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Marx 2150 Hollywood Bungalow

There’s a saying that the only rare Marx train is a broken one. But when it comes to Marx train accessories, that’s not true. One rarity is the Marx 2150 Hollywood Bungalow, also known as the Marx Modern Bungalow. And it’s a shame it’s rare and expensive because it’s a beaut. But it’s fun to talk and learn about at least.

The Marx Marx 2150 Hollywood Bungalow, also known as the Marx Modern Bungalow, was a Sears exclusive in 1938. It cost 98 cents and was only available one year, making it rare and valuable today.

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Nonpareil tinplate trains

Nonpareil is an unsung brand of tinplate toy trains from the early 20th century. Based in Newark, New Jersey, they made floor trains out of lithographed tin that resemble Ives trains, but they are less well known. The company, whose full name was the Nonpareil Toy and Novelty Company, was in business from 1914 to 1933.

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Lionel Laser train set

The Lionel Laser (or L.A.S.E.R.) train set from 1981 and 1982 was a product of its time. Very much so. In some ways it was the perfect thing for Boomer parents to buy for their Gen X kids. At least that was the intent. And while the Lionel Laser is not the pinnacle of Lionel trains, there are reasons to be nostalgic for it, at least if you’re of a certain age.

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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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