Skip to main content

Only 10 days before York and I just spent a good part of my train bank money on a boxed 1912 Fandor Pennsylvania RR Passenger set made in Germany. I couldn't resist it - love at first sight!

This is a great departure for this Post War Lionel guy, can anyone school me on this set and Fandor in general? I believe that they became Dorfan when production started in the U.S.

IMG_6820IMG_6821IMG_6822IMG_6825

Attachments

Images (4)
  • IMG_6820
  • IMG_6821
  • IMG_6822
  • IMG_6825
Last edited by Lionelski
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Founded in 1910 by Kraus and his cousins the Forcheimer brothers.  The two names are based on the names of their respective mothers - Fanny and Dora - so it was Fandor in Germany and, when the brothers moved to the US, they called their trains Dorfan.  Dorfan imported trains from Fandor and they also made their own trains here in the United States.

  The Fandor exports to the US were a mix of items that matched US configurations and European trains that had been "Americanized" with the addition of things like a cow catcher.

Here are a few examples:

Americanized Passenger Set

Set_Fandor_Steam_Large_Passenger

American Outline Passenger Set

Set_Fandor_NYC_

American/European Mix Freight Set with Americanized Engine

Set_Fandor_Steam_Small_Freight_Electric

European Passenger Set

Set_Fandor_Passenger

American Style Freight Cars

Car_Fandor_Boxcar_IC_8wh



Car_Fandor_Boxcar_PRR

Fandor_NYNH_H_Caboose

Fandor_NYC_Caboose



European Style Freight

Car_Fandor_Tank_Standard_Oil

Fandor_Side_Dump

Car_Fandor_Flat_With_Airplane_2

Generic but with American style

Cattle_Fandor

Comparisons  Fandor and Ives Litho Treatment

Fandor

Car_Fandor_Boxcar_PRR_Union_Line

Ives

Car_Ives_Boxcar_Union_White

Attachments

Images (14)
  • Set_Fandor_Steam_Large_Passenger
  • Set_Fandor_NYC_
  • Set_Fandor_Steam_Small_Freight_Electric
  • Set_Fandor_Passenger
  • Car_Fandor_Boxcar_IC_8wh
  • Car_Fandor_Boxcar_PRR
  • Car_Fandor_Tank_Standard_Oil
  • Fandor_Side_Dump
  • Car_Fandor_Flat_With_Airplane_2
  • Cattle_Fandor
  • Fandor_NYNH_H_Caboose
  • Fandor_NYC_Caboose
  • Car_Fandor_Boxcar_PRR_Union_Line
  • Car_Ives_Boxcar_Union_White
Last edited by Robert S. Butler

This is a great Fandor set in the box with a nice Kraus label.   I love the transformer with the light bulb which is uncommon with these sets.   If you bring it to York, I would love to see it if we could arrange to meet.   I am in the Yellow Hall A-19 and specialize in Fandor and mostly Dorfan, although not selling much this year.  Some great pictures posted here.  Lots of history between Fandor (Joseph Kraus & Co.) and Dorfan, as Fandor was started in 1910 with Joseph Kraus and his cousin Julius Forchheimer and Dorfan in 1924 with Julius Forchheimer, his borther Milton and John C. Koerber, Chief Engineer for both Kraus and later Dorfan and also Bing.   Doc Robbie wrote in the 1960 Standard Gauge Association periodical that Dorfan carried a look and feel of European trains but were distinctly American, making them really interesting.

Anyway, a really nice set which I would love to see up close.  Thanks.

@Dorfanman posted:

This is a great Fandor set in the box with a nice Kraus label.   I love the transformer with the light bulb which is uncommon with these sets.   If you bring it to York, I would love to see it if we could arrange to meet.   I am in the Yellow Hall A-19 and specialize in Fandor and mostly Dorfan, although not selling much this year.  Some great pictures posted here.  Lots of history between Fandor (Joseph Kraus & Co.) and Dorfan, as Fandor was started in 1910 with Joseph Kraus and his cousin Julius Forchheimer and Dorfan in 1924 with Julius Forchheimer, his borther Milton and John C. Koerber, Chief Engineer for both Kraus and later Dorfan and also Bing.   Doc Robbie wrote in the 1960 Standard Gauge Association periodical that Dorfan carried a look and feel of European trains but were distinctly American, making them really interesting.

Anyway, a really nice set which I would love to see up close.  Thanks.

Hi Dorfanman,

The nickel (chrome?) transformer with the bulb is what initially drew me into this set. Perhaps you can answer a few questions for me?

As you can see from the pics, it came with an adapter to screw into a light socket - as I know NOTHING about Fandor, I've been hesitant to screw it into one to test the set out - would it be OK if I did? The wires look really good.

What does the bulb do? Reduce the current? What if I test it out and the bulb is dead? Would that cause a problem

From the pic of the trains in the set box you can see that it came with 2 bulbs, one larger than the other (neither are marked with a wattage). Just a coincidence or do the different bulbs serve a different purpose?

My first Fandor purchase and I have no idea of its monetary value - can you give me an idea? Everything is in fantastic condition. I won't let on at this point what I paid to avoid embarrassment if I got snookered.

I also found the track interesting - it is much like Lionel track but with neat clips on each one. They are there to just hold the track together better - right?

For fear that it and the box would get beat up in the 245 mile car ride to York (with my, and my friends' luggage, and our our purchases coming home), no, I'm not bringing it to York. I'd be happy to take more pics for you if you'd like though

@GG1 4877 posted:

Don't worry it is.    I am a scale model railroader through and through but have a nice small collection of standard gauge now and a loop of track to run it on.  I love it because it is the complete opposite of my "serious" hobby.

Hi Jonathan,

I also have a few Lionel Standard gauge sets - two usually travel around my Christmas tree. Except for last year when I ran a couple pre-war Lionel O Gauge tin passenger car sets there.

One of my recent posts on my website ( www.Warrenvillerailroad.com ) was about Standard gauge and included a few pics of my "collection" of them.

Last edited by Lionelski

Sorry you are not bringing this to York.   I would loved to have seen it and would love to study it closely.   I wondered if there are any model markings on the train and box.  This is a US Fandor conversion with appropriate cowcatcher pilot and bell added for the US market.   It looks like a 20 volt Fandor 1603/5 Set from 1929, which is the earliest Kraus catalog I have ever seen and have access.  The cars were popular in several steam and electric loco sets and were the 1211 Packwagen or Baggage car (1926-1932) and the 2 1210 Passenger cars (same dates).  Of course the PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD markings are for the US market.

I believe the light bulb is a resister, but without testing it, I can not be sure.  It also would indicate power to the unit.  The screw in adapter was common in the Pre-1930s and was used to screw into a lamp light before there were standardize appliance electrical plugs.  If there were plugs available, you simply removed the screw adapter.  There is a track connector unit.  Most sets would have come with 12 pieces of track but this set box does not look to have space.  You are correct that the clips are to hold the track together.

There is a similar boxed freight set on ebay for under $200, although the engine is incomplete.  Your box is good with the exception of the torn label.  I would price your set at no less than $500 and perhaps more and would enjoy purchasing it from you if you would like.  The set would find a home with its other brothers and sisters.  My favorite is a wooden boxed set which is very early.

I love the history of Krauss-Dorfan.   In 1936, Hitler took ownership of most of the train manufacturers in Nurenburg, which was also home to the Nazi party.  Nurenburg was the capital of the world's greatest toy train manufacturing and most of it was owned and run by Jewish entreprenuers. You can only guess what happened in the 1930s to many of them.   The US leveled Nurenburg in WWII, not to get to the Nazi party but to stop the old train factories which had been converted to munitions works.  The story goes that Josef Kraus was given advice that he was in danger, and he left Germany to England and later to New York where he united with his cousins and friends at Dorfan.  It would make an interesting study what happened to the families of these famous train manufacturers (Bing, Bub, Fandor, and a long list of companies), but not Marklin in Munich) that remained behind.  I took a trip to Nurenburg to find the Kraus factory which was reported bombed in WWII, but we found it.   There is a museum in Leipzig, Germany where an extensive Kraus collection is housed, a gift from a prominent German collector who is on the Dorfan Facebook site and gave me information about the collection.  I have to make the trip, which would be challenging at my age.

if you want to have more money to spend at York, let me know.

John Wheeler  412-352-0471  dorfanman@wheeler.net

Thanks for the info Dorfanman (John).

I see no model markings on the box or engine. I do have the track connector unit and 8 curve pieces of track, 1 straight. Makes an oval with the connector track. The track fits in the box on top of the track connector unit shown in the picture

The guy I bought it from said it was from 1912, but your dating seems more logical. I've corrected the title of this thread to eliminate 1912

I'm impressed with the German quality. The gears on the side frame are perfect and clean, as are the teeth on the wheels. Speaking of the wheels, there is absolutely no sign of "exploding zinc pest " like one finds on prewar Lionel Standard gauge wheels.

The whole train reflects very little use, cosmetically and mechanically.

If I were to ever sell it I will certainly contact you. Right now I'm lovin' it and want to continue to learn more about it.

I will look you up in the yellow hall, look forward to meeting you and seeing your Fandor/Dorfan goodies

Last edited by Lionelski
@Dorfanman posted:

Sorry you are not bringing this to York.   I would loved to have seen it and would love to study it closely.   I wondered if there are any model markings on the train and box.  This is a US Fandor conversion with appropriate cowcatcher pilot and bell added for the US market.   It looks like a 20 volt Fandor 1603/5 Set from 1929, which is the earliest Kraus catalog I have ever seen and have access.  The cars were popular in several steam and electric loco sets and were the 1211 Packwagen or Baggage car (1926-1932) and the 2 1210 Passenger cars (same dates).  Of course the PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD markings are for the US market.

I believe the light bulb is a resister, but without testing it, I can not be sure.  It also would indicate power to the unit.  The screw in adapter was common in the Pre-1930s and was used to screw into a lamp light before there were standardize appliance electrical plugs.  If there were plugs available, you simply removed the screw adapter.  There is a track connector unit.  Most sets would have come with 12 pieces of track but this set box does not look to have space.  You are correct that the clips are to hold the track together.

There is a similar boxed freight set on ebay for under $200, although the engine is incomplete.  Your box is good with the exception of the torn label.  I would price your set at no less than $500 and perhaps more and would enjoy purchasing it from you if you would like.  The set would find a home with its other brothers and sisters.  My favorite is a wooden boxed set which is very early.

I love the history of Krauss-Dorfan.   In 1936, Hitler took ownership of most of the train manufacturers in Nurenburg, which was also home to the Nazi party.  Nurenburg was the capital of the world's greatest toy train manufacturing and most of it was owned and run by Jewish entreprenuers. You can only guess what happened in the 1930s to many of them.   The US leveled Nurenburg in WWII, not to get to the Nazi party but to stop the old train factories which had been converted to munitions works.  The story goes that Josef Kraus was given advice that he was in danger, and he left Germany to England and later to New York where he united with his cousins and friends at Dorfan.  It would make an interesting study what happened to the families of these famous train manufacturers (Bing, Bub, Fandor, and a long list of companies), but not Marklin in Munich) that remained behind.  I took a trip to Nurenburg to find the Kraus factory which was reported bombed in WWII, but we found it.   There is a museum in Leipzig, Germany where an extensive Kraus collection is housed, a gift from a prominent German collector who is on the Dorfan Facebook site and gave me information about the collection.  I have to make the trip, which would be challenging at my age.

if you want to have more money to spend at York, let me know.

John Wheeler  412-352-0471  dorfanman@wheeler.net

Great story John and great history of the company. Thanks for enlightening us.

After searching the internet I cannot find anything that matches this set, engine or transformer. I'm gonna keep an eye out ay York.
The box is in 3 languages; German, English and French - In English the label says "Engine with Reversible Action".
Manufacturer's logo says "Kraus Fandor   JKCo   N" Made in Germany. No set # or anything.
I understand that Fandor of this era ran on 20 volts but people have had success with Lionel transformers. Maybe after York I'll have the guts to try it.

Arne,

I assume you have the 1930 catalog.   I have a number of Kraus catalogs and the Die Nurenberger Anderen books of Nurenburg manufacturers catalogs.   I also have the reprint of that book set which tries to list dates for various catalogs but is hard to decipher.  I have the No. 18 and 19 catalogs which I thought were 1929 and 1930 respectively.  What number is yours and do you have other Kraus catalogs.   I believe I also have parts of the catalogs up  to the 1937 catalog which I am told is the last one.

I have tried to find earlier catalogs and complete numbers from 18 through 27 as well as all catalogs with numbers after 18.  If the No. 17 is from 1929, then one can assume that Kraus issued numbered catalogs from its founding in 1910 through 1929 or numbers 1-16 in each of their production years., but where are any?  None of my contacts in Germany seem to have seen these earlier catalogs, although the Fandor museum in Liepzig may have some.

In addition, I have never seen a US or North American catalog or any newspaper ads or instructions, although we know Kraus heavily imported into the US and we have lots of items to see that.  I have several set boxes with set numbers that seem different from any of my German catalogs.

I am searching for Kraus Fandor experts in the US or Germany and have not been too successful in the US, although there are some in Europe.  Any ideas or info you may have would be greatly appreciated as well as from anyone.  The Schiffman book on Fandor is helpful but tough going since it is fully in German.

John

John,

the picture is from catalog no 17, from the book "Die Anderen Nurnberger" book 2.

I am also not aware of any older catalogs. Catalogs for customers did not exist until the late 1920s, even for dealers there were hardly any. Usually a traveling salesman would come with a catalog and the dealer could order from it.

That is why these catalogs are so rare to find.

Most of the companies in Nurnberg were small, so there was no separate distribution in other countries. That is why there are no catalogs for it.

Only Bing and Marklin were big and had their own trading houses in several countries.

All other manufacturers have sold through mail order companies and department stores.

Here is an example for the USA, from the 1914 catalog of "Butler Brothers" with only manufacturer from Nurnberg.

butler1914

Left:

1 Schuhmann

2 Schuhmann

3 Issmayer

4 Rissmann

right:

1 Bub

2 Bub

3 Kraus

4 Issmayer



Arne


Attachments

Images (1)
  • butler1914

Absolutely fascinating topic! I did not know that I would be interested when I viewed the title of this thread, but I am!

I wonder if the light bulb served the purpose of an early version of a circuit breaker? With some careful attention to the resistance of the bulb balanced against the resistance of the transformer, it's not hard to imagine that the bulb would remain unlit or at least very dim while the train was running normally. But when a short occurs and the current draw suddenly increases, the bulb would illuminate, thereby saving the transformer from overheating.

George

Edit: That is a GORGEOUS train set!

Last edited by GeoPeg

Several very interesting Fandor posts.  I need to study the post by Arne about catalogs.  The manager at the Toy Train Museum in Nurnberg years ago sort of confirmed what you said that early on catalogs were for distributors or major retailers and not for general distribution to the public, therefore fewer copies available.  I have Dorfan catalog inserts designed for inserting into a distributor salesman catalog.  In the US market, therefore, we will need to research these distributor catalogs or ads from them or from major retailers.  There is a TCA person cataloguing ads and train articles from Playthings magazine.  I will check with him.  And, I am still hoping to find more knowledgable Fandor collectors.

On the purpose of the bulb, maybe Lionelski can take his set out for a run.  I hope dome European collectors can tell us if this was a resister or a short circuit alarm.  I have seen pictures of these with several bulbs.

Thanks for all the posts.  Keep 'em coming.

I just caught up on these posts (been at York for 5 days, returned last night) thank you for all of the comments, pics and catalog images.

Looks like my train is getting newer and newer - I was told 1912 when I bought it, then I thought 1922-25 and now, from the 1930 catalog pic pf a German market version, it might be from that year.

Dorfanman, I tried to find you in the Yellow hall but could not - the table charts made no sense to me (they seemed backward) and the hall captain/monitor had no clue.

I would be great if someone comes up with a set of instructions for a set with this bulb transformer ns/or somesort of catalog pic of my American market set..

I'm sorry I missed you, but I was able to discuss this transformer with a bulb with Uwe, the German Marklin specialist in the Orange Hall.   He said the purpose of the bulbs were to lower the voltage on the units from 110-120v in the US to 30-40v so that a 20v engine could run nicely.   He said the bulbs come in different wattages, so it is important to use the right bulb.   There are several sets in the 30s catalogs which show two or three bulbs for the German market which would have been 220-240v to the 20-30v engines.  It would be interested for you to test yours with a volt meter to see what each bulb actually achieves and what the power on the track is should the bulbs light as well as measuring what that the bulbs voltage and wattage are.  Since I don't have access to this type of set (YET), I can't help further.  There were some very interesting Fandor engines at the York meet, one of which I missed since it was bought at a hotel meet, but I did find a fairly scarce Fandor cast electric outline engine, a nice 20v steamer frieght set with some scarce 4 wheel cars and a nice late O gauge station,  Mostly, as usual it was great to meet some fairly knowledgeable European collectors, although most are Marklin, and some old Dorfan friends.

Arne,

Would you be willing to send me via email a scan of the comolete Butler Brothers 1914 catalog page with the Fandor piece?  Also the cover page?

Are you aware of other distributor/retailer catalogs with toy trains, specifically Kraus or Dorfan?  Are you aware of any research on these catalogs or advertisements?  I have some major retailer catalogs which include Dorfan and American Flyer catalog inserts.

John

Dorfanman@wheeler.net

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×