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)
Tank car (blue)
B&M box car
Evans Autoloader w/ 4 plastic cars
Short flatcar w/ Trailer
boom-type AT&SF caboose (red)
TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?