Forums
Search
Video Clips

Allstate Trains?

OGR Forum Member
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 22, 2013 12:30 PM

I have been viewing the Christmas catalogs at http://www.wishbookweb.com/

 

I was looking at the 1956 Sears catalog and saw they seemed to have an inhouse brand I have never heard of, Allstate trains.

So what is the story behind these?

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Chris

 
 
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 12:34 PM

I believe for the most part, they were made by Marx.

 

DAVE ROBINSON

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 12:37 PM

They are basically Marx. I remember them. At least the ones I saw were the same as Marx. The ads show Marx track, transformers and accessories. My first train in 1956 was a Marx

 
S. P. Stanley
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 12:43 PM

Chris:

 

Allstate trains were made by Marx for Sears back in the 1950’s and as I recall were identical to the Marx-branded trains of those days sold elsewhere.  Allstate was an in-house Sears brand for automotive products. 

 

As far as I know the only remnant of that brand is Allstate Insurance which was originally founded by Sears and spun off.

 

HTH,

 

Bill

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 12:52 PM

My first train set was an Allstate (Marx).  I still have it.  The engine was a Marx #666 (2-4-2).  It runs great!  I got it for Christmas 1958.  It was a 9-piece set with transformer (blue) and O34 track.  It may also have had other accessories.  As I recall, the train cars were:

  • Smoking 2-4-2 locomotive (black, metal, very durable)
  • Tender
  • Tank car (blue)
  • B&M box car
  • Large flatcar
  • Evans Autoloader w/ 4 plastic cars
  • Short flatcar w/ Trailer
  • Crane (NYC?)
  • boom-type AT&SF caboose (red)

George

 

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 12:56 PM

Allstate Insurance was a subsidiary of Sears going back to the late 1980's not sure if arrangement extended back into the 1950's

 

L.I.Train (Steve)

TMBModeltrainclub

www.tmbmodeltrainclub.com

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 1:01 PM

Allstate: 1926-1995 (Sears' divestment)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Today, when people think of Allstate, they think of automobile insurance. Over the years, however, Sears used the Allstate brand name on a wide variety of products for the automobile, from spark plugs to rebuilt automobile engines.

The Allstate brand began in 1925 as part of a national contest to name Sears' new brand of automobile tires. Public response in the contest was overwhelming. Before it was over, 937,886 people submitted a total of 2,253,746 names. Entries came from every state and in 25 different languages. Hans Simonson of Bismarck, N.D., received a $5,000 cash prize for his winning entry Allstate.

In 1926, Sears adopted the trademark Allstate for initial use on automobile tires and tubes. The tires-guaranteed for 12,000 miles-quickly became big sellers in the catalog and at the new Sears, Roebuck and Co. retail stores (which first opened in 1925). Sears Chairman General Robert E. Wood credited the Allstate tire with making an important contribution to the success of Sears' retail store program.

Sears formed the Allstate Insurance Company on April 17, 1931. Allstate offered low rates, available to customers through direct-mail sales (Sears catalogs) and through sales booths in Sears stores. Allstate eventually expanded into fire insurance.

The highpoint for the Allstate brand came in the 1950s and 1960s, when the brand appeared on a wide range of products, including garage door openers, fire extinguishers, motor scooters and camper shells. During these years, before seatbelts, heaters, radios, and air conditioners became standard equipment on automobiles, Sears offered a complete line of these accessories under the Allstate brand.

In 1952, Sears introduced the Allstate automobile. Built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation, the Allstate automobile came in two models: The Standard ($1,395) and the Delux ($1,796) models came with a choice of optional four- or six-cylinder engines and a transmission overdrive. All automobiles came with a 90-day guarantee. As popular as the insurance and accessories were, however, few people wanted to buy an entire car with the Allstate name. Disappointing sales caused the Allstate automobile to disappear from Sears stores after 1953.

By the end of the 1960s, Sears limited the Allstate brand name to insurance, tires, and automobile batteries. By the mid-1970s, Sears no longer used the Allstate brand on merchandise. In 1995, Allstate became completely independent after Sears divested its remaining shares to Sears' stockholders, ending the company's 70-year relationship with the brand it created.

 

L.I.Train (Steve)

TMBModeltrainclub

www.tmbmodeltrainclub.com

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 1:09 PM

though there were other stores with their names on set boxes, Marx must have had a unique agreement with Allstate being the only brand name to appear on Marx rolling stock and even two highly prized Marx diesels.  the Allstate E7 A-B-A set (#9638) w/ the orange Allstate bay window caboose may also be the most sought after 8-wheel deluxe plastic set though that is also based on some other rather unique cars in that rather large set (eg: orange Erie flat w/ green tractors, MP green stock car, etc).

 

many of these sets even packed Allstate labeled Marx transformers.

 

 

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 22, 2013 1:15 PM

Thanks for the info

 

 

-Chris

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 1:43 PM

There are a few 027 and HO Allstate sets that were made by Lionel for Sears in the 1960's too.I do not know of any Lionel locomotives or rolling stock that were marked "Allstate" like several of the Marx items.

 

Also Sears used the "Happi Time" label on many Marx trains in the early 50's.

 

 

 

 

Proud member of the Mid America 3 Railers and the TCA.

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 3:44 PM

Gentlemen,

   I remember seeing these train sets when I was a boy in the Gas Stations,

All State Gas Stations were very small and independent, they disappeared about 1965.  I guess you could call them Gas Station Train Sets.  Both Lionel and Marx

made them.   Sears and Pennys also had them at Christmas time.  They were usually less expensive.

PCRR/Dave

 

 

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 22, 2013 3:48 PM

My first motorcycle was an Allstate Moped. 

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 4:08 PM

Add me to the geezer list.

 

I remember these.

 

TCA, LCCA

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 4:30 PM

Allen,

   You lucky dog, I wanted one of them so badly, but we had no money in those days

for me to have one.  Hope you enjoyed yours!

PCRR/Dave

 

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 22, 2013 4:59 PM

Originally Posted by Pine Creek Railroad:

Allen,

   You lucky dog, I wanted one of them so badly, but we had no money in those days

for me to have one.  Hope you enjoyed yours!

PCRR/Dave

Yes, Dave, I was indeed very lucky.  My dad, in particular, spoiled me rotten, thus the start of my bounty of Lionel trains when I was a kid.  I suppose it was because I was the only boy and had two sisters.  All the high-end stuff came from my mom and dad, and I bought the smaller Lionel items with money I earned doing all sorts of odd jobs. 

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 5:58 PM

Allan,

   I was spoiled in other ways, that most kids could never imagine.  I was raised in Potter County, Pa in the back woods by my Dad & Mom, with my Grandparents.

I had dogs and guns and fly fishing rods, most of all I had the greatest Grandpa

a boy can ever imagine, who taught me about Gods mountains and life.  No Allan you were not spoiled, I was.  In addition my trains came out at Christmas time,

and provided memories for a life time.  There was hardly any money and I never knew it.

PCRR/Dave

 

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 22, 2013 6:15 PM

Originally Posted by Pine Creek Railroad:

  No Allan you were not spoiled, I was.  In addition my trains came out at Christmas time, and provided memories for a life time.  There was hardly any money and I never knew it.

PCRR/Dave

I think we both were spoiled..in different ways, perhaps, but spoiled nevertheless.  I had as good a boyhood--and at the right time in our history--as a lad could hope to have.  VERY lucky!

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 6:19 PM

Boxed sets can still be found at most train shows. Many go unnoticed as they are usually being offered with the Marx sets

 

TCA - Glancy Trains Modular Group
  

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 6:47 PM

The Allstate car was a 1952 Henry J with a Allstate nameplate. They were sold through Sears stores, mainly in the Southern states, that sold auto products.. The car also had Sears sparkplugs, tires, and battery. 1,566 cars were made in '52...half that in 1953. Kaiser-Fraizer dealers were very unhappy with this arrangement. '53 was the last year for both Henry J and Allstate cars.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 8:06 PM

My first electric train set was a Marx/Allstate in 1959.

My current Marx/Allstate train.

Marx - Allstate

 
 
 
Photos (1)
Marx - Allstate
 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 8:12 PM

Nice set there, dj.  A great variety of sets was made under the Allstate name over the years.  For example, I have a New Haven E7 A-B diesel set in the striking orange, white, black scheme with freight cars and a green "Allstate" transformer.  I picked up a dummy A to make an A-B-A, and it pulls Lionel NH 027 passenger cars quite handsomely.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 9:00 PM

I don't generally collect sets, but I couldn't pass up this Allstate #9512.  It is a Marx set with a windup 198 locomotive.  Unfortunately, this set is missing the boxcar and the inserts, but it's still neat.  This would have been produced sometime in the early 1960's.

 

Allstate set #9512 Box

 

Allstate set #9512 train

 

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

My Clockwork Trains Website

My Clockwork & Live Steam Videos

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 9:08 PM

Oops, forgot to include a scan of the advertisement for my Allstate train set.  This is from the 1964 Sears Christmas catalog, page 214:

 

Allstate Windup Train

 

I would love to buy a new set for $3.89!

 

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

My Clockwork Trains Website

My Clockwork & Live Steam Videos

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 22, 2013 9:11 PM

James, I LOVE the 198.  When I first saw one pictured in a book I had to have one, and was fortunate to locate it pretty quickly.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 12:13 AM

Originally Posted by overlandflyer:

though there were other stores with their names on set boxes, Marx must have had a unique agreement with Allstate being the only brand name to appear on Marx rolling stock and even two highly prized Marx diesels.  the Allstate E7 A-B-A set (#9638) w/ the orange Allstate bay window caboose may also be the most sought after 8-wheel deluxe plastic set though that is also based on some other rather unique cars in that rather large set (eg: orange Erie flat w/ green tractors, MP green stock car, etc).

 

many of these sets even packed Allstate labeled Marx transformers.

That sounds like my first train set that was ordered from Sears around 1958 - 1959. My parents had ordered a steam engine set but they were sold out so Sears substituted the larger and more expensive set with the Allstate E8  A_B_A and a lot of cars - the gray depressed center flat with transformer load, flat with two green tractors, stock car with a animal loading platform and a large set of pigs and cows, double door box car, bay window caboose, a flat with two tanks on it, a flat with a girder strapped to it,  I believe there were several others but I cannot remember them.  I still have the set buti t is packed away - still in its original packaging! 

 

It was a wonderful set that brought me hundreds of hours of enjoyment.  The fact that it still runs is a testament to Marx's ability to make affordable trains that Last.

 

Happy railroading,

Don

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
KMK offline
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 12:34 AM

Sears also used the Allstate brand on playsets (garages, war and more) made for them by Marx.  There are also Marx slot car sets that carry the Allstate brand.

 

Sears also carried Marx train sets under the "Happi Time" brand.  The Happi Time brand was also used on Marx playsets (usually a farm) and numerous other Marx toys.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 12:46 AM

The HappiTime name was used through 1955, then they went to Allstate. Sears did have a special arrangement with Marx. They got some things first. The cast wheels and roadbed track were Sears exclusive for a time before being available to others. As Gary mentioned, the  E7 in orange and black and the light blue  S2 with their matching bay window caboose carried the Allstate name. Also there were blue Allstate 2 & 3 dome tank cars and Allstate gondola's. These are fun due to the wide ranges of blue they can be found in. The dark blue is the most attractive to me.

Here is a video of me showing my first O set, Allstate set 9625.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2koMifH4Xk

 

Steve

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2koMifH4Xk

 

Steve "Papa" Eastman

Yorba Linda, CA

Left Coast, Home of the lunatics

 
 
Like (0 likes)
KMK offline
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 12:46 AM

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
KMK offline
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 12:53 AM

More Marx playsets, using the All State brand (note both also use the Happi Time brand as well.)  From the 1959 Wish Book:

 

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 23, 2013 6:14 AM

A couple of books worth tracking down if you're interested in these glimpses into the past are:

 

The Toy Train Department (Vol. 1--Sear's Catalog's Electric Train Pages, 1950-1969)

 

The Toy Train Department (Vol. 2--Montgomery Ward's Christmas Book Catalog, 1950-1969)

 

also...

 

Boys' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties (Sears Catalogs Toy Pages, 1950-1969)

 

I have all three, purchased some years ago.  I'm not sure about current availability.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 7:51 AM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:

A couple of books worth tracking down if you're interested in these glimpses into the past are:

 

The Toy Train Department (Vol. 1--Sear's Catalog's Electric Train Pages, 1950-1969)

 

The Toy Train Department (Vol. 2--Montgomery Ward's Christmas Book Catalog, 1950-1969)

 

also...

 

Boys' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties (Sears Catalogs Toy Pages, 1950-1969)

 

I have all three, purchased some years ago.  I'm not sure about current availability.

Allan, you have some valuable stuff. Amazon lists Vol.1 at $128. new, $45. used...Vol.2 $199, new, $100. used. Boys Toys only $22/$17.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:16 AM

Can any one tell us here about the design and the history behind the marx forked coupler. Why no compatability with lionel rolling stock as far as the couplers? Was it a patent issue at the time? My first set was my uncles allstate steam set. I have had trains in my life ever since.
 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 23, 2013 8:22 AM

Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:

Allan, you have some valuable stuff. Amazon lists Vol.1 at $128. new, $45. used...Vol.2 $199, new, $100. used. Boys Toys only $22/$17.

I've found that in recent years, certain printed materials seem to increase in value a whole lot more and faster than toy trains.  I recall once, some years ago, getting $400 for a first MTH catalog, which was really more of a brochure.

 

Maybe I can retire some day by selling off my rather extensive collection of toy train and railroading books and then just hold onto the trains. 

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:23 AM

My first train set was a Marx I received in 1960.

 

I wish MTH would expand their tinplate line to include some of these trains.

 

Thanks,

 

Phil     

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
KMK offline
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:25 AM

Originally Posted by Lionelzwl2012:
Can any one tell us here about the design and the history behind the marx forked coupler. Why no compatability with lionel rolling stock as far as the couplers? Was it a patent issue at the time? My first set was my uncles allstate steam set. I have had trains in my life ever since.

It could be that the Marx coupler design was determined by cost considerations.

It was also back compatible with earlier Marx tab and slot couplers. 

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
Editor-in-Chief, OGR
Become a Premium Member of the OGR Forum
 
March 23, 2013 8:26 AM

Originally Posted by Lionelzwl2012:
Can any one tell us here about the design and the history behind the marx forked coupler. Why no compatability with lionel rolling stock as far as the couplers? Was it a patent issue at the time? 

I assume it was a patent issue, and Josh Cowen was pretty darn aggressive about protecting his firm's patents.

 

The man who would really know more about it is Jim Flynn, former manufacturer of the New Marx line of trains.  Jim is one of the premier authorities on Marx trains in the country.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
Like (0 likes)
KMK offline
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:29 AM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:
Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:

Allan, you have some valuable stuff. Amazon lists Vol.1 at $128. new, $45. used...Vol.2 $199, new, $100. used. Boys Toys only $22/$17.

I've found that in recent years, certain printed materials seem to increase in value a whole lot more and faster than toy trains.  I recall once, some years ago, getting $400 for a first MTH catalog, which was really more of a brochure.

 

Maybe I can retire some day by selling off my rather extensive collection of toy train and railroading books and then just hold onto the trains. 

The Sears Big Toy Box from CTS (Classic Toy Soldiers) is the one book I would own as a reference source in this area.  I've had it for a number of years and have both enjoyed it and learned a great deal from its coverage of both the Marx and Lionel trains Sears offered each year from 1951 to 1969.  The $ 29.99 price can not also be beat.

 
Last edited by KMK March 23, 2013 8:37 AM
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:33 AM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:
Originally Posted by Lionelzwl2012:
Can any one tell us here about the design and the history behind the marx forked coupler. Why no compatability with lionel rolling stock as far as the couplers? Was it a patent issue at the time? 

I assume it was a patent issue, and Josh Cowen was pretty darn aggressive about protecting his firm's patents.

 

The man who would really know more about it is Jim Flynn, former manufacturer of the New Marx line of trains.  Jim is one of the premier authorities on Marx trains in the country.

Plus, back then, Lionel, Marx and Gilbert wanted you to keep buying their trains, not "the other guys."

 

Rusty

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:39 AM

Shhhhh....us Marx colletors have been trying to keep the attractions of Marx trains

secret for years...hoping everybody will collect Lionel and Flyer and not splash in

this pond...with two Greenberg books on Marx, including Bob Whitacre's book on

Marx sets, the secret hasn't been well kept. Depending upon contributions from Marx collectors, coupled with Marx making unknown numbers of different sets, for sure, not all (probably not even close) are included in the Whitacre book, you never know when you are going to discover an oddball, different set.  Marx's tiny and infrequent catalogs did not address sets, so what you find is what you get.  All those mail order

catalogs cited above , plus Western Auto, Alden's, Spiegel,  and others, do list many of them, and may reveal a gotta have, gotta find, set.

 
 
 
Like (0 likes)
OGR Forum Member
 
March 23, 2013 8:57 AM

Originally Posted by KMK:
Originally Posted by Lionelzwl2012:
Can any one tell us here about the design and the history behind the marx forked coupler. Why no compatability with lionel rolling stock as far as the couplers? Was it a patent issue at the time? My first set was my uncles allstate steam set. I have had trains in my life ever since.

It could be that the Marx coupler design was determined by cost considerations.

It was also back compatible with earlier Marx tab and slot couplers. 


I never understood why the metal fork couplers were not back compatible with the tab and slot couplers. The newer plastic fork couplers have a slot that makes them work with the tab and slot type. Much more versatile.

 

Marx also sold an adapter for the tab and slot coupler which would allow them to be coupled to Lionel couplers.

 

Doc

 
 
Like (0 likes)
 
Post Reply
 
 
Powered By Hoop.la


OGR Publishing, Inc.
33 Sheridan Road, Poland, OH 44514
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com