Greetings all. Joined the forum recently after years of stopping by as a visitor. I could not find a formal introduction section to the forum so I’m hoping this post will act as such.  I grew up in Elizabeth, NJ back in the 60’s, not far from the site where the  Lionel factory in Irvington once stood.  Even at a young age I had an appreciation for “old things”. We lived in a house that was built in the early 1900s. The creaky stairs led to an attic which was filled with cobwebs, old furniture, framed portraits of past family members and cedar chests filled with old clothing and keepsakes.  I was always "exploring" up there looking for treasures.  There was one item in particular that brought me back time and time again…the old box of Lionel trains. The 390E set had a locomotive, a tender and three brown and tan cars;  Pullman, Mail, and Observation. The outfit was originally purchased by my paternal grandfather sometime around 1929 when my father was born.

GJC_Cycle_FullRez

My grandfather (far left on the black Harley) ..the original owner of my 390E set. Newark, P.D. circa 1938

I’m not sure what the cost was at the time but it was likely a stretch for a motorcycle cop with a wife and 3 kids. When my father left the Air Force in the early 50’s to start his own family, he took the trains with him and stashed them in the attic.  By the 1960’s when I came along, these trains were already “antique” looking. Unlike the small plastic HO trains my friends had, these trains were huge and made entirely of metal. The engine I could hardly lift. I would take the cars out of their boxes and roll them along the floor or on a piece of loose track. The faded label on the carton showed an elaborate layout with a bridge, a giant factory with smoke stacks…a switching tower and a train station on a platform. There were crossing gates, street lights and telegraph poles.  The kids playing with the trains on the box were squeaky clean looking with slicked down hair and Cardigan sweaters ...and they were wearing ties! This was now the psychedelic 60’s …the age of long unkempt hair, bellbottom pants and tie-dyed tee shirts. I studied that illustration endlessly, I was fascinated by it.  I wanted to be one of those kids even if it meant I had to wear a tie...I was hooked !

box

The box illustration. The stuff that dreams are made of.

 When I would ask my father if we could set them up he would reply “when you’re old enough”. It was right around Christmas time in 1969 that I guess he decided I was responsible enough to run the trains. My Uncle Joe, a carpenter for Thomas & Betts, built a platform from 2x4s and Homasote which we painted with flat green paint. It was in the middle room of the attic and built to sit directly on the floor. There were no Lionel accessories but there were some homemade wooden houses and a church that my grandfather had built. We made a simple oval with the tarnished stamped steel track and wired up the Model T transformer and sliding rheostat. Excitement and anticipation filled the air. With a hum and some sparks and a nudge to get it moving I saw for the first time the mighty engine turning its wheels under its own power as it rumbled along. Even with the Homasote cushioning the sound you could hear the rumbling of the train in the house below. It was the moment I had waited for.  The excitement was short lived however, and it didn’t run long before it stalled…then again…and again.

A closer look revealed the problem. Besides the dirty track and dry gears, the engines drive wheels had cracks in them, lots of cracks. They were actually crumbling under the weight of the locomotive.

It was disappointing but we determined it would never run right unless those wheels were fixed. The nearest train shop was a place called Rosewood Hobby located on Wood Avenue in Linden, the next town over. Through the front door and against the wall to the right was the “service area”. We placed the engine up on the glass display case.  The man behind the counter peered over his glasses as he looked at the engine and shook his head. He could replace the wheels but they would have to be ordered . It was looking like our first Lionel Christmas was not to be.  

On the way out of the store another man walked over, I’m assuming it was the owner. He pointed at a stack of huge colorful boxes piled up on the floor. Shiny brand-new HO train sets complete with  track, switches, houses, trees, etc. He said “If you’re interested, I would trade you one of these new sets for that old train. Takes up a lot less room and you’d have it for Christmas.”  Even at 9 years old I knew this was a bad idea. My father smiled and said “no thanks we’ll pick up the engine when it’s ready”. I remember that like it was yesterday.

We got the engine back and for the next few months enjoyed the sights and sounds and smells that come with running a 30-year-old toy train. When summer rolled around the track was taken down and the trains were boxed up again. We never again set them up in that house.  I didn’t know it at the time, but soon enough I would become the next caretaker of the trains that never seemed to run.

When my father passed the train set fell to me. I kept that 390E outfit with me through the next 30 years...first job, dating, marriage, eventually raising my own family. Moving from house to house the safety and security of the Lionel trains was always paramount and I kept looking forward to the day I would see them run again.  I’d go to train shows now and then or swap meets or antique shops.  (This was before the days of Ebay). I focused mainly on collecting accessories and scenery rather than rolling stock. ..always dreaming of finally building that layout I had pictured in my mind. I have everything I need. The Hellgate Bridge…the 840 Power Station…the Terrace Station Platform…just like the picture on the old box.  

390E

The 390E that has been in the family since new.

I’m still dreaming and still waiting for that day to come. The train set is nearing 100 years old. Heck the replacement wheels we put on are now 50 years old ! I find it sad that it has spent most of its life in storage. Maybe soon. I’m retired now and have the time to make it happen.

 When that day comes, I may just put on a tie and a Cardigan sweater and comb my hair down neatly (what's left of it) . I guess you’re never too old to play with trains.

 Gerry C.

Normandy Beach, NJ

 

 

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Loved your post Gerry.......it reminded me so much of my childhood, and our first "train-set". I was one of seven children born in the early 1950's, so there was not a lot of spare money to go around.

My father brought home a little "Buco" 3 rail "O" gauge train set (1955) that included the Swiss electric loco and two tinplate passenger carriages. There was enough brass 3 rail track to make a small oval, and a funny looking "Hag" transformer. I also got that same instruction.... that I was not old enough to operate the train-set on my own, and it must be under the watchful eye of my father.

When I left home and finally got married, my mother said the train-set should be with me after all these years. It still remained boxed-up in its original carton, and I hadn't played with it in many,many years. When we moved to our present house (14yrs ago) my wife said she had never seen this train running, and was sick of moving the box (stored in the top of a wardrobe) everytime we moved house.

Out of some sort of curiosity, I set it up on the dining room floor and, low and behold, the little loco fired-up and ran around the small oval track straight away, after being neglected in its storage box for over 50yrs. Childhood memories came flooding back to me of my father and me on the lounge room floor watching this little tinplate train running around the small oval track.  

Long story short, I now have an incredible "Buco" layout in my 3rd garage, (amazing what a disposable income and no children left at home to feed, cloth, and educate will allow you to do), and I am told by the Buco fanatics in Switzerland I probably have the largest "Buco" "O" gauge collection outside of Switzerland.

Like you said Gerry.....you're never too old to play trains!!!!!! 

Peter on the sunny Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. 

Gerry

Great story and picture of your grandfather, thank you for sharing. That Lionel 390e is a real looker and I am sure worth it's weight in gold as it was your grandfather's and then your dad's. You are never too old to play with trains. It  keeps us young and brings back memories of our youth. 

Dean

Born in the land of the Monon

Live in the land of the 611 and 1218

Hey Dean:

Don't want to hi-jack Gerry's thread, but if you insist......here are a couple of photos of the layout, some of the Buco loco's I have (many in storage bins under the layout) passenger cars, and rolling stock (mainly Buco.....but I do have a weakness for MTH diesels and Williams loco's). There is also a couple of photos of my original train set from 1955 still in its box.....I give it a run on special occasions but I'm keeping it "for best" as Grandma would say!!!!

Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I have enjoyed collecting these trains over the past 14yrs.

PS......Just purchased another Buco train-set on "The Bay" this afternoon from a guy in Switzerland before anyone else could get to it. Best $300.00 (Aus) I've spent in quite a while.😁😁

Regards.....Peter in the land "down under"DSC01589DSC01590DSC01591DSC01592DSC01595DSC01596DSC01597DSC01598DSC01599DSC01600DSC01601DSC01589DSC01589DSC01590DSC01591DSC01592DSC01595DSC01596DSC01597DSC01598DSC01599DSC01600DSC01601

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Gerry great story seems like a lot of us here on this forum have similar stories and memories. We know the history of the train but where is the HOG(Harley)?

Rick

PRRT&HS #8473

N&W HS  #5825

State College, PA

"And the sons of Pullman Porters, and the sons of Engineers

   Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel"

    "This train got the disappearing railroad blues"

 

Peter - great looking trains and layout. Like the car posters too. Thanks for sharing. I had never heard of Buco, but I can see why you collect them as they are great looking, and very colorful tinplate. I need to read up on them. As I sit here typing this and watching trains go by on my TV via youtube and virtual rail I am still amazed that the technology allows someone in Australia and someone in Virginia to share photos, videos, and comments at the click of a button. I am 66 years old and never would have dreamed this would be possible some day. Have a good night and thanks again.

Gerry - Retirement is a great time to get going on that layout. My layout is nothing fancy and is a work in progress, but it is a place to run some trains and have fun. The sooner you get to run that good looking 390e the better. Sounds like you have some great accessories for your future layout already with the Hellgate Bridge, 840 Power Station and Terrace Station Platform.    Look forward to seeing pictures of you in that sweater in front of your layout just like on the box. Thanks again and welcome to this great forum.

Take Care

Dean

Born in the land of the Monon

Live in the land of the 611 and 1218

Thanks to all for the replies and warm welcome. 

Buco I have to admit I had never heard of that company either but those are some very interesting looking trains and a great layout you have there. 

Dean I agree that nothing evokes fond memories and nostalgia like an old set of toy trains. I have immersed myself in many different hobbies throughout my life, from  slot cars to vintage arcade games to antique cars. I enjoyed them all but felt no remorse when I moved on from them. There were times over the years when the money got tight but I never once considered letting go of the Lionel trains, despite the fact that I have not operated them since I was 10 years old. Too many fond memories attached. 

Rick I wish I knew what became of the motorcycle. A friend of mine identified it as a 1936 Harley Davidson VLH 80 one of the last of the big flathead powered bikes. At one time I had thought about trying to re-create the bike in the photo complete with full law enforcement dress  but that is a venture that would require some deep pockets.  My father never spoke of the bike so I assume it was the property of the Newark PD and was turned in when he (my grandfather) retired. On a side note he was assigned to a motorcade that was escorting a dignitary arriving on the Hindenburg . He was there at Lakehurst when the ship caught fire and crashed to the ground. 

There are no better memories than vintage toy train memories, except perhaps for memories of one's first love as a teenager. My first home layout (in the late 1940s and early 50s) had American Flyer trains -- two steamers and a SF diesel passenger set. My dad let me believe I built it, but the truth is, my role was mostly as an onlooker and his "go-fer" for tools. When in high school, I sold all the AF trains to a neighborhood kid who was assigned to bed rest for a year while recuperating from Rheumatic Fever. Those trains became his pastime - hopefully with a therapeutic benefit. My boyhood trains were gone, but those memories remain -- as affirmed by other contributors to this thread.

After dad passed, I re-entered the hobby at age 50 with an interest in Lionel rains of the Rock Island, the RR that served my home town (Peoria, IL).  Over decades, I collected every RI train made by Lionel, then gathered RI trains by other makers:  MTH, Marx, Weaver, Williams, and others. After a stroke and a cardiac incident, I sold nearly all of the trains via Stout Auctions -- all eight pages of my RI trains list were sold in a weekend.

During the past two years, I built an L-shaped layout at our house. Memories of enjoying trains with my dad now live again, so I can share "Train Fever" with my two great-grandsons.

Mike Mottler   LCCA 12394
mottlerm@gmail.com

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Gerry :  Welcome, great story about the 390 set, you are truly privileged to have retained custody of a family heirloom like that.  I am also a "Jersey Guy" , born in Orange, NJ and lived in Bloomfield up until 5 years old and then In North Arlington, NJ until I married at 21. My first train (or was it Dads?) arrived in 1947 and  was a Lionel PW PRR Steam Turbine powered work train with a crane and a work caboose with a searchlight.  I still have pictures of it but the trains are long gone.  I sold them all as a teenager to switch to HO.  Got back into Lionel in the 70's when my kids were little.  Still at it...

Loved the pictures. 

Don McErlean

G-Man24 posted:

 ...snip...

390E

The 390E that has been in the family since new.

 ...snip... I find it sad that it has spent most of its life in storage.  ...snip...

 Gerry C.

No, you should be very happy about it being in storage for so long. That is why it is in such great shape and is the way that your grandfather and father saw and played with the 390E.

Later Gator,

  Dave

 

Here comes a Yankee with a blackened soul,
Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
......Anonymous U. S. pilot during the Berlin Airlift

An old fashioned spiraled rope throw rug supports track and heavy trains nicely while protecting the floor or nice carpet under it, and can even be thrown up onto a dining room table. 

Small loops to piddle with are great inspiration for a larger set up, and give you some breaktime fun, and motivation to finish a layout when you do actually begin the dream layout.

You realize those folks pictures are a mental push to get you building, right? 😜

Great Gramps and Gramps both collected but I don't have anything of theirs. I have Grandma's General (though not tin)

On the other side of the family, Grandma had a Marx Commadore Vanderbilt that got buried by dirt in a carriage house floor left behind after she married my Grandfather who's mother was killed by a Detroit Trolley; a Christmas sore spot I didn't know about until my 20's when my rake in the dirt found the box and Grandma told the tale.   I bathed it in the sink, oiled it, wiped it, oiled it, wiped it, (repeat quarterly for 25years) and ran it on my Lionel track right away. Later it got a repaint and is still going.(the wheels have been loose on the axles enough to fall off sometimes when lifted for over 25 of me running it. 

Get some new track and I bet that it improves the running over what you recall last too. I put it off because I had so much decent old track, but new is so much better I have at lest raised the bar for tossing useable old track away.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Good job not trading for HO!  In the motorcycle photo, the car behind your grandfather is a '36 or '37 Plymouth, the last car in sight is a '33-'34 Ford, but the second car back may be a '33-34 Buick, Nash, or Reo.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Adriatic:  Loved the story about the Marx CV...although I  don't have a story anywhere near as extreme, my experience is that Marx motors and locos are very hard to "kill".  I picked up a set a few years ago where someone had broken the boiler on a plastic 490, then fixed it with that black shinny electrical tape, drilled a new hole for the retaining bolt, and put an extra long bolt down through the frame with several nuts on top.  It was about the sorriest 490 I ever saw.  But you know what, I took that set home (it was from the early 60's) put that 490 on the track and...AWAY SHE WENT!  Pulled her little consist without a hint of trouble.  

There is a classic story about Marx...it seems in the prewar days of the NY toy fair, Marx took one of his new locomotives to the show and told his men to run it continuously.  After about 6 days of 24 hr running the loco finally stopped.  According to the story, Mr. Marx called his engineer "on the carpet" and asked why the loco stopped.  The engineer replied that it had worn completely though the brushes.  Mr. Marx , according to the legend, told the engineer..."Build better brushes!".

By the way Gerry - I strongly support Adriatic's advice to use new track if you intend to build a layout.  It doesn't have to be the more fancy (but realistic) track available today but you can get brand new tubular track from either Menards or MTH.  I have used both on my new layout and am very satisfied.  I have also chased a short and / or a dead section around until I found an old piece of track that was defective...you don't need to have that experience. 

Buco- I admit to not knowing much if anything about Buco trains, but I am a "Tankaholic" and you have quite a collection of bright and colorful tank cars in your pictures.  Are they Buco?  If not who is the manufacturer or are they customs you made yourself.  Oh yea, what are all the little green boxes with buttons?    thanks for the info.

 

Don McErlean

Mike it seems to me you just can't stay away from toy trains and the memories they conjure. Don't fight it anymore just resign yourself to the fact that you will always have them.  A great way to share time with the great grand kids. 

Don I'm familiar all the Jersey towns you mentioned. My cousin was a park ranger at the Edison museum in W Orange and used to sneak me into the shop for personal tours. I started out working in my dad's automotive machine shop...there was a place called Manley Performance in Bloomfield where we bought pistons, valves, etc. There was another shop in North Arlington called Harrison Grinding where we would get crankshafts ground. A crazy Scotsman named Willy Hood ran the place and we became buddies. Think it was on Schuyler Ave.  It's gone now I'm sure.  Seems to me there were a lot of Scots living in that area at the time. Great that you still have old pictures of your  trains. I wish we had thought to take some back in the day.

Dave you make an excellent point about the condition of the train. Had I run it for 50 years who knows what it would look like today. You know how tempting it is as a kid to "see how fast this thing can take the turns." I'm glad the old layout was floor level.  I suppose that's the silver lining in this tale , that it's still "low mileage" !

Adriatic that is quite a story. I had to read it twice to make sure I understood it. Amazing that you still have that train I would love to see some pictures of it as I'm sure others would. I like your idea for the rug..would have worked 20 years ago but my broken down back and legs preclude me from ever playing with trains on the floor again. I need a rocking chair pulled up to a table at this point. 

Colorado thanks for the input. Those were the days when styling really meant something and the front grill on a car was it's calling card.  I have family out your way and vacationed every summer in Colorado for 30 years..mostly in the Loveland / Ft Collins area but we traveled around and fished all the way up into Wyoming.  

I really enjoy the stories and appreciate the advice. I was a little hesitant to join because I know it's primarily an O Gauge forum and don't know how much I can contribute but I'm glad to be part of the group. 

 

Hi Don:

To answer your questions......Just about all of the fuel tanker wagons were made by Buco at one time or another. The company (Bucherer) went into liquidation in 1957/1958, and the fuel brands modeled were restricted to BP, Shell, and ESSO in short wheel base (2 axles) and the long wheelbase version with 2 axles per bogie. You will see some of these original tankers in the photos I have attached.

The original tooling and equipment from the 1950's, along with tons and tons of spare parts and unassembled wagons was purchased by some die-hard collectors in Switzerland and, over the ensuing years, (right up to present date) new models were released depicting more recent manufacturers (Aral, Gulf, Valvoline,Veedol/STP). See pictures.

I have successfully built several additional tankers myself using original spare parts still available from a Buco hobby store in Switzerland (Amiba Lokschuppen at Wetzikon), and these are the milk tanker wagons (white and blue in colour) and the Castrol tankers (green in colour). The chassis, wheels, buffers, couplings, along with the side identification boards, domes and ladders are all original Buco parts, but the tanker barrels are from ETS, a Czech Republic train manufacturer that are almost an identical fit. A quick glance and you cannot tell the difference.

In relation to the "little green boxes with buttons", they are the contacts for changing the position of the electronic track switches. One press on the red button that corresponds to the track switch, and the blades of the switch are moved to the opposite position. Most of the turn-out motors on my layout have a single solenoid system that works on the sudden input of 18V AC, but the button must be released quickly otherwise the solenoid wiring will get hot and burn-out. This was the first type of electric switch developed by Buco.

As time went by they perfected the switch motors to have a "double throw" action, and these switches are activated by a "toggle" type switch, which can also be seen in my photos. Toggle in the down position, the switch is thrown for straight ahead travel, toggle in the up position, the switch is thrown to allow the train to exit the main line. These switches are identified by a light bulb burning in the rotating lantern, where-as the older type switches only have a solid rotating wooden lantern. Please see the attached photos.

The third type of "little green box" on the console's  are the ones that control the "Colour - Light" signals that are integrated with the 3 rail track, and actually stop an oncoming train if the signal is "red" using "interrupter" sections of track. Once the toggle is moved to the up position, and the light turns "green" the "cut" section of track is re-energised, and the train can continue under normal track voltage. A very simple way of controlling many loco's on the one main line in a realistic fashion using "cut sidings".

Sorry for the tutorial but it truly was an incredible "O" gauge 3 rail system for its time - 1947-1957/8. I hope you can follow my ramblings.DSC01602DSC01603DSC01604DSC01605DSC01606DSC01607DSC01608DSC01609DSC01610DSC01611DSC01612DSC01613DSC01614DSC01615DSC01616DSC01617DSC01618DSC01619

Peter on the fabulous Gold Coast in Sunny Queensland, Australia. 

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I just wanted to save my table at first, but saying "carpet layout on the table" was great fun too 😁

The copper (even labels)  wasn't too bad. The front of the loco was really really bad. Some cars were just rust dust with the paint left behind like an old snakeskin.  But tender, atsf tanker, green RI gon, and NYC caboose were great. (you can see the tender's original paint and my Rust-Oleum repaint are similar in finish. I cured the paint in the freezer to work a milky haze into the paint. (it takes weeks to months at room temp for the heavy white to fade away to a light haze) All the old paint faded a shade from being on the window shelf about 3 weeks.... it happened VERY fast.

IMG_20190317_105507~3marxCVIMG_20181127_194216~2

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





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Buco :  What can I say !   "TANKS - a - LOT!"  Yea I know that's really corny but the tank cars you pictured are really spectacular.  I can't say I have ever seen one (I am pretty sure of that because if I had seen one given my absolute desire for any tank car I would have it on a shelf somewhere).  Your description of the Buco system is fascinating, that really was sophisticated for the time and of course all pre-digital. Controls and linked signals - Wow... Quite far ahead of Lionel in this area at the time for sure.  I also like seeing how the wires connected to everything, with neat , well marked connectors.  Here in the US we were still stripping wire and wrapping it around screws. I will now keep a lookout for Buco tank cars - even though I doubt they ever made it out here to the frontier (Central Texas).

ADRIADIC : Really nice work bringing that Marx CV back from its burial ground.  One thing about Marx, it doesn't care if its on a table or a perfectly modeled scale lay out, it just runs and provides joy to the operator.  You have rescued a piece of our Toy Train history and now it can again bring smiles...thank you. 

Last year I encountered a couple of Lionel's, very late 60's, cheap "scout type" loco's.  One didn't even have a reverse and the other had a 2 position reverse and a headlight.  Neither had a whistle in the tender of course , in fact the tender was a very inexpensive slope back hollow plastic item.  But you know what, a little lube and some gentle cleaning and AWAY they went - the one with the headlight even had the light on! I saw that they where sold with some of the cheapest 0-27 freights so I rounded up some representative examples (2 cars and a caboose max) and put them on the layout.  Off they went happily pulling their little trains around and putting smiles on everyone's face. 

Happy Monday Fellows - Respectfully Don McErlean

 

What a great introductory post, Gerry! It was a great read. Very cool locomotive you have. Love Grandpa on his police bike … classic photo!

Welcome to the forum.

(Small world … I grew up next door in Linden. Had family in Peterstown. My father worked at Thomas & Betts in Elizabethport)

Saw a guy I knew, Russel, in Mich that I hadn't seen in ten years

I was at a  party store, but neither had time to talk. I got in my truck and drove south, Mich to Alabam...Now, 6am..waiting for the old lady that owned the backwoods store you might not know was a store, to open... she does....I get a soda and hear the doorchime as someone else comes in..Oh, Hi Russell, let me get your phone number now 😁

Small world is right.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





EBT Jim posted:

What a great introductory post, Gerry! It was a great read. Very cool locomotive you have. Love Grandpa on his police bike … classic photo!

Welcome to the forum.

(Small world … I grew up next door in Linden. Had family in Peterstown. My father worked at Thomas & Betts in Elizabethport)

Hi Jim. I know Linden well,  in the 80's I left my Dad's machine shop and started a 30 year career with Exxon Research & Engineering corner of Park Ave and Linden Ave. I know many of the establishments that were there,  mostly bars and restaurants haha.  Big Stash's was big Exxon hang-out. "Father & Son" restaurant off Wood ave.  Wood ave was the place to cruise your car back in the 70's. I was till working there (Exxon) up until a few years ago when I retired but the company and  area had changed a lot. 

Very familiar with the Peterstown section of Elizabeth also. When I was a kid they used to set up an open market there in the streets. Fruits and vegetables..live chickens in cages. Pappetti's eggs was just a little chicken coop on a side road.  The Feast of St Rocco .  Pizza at Spiritos...Sacco's butcher shop..the "Lemon Ice Lady". Sneak around the corner to Tommy's or Jerry's for a hot dog.  Look at the new "Krate"  bikes in the window of Morris Aaron Schwinn shop.  Standing under the Air Raid Siren at noon.  Good memories. 

Thomas & Betts was a powerhouse company back then. In the 60's my Uncle Joe would bring me bags of Ty-Wraps (what everybody calls "Zip-Ties" today). They were the ones to invent them as I'm sure you know.  I would use them on my bicycle or go kart or whatever..my friends were amazed they had never seen anything like it before . I still have a cool Ty-Wrap gun designed for aircraft work that my uncle gave me. Looks like a German Luger. 

The mind is a funny thing. I can't remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember those times vividly. 

Gerry C

Don McErlean posted:

GMAN-24:  You will not believe this but I know "Harrison Grinding" and I LIVED at 637 Schuyler Avenue with my parents from 1953 until I married in 1966 !  WOW - this really is a small world.

Regards Don

It really is a small world. I don't remember the exact address of Harrison Grinding but I remember it backed up to an old cemetery which always creeped me out because when he would open the back door the tombstones were right there !  Willy Hood was quite a character. Most guys would used compressed air to dry off parts that came out of the wash tank. Instead he had this huge blow torch on the end of a wand , the snorkle on the end must have been 6 inches in diameter and it was  hooked up to a big propane tank off a tow motor.  The first time he lit that thing off my eyes were as big as saucers as the flame came roaring out. Didn't even faze him he'd stand there with some kind of Scottish mince pie in his greasy hand while laughing the whole time.  We became such good friends that he and his wife Cathy came to my wedding. When I left my father's shop and went to work for Exxon I didn't get to see him anymore and our lives took different paths. He was probably 20 years older than me which would put him in his 80's now. I hope he's still out there somewhere he was a good guy. 

Gerry

Edit:

Ha..I found a picture of ol' Willy  in my scrapbook. Taken inside Harrison Grinding sometime in the early 80s. 

Harrison Grinding [1)

The only time I ever saw him "cleaned up" was at my wedding. Otherwise he was grease and grinding dust from head to toe.

Harrison Grinding [2)

If I was standing around he would put me to work and I look as dirty as he was on that day. He's got me on the chop saw cutting up some square tubing. The days before OSHA and safety glasses !

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