Allstate Trains?

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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

 
 
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March 22, 2013 12:34 PM

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

 

DAVE ROBINSON

 
 
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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

 
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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.

 
 
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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)

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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)

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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.

 

 

 
 
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March 22, 2013 1:15 PM

Thanks for the info

 

 

-Chris

 
 
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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.

 
 
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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.

 
 
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March 22, 2013 3:48 PM

My first motorcycle was an Allstate Moped. 

 

 

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

 
 
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March 22, 2013 4:08 PM

Add me to the geezer list.

 

I remember these.

 

TCA, LCCA

 
 
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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.

 
 
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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

 
 
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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.

 
 
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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

 
 
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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
  

 
 
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March 22, 2013 8:06 PM

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

My current Marx/Allstate train.

Marx - Allstate

 

 "Scale???"

"This is Marx, we don't need no stinkin' scale!"

Jack/Igor

 

 

 

 
 
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Marx - Allstate
 
 
 
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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.

 
 
 
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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!"

 
 
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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!"

 
 
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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.

 
 
 
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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.

 
 
 
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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

 
 
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March 23, 2013 12:46 AM

 
 
 
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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:

 

 
 
 
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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

 
 
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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.

 
 
 
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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.
 
 
 
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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

 
 
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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     

 
 
 
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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. 

 
 
 
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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

 
 
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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

 
 
 
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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.

 

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

 
 
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March 23, 2013 9:47 AM

According to material I have, Marx bought the metal fork-tilt patent from an inventor before WWII; then in the early fifties improved it by forming it from plastic.  This was better in at least 2 ways:  As mentioned, the tab-and-slot could then be coupled to it, and it coupled more smoothly than the metal one, as it was not prone to bending out of alignment.  The tongue will snap though, if hit just right and hard enough. 

 
 
 
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March 23, 2013 5:55 PM

Here is my 198.  I don't run it much.  Currently it's displayed on a siding "taking on water".

IMG_3113

 
 
 
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March 23, 2013 10:46 PM

Very nice, I'm fond of the 198's, too.  I have a few in addition to the one in the set I posted earlier.  They are a nice looking little locomotive!

 

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

 
 
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March 23, 2013 11:24 PM

My only 3 rail set as a youngster was a Marx set given to me by a family whose older boy had "outgrown" his toy train set.  (I got my other 3 rail "fix" from a friend that had a Lionel set.) 

 

My Marx was a NYC lithographed set and to this day I recall the NYC Pacemaker boxcar the black NYC gondola and the NYC Pacemaker caboose, and its tinplate steam engine.  (However I can't remember if there was a tank car or not.)  I had a ton of fun with that set!  The fork couplers worked GREAT.  You barely touched them together and they were hooked and ready.  Uncoupling was a bit of a pain, as I recall.

 

Anyway, I played with that set for several years until I "graduated" to a Lindberg HO train set with an SW switch engine.  Loved that set, too!

 

Marx are cool.  Really like those lithograph F units.

 
 
 
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March 23, 2013 11:46 PM

Funny how even with all the new stuff I collect.mth,lionel legacy ect. I still find myself looking on the bay once in a while for my uncles old set or thinking of piecing one together. They still some how have that magical appeal even to this day. Even though they were considered dime store trains as apposed to the lionel trains of that era. Plus as some have stated they still run great with a little clean up. Question, did any of the marx steamers have a working smoke unit similar to the puffer type of the lionel's of the day. Plus what about an air whistle in the tender also?
 
 
 
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