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original topic title: How old are these Marx 809 and 1409 transformers?

I saw these pics online. I have some different old Marx transformers but these are unfamiliar. The handle orientation sort-of mimics a real loco throttle. Does anyone know when these versions were made?

marx-809-transformer-50-watt-Marx 1409 old transformer-75 watt-

809 transformer at left is 50 watts.  1409 transformer at right is 75 watts. Both are for 60 cycles power.

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  • Marx 1409 old transformer-75 watt-
Last edited by Ace
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Thanks Steve !  I saw some inaccurate information online saying they were postwar.

On the subject of Marx transformers, I notice they typically have lower voltage output ratings than Lionel. So even when the watt rating is adequate, they just don't provide enough speed for some Lionel locos.

The design was so intriguing I bought one just because.  Mine is the model # 909, rated at 45 watts, for use with 25-60 cycle house current.  This area hung on to 25 cycle until roughly 1950 so a lot of the vintage household appliances found around here end up being 25 cycle.  Otherwise, the #909 looks identical to the examples above.

Bruce

Ace posted:

Thanks Steve !  I saw some inaccurate information online saying they were postwar.

On the subject of Marx transformers, I notice they typically have lower voltage output ratings than Lionel. So even when the watt rating is adequate, they just don't provide enough speed for some Lionel locos.

The low max voltage is in line with the design og the Marx motors. Over 14-15V and damage can occur.

Steve

Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:

They are good performing units. When "off" they still provide enough current to keep the reverse unit from cycling, so they had a separate reverse lever. 

I notice some of the old American Flyer transformers have an output range with a rather high starting voltage. Some of the old Lionel transformers are that way when using the higher variable output range. Wondering if there are definite specs on the intended track voltage ranges used by Lionel, Marx, American Flyer.

2012-2172-AF-8B-transformer

This American Flyer/Gilbert 8-B transformer shows 7 - 15 vac for the variable output range.

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  • 2012-2172-AF-8B-transformer
Last edited by Ace

Hello My friends I did a study of Marx made 18 different transformers the I made a list with wattages #1209 and#1209 both 50 watt,#1239- 50 watt,#1229-50watt, #1669-100 watt, #309-25watt and 20 watt,#319-30watt, #709-50watt,#729-50watt, #1859- 150 watt,#1549-70watt,#809-50watt,1409-75watt,#1249AS-50watt and #1249-50watt,#1209-45watt,#329-25watt,#339-30watt,#909-45watt. I think that's all the transformers that Marx made. If I missed any let me know.  My favorite Marx transformer is #1669 100 watt with red reset button. To me #1669 transformer is the best of Marx transformers or I think it is best for the money. Thanks longbow57ca

pd posted:

How about a Jefferson Midget:

Vintage? My guess, mid- to late-1930s.

PD

I have one; with a quirk. 

It will run for a few months then stop suddenly; and no amount of swearing, banging, pressing, pushing or pulling on stuff will make it work again......but waiting two years will.

No joke; it has died 3 times and shelved and wouldn't work the next year either. But the following year(s) as I'm about to dissect it,, meter in hand; it powers up fine. It's running a General right now.

The Jefferson I want is a neat medium sized. powerhouse...red brick paper on hard cardboard and a working porch light so you knew it was on. 

pd posted:

How about a Jefferson Midget:

Vintage? My guess, mid- to late-1930s.

PD

I have one of these and a "little Jeff" as well with the 7-position semicircular control on the side. Complete listing of all Jefferson Transformers here: http://www.roger-russell.com/jeffers/jeftran.htm

jefferson little jeff ad

I don't know why they referenced the George Borgfeldt Company in their advertising as the only train-like toys I have seen from Borgfeldt is the Tonnerville TrolleyToonerville Trolley

and the Nifty (produced by George Fischer in Nurmeburg) trolley,

fischer nifty trolley

neither of which were electric (at least not until Lyle Cain came along in the late 1980s). 

Toonerville Trolley electrification ad 21 Oct 1987

 

Perhaps some of the other electrical toys Borgfeldt imported from Europe required a transformer?

 

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  • jefferson little jeff ad
  • Toonerville Trolley
  • fischer nifty trolley
  • Toonerville Trolley electrification ad 21 Oct 1987
Last edited by Jim O'C
Ace posted:
Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:

They are good performing units. When "off" they still provide enough current to keep the reverse unit from cycling, so they had a separate reverse lever. 

I notice some of the old American Flyer transformers have an output range with a rather high starting voltage. Some of the old Lionel transformers are that way when using the higher variable output range. Wondering if there are definite specs on the intended track voltage ranges used by Lionel, Marx, American Flyer.

2012-2172-AF-8B-transformer

This American Flyer/Gilbert 8-B transformer shows 7 - 15 vac for the variable output range.

As far as I know, all Gilbert-era AC(duh) transformers furnished 7-15 / 7-14 volts.

Here's a poser: I have a Gilbert "ham-can" transformer, as pictured above, but marked for "230 volts. 50-60 cycle input".   It's packed away right now, so I can't examine the plug, but I think it's a US style Edison flat-blade plug.   Any ideas as to intended market ?

 

Fran McM.

RSJB18 posted:

Here's a oldie but goodie. It's from a Lionel M-10000 set that I am currently restoring here

I tested it the other day and it still works. The rheostat is cool but it has asbestos wiring so its wrapped up for now. It's amazing where that stuff was used over the years.

And yes- electrical safety has come a long way.

2019-12-23 18.19.382019-12-23 18.19.492019-12-24 10.02.002019-12-23 18.19.30

Here’s what’s under my Christmas tree:  Lionel “T” transformer, 100 watts, original black cloth cord, mid-1920’s, and #81 rheostat, not currently wired-in.

Works well ( no reversing unit in my #38. )

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Images (2)
  • B29D1429-FEC3-4BB4-8340-1038CAE8DE7A: Lionel T transformer
  • 2E5BFB40-7397-42AF-BB73-FE067298BEEB: #81 Rheostat

Here’s a transformer I came across in a Lionel 1668e set. 

The set came in its original box and appears to have been sold here in the U.K. when Lionel had a official office/agent here before the war.

Not something I’d want to power up and use. But interesting. 
The loco just took a clean and lubrication. Along with a new pick up, brushes and a marker lens along with a new light bulb. And it runs perfectly.

D9D9A4ED-28D8-488E-A5CA-D6D1C2CE40E6B5FABE7B-C47E-4412-A9AD-D608DB8A7F34ECD1009F-0750-4BB4-B5D8-283D1A52EB2D

F51988B6-18AC-44D4-B457-822A37C43515
1BCA9605-126A-4029-8080-55E49319F937


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Images (5)
  • D9D9A4ED-28D8-488E-A5CA-D6D1C2CE40E6
  • B5FABE7B-C47E-4412-A9AD-D608DB8A7F34
  • ECD1009F-0750-4BB4-B5D8-283D1A52EB2D
  • F51988B6-18AC-44D4-B457-822A37C43515
  • 1BCA9605-126A-4029-8080-55E49319F937

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