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What is tin lithography, or tin litho?

Tin lithography is a manufacturing process involving printing a design on tin plated steel, then forming the metal into a design. Lithography is the specific printing process in this case.

Tin lithography is something of a lost art today, or it is at least much less common than it used to be. Tin lithographed toys were, in some ways, the cheap plastic toys of their era, occupying a lowbrow space alongside cast toys made of pot metal. Today the process is largely used for gift boxes and novelty items.

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Lionel semi flat black

When repainting or restoring post-war Lionel locomotives, many hobbyists used and recommended a Krylon product. That part number was 1613, and it was available at many hardware stores. Unfortunately, Krylon no longer sells it at retail. Fortunately, there is a substitute you can use today for Lionel semi flat black.

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What is a Lionel E-unit?

You don’t have to hang out with Lionel enthusiasts for long before you hear about a mysterious thing called an e-unit. But what is a Lionel e-unit, anyway?

The Lionel e-unit is an electromechanical device that allows Lionel trains to sequence through forward, neutral, and reverse when the operator cycles power to the track, making it easier to simulate train operations. Originally the e-unit operated using a solenoid, copper fingers and a drum to change the motor’s polarity. In recent years, various companies have replicated the e-unit’s function with electronics.

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Japanese tin trains

Some time ago, I had an idea to build a tin HO scale train layout using one or more old Japanese tin trains. I never got around to it, but Ralph Graves had the idea independently of me, and unlike me, he followed through and built what he imagined in his mind. The results are, in a word, spectacular.

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Marx 6-inch observation car

The Marx observation passenger car was a 6-inch passenger car based on the design Marx used for its 6-inch freights. The basic design underwent some changes and updates over the years, but Marx used the name from 1935 to 1942, then resumed production in 1946 and continued until 1961. Observation cars ran on the end of passenger trains and had a platform that passengers could use to admire the landscape as the train moved.

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Marx Bogota passenger car

The Marx Bogota passenger car was a 6-inch passenger car based on the design Marx used for its 6-inch freights. The basic design underwent some changes and updates over the years, but Marx used the name from 1935 to 1942, then resumed production in 1946 and continued until 1961.

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