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No, I didn't accidently mis-post something that belongs in the For Sale forum. My chiropractor recently gave me a September 1960 issue of a popular model railroad magazine. A couple years ago this same man gave me a TCA Quarterly with an article by Ron Hollander, which led me to purchase Hollander's book, "All Aboard!", which in turn led me back into model railroading and enticed me into buying my first Lionel O Gauge car, first Lionel set, and more stuff that I can't afford. So my impending financial ruin is kinda my chiropractor's fault. But anywho, this 1960 magazine contains lots of great stuff, such as a Madison Hardware ad that lists a ZW 275 watt transformer for $29.95, an LW 125 watt for $12.95, and Super O Remote Control Switches for only $14.75. As a bonus, Madison Hardware pays postage and includes a Lionel 1959-60 Catalog free with every order. So seal up the catalogs, wait 62 years, and they might pay for whatever you ordered back then. Now admittedly, I couldn't afford even these low, low prices in 1960 when I was two years old. But if only I had a time machine.

I suspect that very few of the dealers still exist. In the Philadelphia area, Allied Hobbies itself advertises ten stores. The magazine does contain ads for two Philadelphia-area hobby shops that are still among the living: Nicholas Smith ("60 N. 11th St, Philadelphia 7"), and Sattler's trains in South Jersey. Among the advertisements is my vote for the most unlikely combining of Model Railroads and Something Else in a single store: Pavone's Shoe Hospital of Plattsburg NY. They sold hobbies along with, as you might gather, shoe repair.

Of interest is the editorial on Radio Control of model railroads that opines, "On the face of it, the whole concept of radio control seems appealing. On the other hand, there's good reason to wonder if perhaps the enthusiasm and effort being generated about radio control aren't a bit misdirected... it might eventually amount to something. Right now, though, its appeal and usefulness are extremely limited."
Other helpful tidbits of this 1960 publication: How to construct realistic scenery using asbestos High Temperature Insulating Cement over Celotex. I also read that "Pure gasoline can be used quite satisfactorily as a solvent to weld styrene."

John

20221203_085446

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Around 1963 my mom was at May Company in North Hollywood CA and they had marked down Lionel rolling stock to 88 cents.  She picked up a #6445 Fort Knox Gold Bullion Transport Car for me.  They also marked down a bunch of Lionel/Porter science sets which she bought as gifts for friends of mine who had birthday parties.   A few years later a local electronics parts store had closeouts of Lionel slot cars for $1.00.

Last edited by Bob Paris

Using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index calculator is a real eye-opener, as Paul noted above!

One of those ubiquitous ads for Lionel in the early/mid 50's was burned into my cranium at the ripe young age of 8...the singleton 2500-series Pullman car, Silver Cloud...$9.95.  Santa had given me the 'Speedliner' 3-car set with the Silver Bluff Pullman.  I dearly wanted that other Pullman.  But Dad had his usual quick response...'Well, start saving your money!'  And, so, I did.   

The CPI calculator says today's equivalent price for that car would be in excess of $110...moving further 'north' daily.  Now, 70 years later CPI calcs make it easier to understand how a kid would view that sort of challenge back then.

At this time of year (holiday sales), when I worked post-retirement at the LHS, I well remember many shocked expressions when grandparents seeking to buy little Jack...or Jill...their first Lionel train set would look at the prices.  'No way!', 'Highway robbery!', 'You must be kidding!', 'My first Lionel cost less than half that price!!', etc., etc..

The shop manager encouraged us to enter into a quick friendly conversation that zeroed in on those memories...the year, the price, the features of the set, etc..  We'd update their perspectives...with the help the CPI calculator.  It was then really quite easy to point out the many, many additional features of the current, comparable Lionel sets...at a today's price even below the price (CPI-adjusted) they remembered.  They got it.  Occasionally they bought it, too!

In fact, it really makes for some interesting discussions when I visit with my two sisters and we recall the seeming largesse that awaited us on the Christmas mornings of our youth.  Both of our parents died in 1984.  As we sorted through the old records they kept...including receipts, notes, circled magazine/newspaper advertisements, paycheck stubs, etc....we were astounded at 'Santa's' generosity, and how hard it must've been for his helpers (Mom & Dad) to save for that annual occasion...as well as other special days throughout the year!!

Yepper, we'd look at those published prices from back then and concede those were 'the good ol' days'!!   And yet...  Pretty humbling, those family memory discussions now.  (Far better than some of the contentious across-the-table ideological crapola I've heard about more recently!)

Ah, well,...meanwhile back at the ranch...

KD

P.S....Re the OP's ad.  Gargraves track for $0.95!?!?!?!?!?

Last edited by dkdkrd

No, I didn't accidently mis-post something that belongs in the For Sale forum. My chiropractor recently gave me a September 1960 issue of a popular model railroad magazine. A couple years ago this same man gave me a TCA Quarterly with an article by Ron Hollander, which led me to purchase Hollander's book, "All Aboard!", which in turn led me back into model railroading and enticed me into buying my first Lionel O Gauge car, first Lionel set, and more stuff that I can't afford. So my impending financial ruin is kinda my chiropractor's fault. But anywho, this 1960 magazine contains lots of great stuff, such as a Madison Hardware ad that lists a ZW 275 watt transformer for $29.95, an LW 125 watt for $12.95, and Super O Remote Control Switches for only $14.75. As a bonus, Madison Hardware pays postage and includes a Lionel 1959-60 Catalog free with every order. So seal up the catalogs, wait 62 years, and they might pay for whatever you ordered back then. Now admittedly, I couldn't afford even these low, low prices in 1960 when I was two years old. But if only I had a time machine.

I suspect that very few of the dealers still exist. In the Philadelphia area, Allied Hobbies itself advertises ten stores. The magazine does contain ads for two Philadelphia-area hobby shops that are still among the living: Nicholas Smith ("60 N. 11th St, Philadelphia 7"), and Sattler's trains in South Jersey. Among the advertisements is my vote for the most unlikely combining of Model Railroads and Something Else in a single store: Pavone's Shoe Hospital of Plattsburg NY. They sold hobbies along with, as you might gather, shoe repair.

Of interest is the editorial on Radio Control of model railroads that opines, "On the face of it, the whole concept of radio control seems appealing. On the other hand, there's good reason to wonder if perhaps the enthusiasm and effort being generated about radio control aren't a bit misdirected... it might eventually amount to something. Right now, though, its appeal and usefulness are extremely limited."
Other helpful tidbits of this 1960 publication: How to construct realistic scenery using asbestos High Temperature Insulating Cement over Celotex. I also read that "Pure gasoline can be used quite satisfactorily as a solvent to weld styrene."

John

20221203_085446

Madison Hardware, spent my youth with Carl and Lou……..two of the nicest people on the planet. I miss them, and the store was a hoot! That’s were I met Frank Sinatra as a kid and had no idea who he was, the boys had great fun with that one!

@ThatGuy posted:

Madison Hardware, spent my youth with Carl and Lou……..two of the nicest people on the planet. I miss them, and the store was a hoot! That’s were I met Frank Sinatra as a kid and had no idea who he was, the boys had great fun with that one!

I miss them too, Carl and Lou, I used to pop into the city occasionally from N.J., they furnished the missing men for my Lionel #50 gang car. What a place they had, if you went in the winter when the sun sets early the neon Madison Hardware sign was mesmorizing even for an adult.

Just a caveat from one who almost was scammed.  You might find a deal on a ZW or anything you are searching for, and it seems too good to be true.  If it is an online seller, not and ebay or other ad, copy and paste their address in Google Maps and see where it takes you.  The last two wonderful deals I stumbled upon, their address was a 2 lane country road surrounded by wheat fields.  They also did not return emails.

It is always nostalgic to look back like this at a different time, like the fact that there were a lot more hobby stores back in the day for example. The prices are interesting, but as always it is easy to look back and say "that was cheap", without realizing what salaries and such were back then. One of the things to keep in mind is that the CPI is a fairly good rule of thumb to figure out real prices but it is only that. For example, for people wanting to send their kids to college, the cost of college since the 1960's has gone up well above the rate of inflation.

Then, too, it is comparing technology. That ZW from 1960 was a really solid unit, and then you look at a modern ZW-L costing close to 30 times what it did back then when inflation is 10x...but the modern ZW-L also has things that old ZW-L didn't have (among other things, a ZW-L was effectively around 190W output..the ZW-L is 600W). A typical car back then cost like let's say 1500 bucks, these days it is at least 35k (and that may be low!), but on a cost basic modern cars are a bargain. They last so much longer,  they cost a lot less to maintain over the life of the car, and even the cheapest cars have features that they couldn't dream of back then, and on a per mileage basis in terms of fuel are a lot cheaper, even with today's gas prices, if you put it in equal dollars (a typical car back then got like 8mpg, today typical cars are well over 20mpg).


When people say trains were always expensive they were. Looking back as adults at the prices, we could say "Wow, I could buy a lot of trains for that kind of money"..whereas someone back then would look at a 29.95 transformer and say "my goodness, that is the food bill for a week" (well, okay, I can't comment directly on what that would be in 1960, but you get the idea).

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