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I am firmly in the camp it was not homemade. This is from a manufacturer. The station and platform roof fascia are bent from the roof stamping. Those were stamped from a pattern, not cut with tin sheers. It is put together too cleanly to be homemade back in the day. Schuco, or whatever the manufacturer Lionel imported from Germany in the 1900's. I'm sure the true origins will be discovered.

I am firmly in the camp it was not homemade. This is from a manufacturer. The station and platform roof fascia are bent from the roof stamping. Those were stamped from a pattern, not cut with tin sheers. It is put together too cleanly to be homemade back in the day. Schuco, or whatever the manufacturer Lionel imported from Germany in the 1900's. I'm sure the true origins will be discovered.

Given the limited nature and quality of the photos, I don't think that one can really say that it is put together too cleanly to be homemade.  There were a lot of craftsmen back in the era who had access to many more tools than most of us have today.  It certainly appears to be a good job, but it certainly could have been done by someone who worked with metals and had access to tooling.

One additional feature that leads me to believe it is a homemade item, is that the roof, chimney, and building sheet metal have the same corrugated pattern.  This would lead me to believe that the individual who made this had limited access to sheet metal or limited funds to purchase such sheet metal.

Another very unusual feature of the building is that the chimney is attached to 2 different sections of the roof.  This seems very unusual and I think is a further sign that this is homemade.

Further examination finds that the length of the roof edges on each end vary.  I note that the edge of the roof on the end with the chimney is almost the same length as each of the sides, but the bend downward appears to occur at a higher point than the sides, and the edge of the roof on the end without the chimney is noticeably shorter than the sides on that end.  This points to the fact that these pieces were not uniformly cut and stamped out by a press.

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

Further examination of the wooden base points to this being homemade.  If you look closely at the photos (I saved them to my computer and then zoomed in on them), you will note that the wooden base is not made of 2 pieces, but rather there are 2 levels to the base, with the top level, which is made out of a single piece of wood, being solely related to the platform.  However, the lower part of the base is made out of 4 different pieces of wood.  There are 2 different pieces of wood under the building with a smaller piece on the side without the chimney (note the joint under the building, which can be seen under the platform in the corresponding place) and then separate pieces of wood that are only under the platform on each side of the building (again look for the joints). 

If this was truly a mass produced item, there would simply be 1 or 2 pieces of wood, not 4 pieces comprising the lower level and then one piece on the top level tying them together and there certainly would not be 2 different pieces of wood under the building.   

What I see is window cut outs are cleanly stamped out. How was this done home made? The green wire platform roof supports are heavy gauge wire, the circles are too perfect to be bent without machine help. The cream colored station paint was applied by a machine. If it was homemade, it would have been painted by hand. Also the patina and chips in the corners of station. I still say not homemade. Maybe Vollmer or Kibri.  More picture would help. Underside of station and platform roof, inside the station building may provide more clues.

Last edited by Chuck Sartor

What I see is window cut outs are cleanly stamped out. How was this done home made? The green wire platform roof supports are heavy gauge wire, the circles are too perfect to be bent without machine help. The cream colored station paint was applied by a machine. If it was homemade, it would have been painted by hand. Also the patina and chips in the corners of station. I still say not homemade. Maybe Vollmer or Kibri.  More picture would help. Underside of station and platform roof, inside the station building may provide more clues.

You seem to think that homemade implies using tin snips and no machine help.  I am in no way implying this.  I think whomever made this station had access to some sort of metal shop / machinery and was very skilled at metalworking.

I also don't think you can state from the pictures that the paint was applied by a machine.  The paint looks very heavy/thick and the photos are not of sufficient detail to discern how the paint was applied.

As for patina, the paint is obviously original to the construction of the piece and/or is very old, so there is going to be patina, which really proves nothing about its manufacture.

You point toward Vollmer and Kibri as potential manufacturers, which seems odd, as these companies were not producing trains until the postwar era of the late 1940s or early 1950s, a time frame, which this station does not appear to have been made, as it is out of scale for that time frame and much too crudely constructed for models of that time.

Gents, overall it first appears to be home madebut the roof supports and windows strike me as machine shop ormass production. I agree that it ismostlikely pre-war. I don't have any usable eyeballs so I don't trust myself to take more pictures but I'll have a friend over this weekend who can maybe take some more. Sorry, all I have is the camera on my phone.

One of the oddities of this building that the gauge of the roof and walls is much heavier metal than anything else I have xperiences.

I think the use of heavier gauge steel of the roof and walls that the OP notes, further points to this being homemade by a skilled craftsman.   The train companies of the prewar era tended to use lighter gauge metal, which was easier to work with and less expensive.  A heavier gauge of steel would have been more costly (which would lower profit) and be more difficult to work with.

I think that looking at the construction (from the inside of the building) would provide more information.  I did note that there appears to be a rivet or screw at the center of each end wall (between the upper and lower windows), which may be attached to some sort of bracket inside.

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

Even a kitbashed Bing would have more ornamentation than this station - here's two examples of Bing - the first from 1912 and the second from ca. 1928.

1912

1912_Bing_Station_11574

1928

1928_Bing_Station_Large_10_618

  Based on my references the 1928 station was cataloged from 1912 to 1928 - in the earlier catalogs is was listed as #7063 and in the later catalogs as 10/618  - to the best of my knowledge what changed over time was the complexity of the paint scheme.  The earlier stations had more gradations of colors applied to the exterior whereas the later versions were simplified.

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While I'm not knowledgeable on structures, everything about this looks homemade to me. Further proof of that is it seems to be one of a kind. If it were made in a factory, many more would have been built and would probably be known about. Nothing about the way it's constructed would be that hard for someone with a little experience building similar structures.

This corner of the roof that I circled, where the sides don't match up, doesn't make sense to have been made in a factory as I would expect a lot more precision. However, it makes perfect sense for something that was homemade, where the builder may have made a mistake and didn't fix it.

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Last edited by Johnbeere

You made the perfect example john. If that was built by someone with that kind of skill, they would not have 'tolerated' the un-eveness of the roof eve. The crown bent in the platform roof would have to take a special bending brake and die so not to crush the corrugation.

Chuck you seem to think that you know that a craftsman/home builder would not "tolerate" the roof edges being off.  That is reading a lot into this as you have no knowledge of who made the station and what they were thinking when they assembled it.

The only thing I agree with you on, is that the bend in the roof/eaves would have taken a brake/die so that the corrugation would not be crushed.  However, since we know nothing about the builder of the piece, we cannot say that they did not have access to such a brake/die.   

I'll admit, I don't fully know what it would take to bend that corrugated roof, I have no experience with this regard. But here's the thing, I'm honestly not convinced that the original builder was so experienced or concerned with perfection. I collect vintage kit-built trains, and it's very common to see mistakes and imperfections in them similar to that roof, so it's easy for me to think that someone didn't care that it wasn't perfect.

Yep after the internals and further investigatory shots .. I am in the craftsman/beardy bloke in a shed/ homemade camp as well , it certainly reflects on being European in style , but this doesnt mean its a European manufacturer, more an indication of the major players in that time period WERE euro companies and thats what buildings looked like that they made ..... there are just too many "Non-factory methods " the major one being the window slatting/soldering ... a Manufacturer would have the resources to clean punch windows with a die ...The heavy gauge of the tin and the lack of variety suggests to me that a home builder cut and folded this up out of a single sheet or sheets that they sourced ... even down to the chimney cap being made out of the same mild corrugation material as is the soldered in door frame ... that would be a beeyarch to get right that could be so easily rectified by instead using flat sheet or angle if it were available to the builder ( as it would be in a factory) . Down to the four part base screwed onto the upper base wood ... just steps that speak of someone using "found" objects rather than "provided" ones ...

It's made well , but its not made "Smart" ... as in factory smart ... However a further option might present itself that this item could be a pre-production sample , something made to give the overall look before being simplified and cleaned up for production, but without some form of provenance you could never seriously make that claim it is factory prototype made by a major player  ...

However dont lose sight that this is a charming piece and should be celebrated as such... its pedigree with nothing to support it , is relatively moot ... it is what it is , and can be whatever you want it to be, but you just cant prove the pedigree without being able to compare it to another or without documentation . In the present scenario with neither its just more in the home-made camp than factory in my eyes .. you can see the opposite , and thats what makes the world a great place

It exists ... and thats a good thing hey ?

Last edited by Fatman

Guys, thanks, all excellent points and wonderful analysis. The notion that someone home made this for the love of the craft or the love of their children adds to its charm. Of course when I am gone my wife can sell it off as a "rare factory prototype" and buy a house in Malibu with the proceeds. Until then I love it as a part of my collection.

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