front also needs the lower grab irons.

I did get the rest of the loco assembled, and here’s pictures of each side:

700K finished model

700K finished model before painting

Now I am supposed to take the whole thing apart and paint it black. Not going to happen. I do have the decals and will letter it in the future.

Kit 700K-5 contains the tender. and kit 700K-6 contained the whistle. I have a tender in my box of parts, but I don’t want to repaint a nice looking tender so this loco won’t have a matching tender until I find a restorable 700T tender. Got one?

Photo of original 700K Hudson in primer gray courtesy of an anonymous collector.

Lionel 2814R Reefer Car 1938-42

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Lionel 2814 reefer car
Lionel added remote control couplers to the 814R reefer in 1938 to create the 2814R refrigerator car. Two versions were made both are shown on this page.The white with blue roof is more common than the later rubber stamped car.

Lionel 2814R reefer carLionel 2814R White, light blue, aluminum.

Lionel 2814R reefer car

2814R Flat white, tuscan, black. Rubberstamped lettering.

Lionel 814R Refrigerator Car 1929-42

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Lionel 814 reefer car
Lionel introduced the 814R refrigerator car in 1929 in the ivory and peacock color scheme. Because this car was not made in 1926 no short wheel base cars exist. In 1934 the color was changed to white with a light blue roof. The white and blue cars were made until 1940, when the flat white and tuscan cars replaced them. The first run of flat white cars had nickel plates- not shown, but I’ll add a picture as soon as I can buy or borrow one. The rest of the flat white/tuscan cars had rubberstamped lettering.The flat white/tuscan 814R with nickel plates or with rubberstamped lettering is the hardest reefer to find. Both version of the flat white car are among the hardest Lionel 800 series cars. Personally, I think the one with nickel plates is harder because I have a rubber stamped one. The other refrigerator cars are common with the exception of the cars from 1934 and 1935 with mixed trim.

While many collectors get excited about the aluminum frame cars, they are no more difficult to find than the earlier black frame cars.

Lionel 814R Ivory sides, peacock roof, black frame. Brass trim.

814R White, light blue, aluminum. Brass trim. 1935 notch car.

814R White, light blue, aluminum.


814R Flat white, tuscan, black. Rubberstamped lettering.

Lionel added remote control couplers to the reefer in 1938 and sold the resulting car as the 2814R

Lionel 2813 Stock Car 1938-42

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

In 1938, Lionel added remote control couplers to the 813 stock car and introduced the 2813. The 2813 was made from 1938 through 1940, and came in cream and maroon only. The 2813 is not shown above but it looks the same as cream and maroon 813

Lionel 813 Stock Car 1926-42

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Lionel 813 Stock car

The Lionel 813 Cattle car was introduced in 1926 in orange with a pea green roof. In 1935, the color changed to cream and maroon. The cream and maroon car can be found with brass trim (harder to find) or with nickel trim. In 1940, Lionel removed the nickel platesfrom the car and changed the color to tuscan with white rubber stamped lettering.

The rubberstamped 813 is the hardest stock car to find; it is also one of the hardest regular production cars to find. Perhaps only 20 cars exist. Here’s a guess as to why these cars are so hard to find: all of the cars I have examined-five- have holes in the ends. These holes are from the stamping dies, and correspond with where the embossed rivets should be. The rubber stamped cars are made of thinner galvanized metal, rather than the thicker tinplated metal used on the earlier cars. I am guessing here, but perhaps the dies used to stamp the cars deformed the thinner metal of the car sides so that only a few of the stampings were useable? It would require a lot more pressure to stamp the slats in the car than to stamp rivet detail in the car ends. Or, maybe Lionel had lots of cream and maroon cars in stock and didn’t start making tuscan cars until the war had started? I don’t know, but whatever the reason this is one rare car.

Some books say the rubber stamped 813 stock car is the rarest Lionel 800 series car. It’s not. The white/brown roof 814R reefer with nickel plates and the 816 black with rubber stamped lettering are both much harder to find.

The rest of the stock cars are easy to find with the orange and green car being really common. The 813 stockcar is the most commonly found short wheel base car. It is so common it won’t even bring a premium price over the normal wheelbase cars.

813 Orange sides, pea green roof, Brass trim.
This is a 1926 Short Wheel Base car.

813 Orange, pea green, brass.
Compare door handle on this car to larger handle on car above.

813 Cream, maroon, brass. This is a 1935 car with mixed trim.

813 Tuscan, rubber stamped lettering.

In 1938, Lionel added remote control couplers to the 813 stock car and introduced the 2813.

Lionel 3814 Automatic Merchandise Boxcar

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Lionel 3814 boxcar

Lionel’s 3814 merchandise car actually threw small crates out by remote control. The boxcar doesn’t work very well though. When it does work it throws the crates about a foot. That would have to be one very strong guy hidden in there to throw a crate 50 scale feet.

The 3814 automatic merchandise car was one of the first remote control cars made by Lionel. It was cataloged from 1939 to 1942. Two versions were made - the decaled version shown above and a rubber stamped version shown below.

Original Lionel crates come in red or brown (shown) and have “Baby Ruth” embossed on them. Reproduction crates are available and do not have “Baby Ruth” on them. Collectors will pay $10-15 for the empty envelope the crates came in.

Rarity: While most collectors think the rubber stamped 3814 is harder to find, the decaled version is actually harder to find. The decaled version was made in 1939 only.

Lionel 3814 merchandise car

Lionel 3814 Tuscan. RS lettering.

Lionel 2814 Boxcar 1938-42

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Lionel 2814 Rubber stamped Boxcar

Lionel introduced the 2814 Boxcar in 1938. It’s the same as the Lionel 814 boxcar but has automatic couplers. The 2814 was only made in two color variations. Both are shown on this page.

Rarity. The Cream and maroon 2814 from 1938-40 is much more common than the later rubber stamped car.

Lionel 2814 Boxcar

Lionel 2814 Cream with maroon roof and door guides

Lionel 2814 Boxcar

Lionel 2814 Flat orange with tuscan roof. RS lettering