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Is there a concise and recognized terminology for the types of turnouts shown in these photos? The switch points and closure rails are one rigid unit that rotates on a central pivot to change routes. There is no frog in the conventional sense.

The photos are Marx and prewar American Flyer items. Not strictly tinplate but the design dates from that era.

An advantage of this type for toy trains is that wheel gauge and flange thickness standards are less critical for reliable tracking. Plus, they accommodate Marx "fat wheels".

There is no prototype equivalent. Prototype "closed frog" turnouts and "swing nose frogs" aren't directly analogous.IMG_20210109_170839IMG_20210109_164722

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I got the most accurate search return using "Toy Railroad Switch Patent".  A large number of Lionel patents appeared... the earliest of which was 1925.

The earliest one that I think was toy  was patented in 1909 ...I couldn't see the application date ...and, *appears* to be a Toy Railroad Switch... but, was only identified as a *Railway Switch*.  Railroad & Toy Switch patents look very similar prior to the 1920s.

railway_switch2_vintage_wm_grande

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Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

1891: Pioneering toy company Marklin of Germany establishes a series of standard track gauges for its clockwork (wind-up) and later electric-powered trains.

What is the likelihood that they made switches for wind-ups?
 
1896: Carlisle and Finch in the United States develops electric- powered trains that run on metal track.  These also used a carbon arc for its headlight.  (I have a feeling these were not UL Listed).

This appears to be the first track powered (worldwide) non - wind-up, battery or catenary.
 
1901: Lionel produces its first electric train, built initially only as a store-window display. These were *wet cell* battery powered.  Shoppers are more interested in the display itself than the store's products.

1906 Lionel Standard Gauge track designed to eliminate short circuits.  I would think that switches would follow eliminating short circuits... not precede them.

I'm a little amazed that nobody is laying claim to the first switch?  Given the evolutionary developments of the time period... especially, the rollout of electrification ...that 1908 Carlisle and Finch may be the BIG DOG!



Oldest Toy Train

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

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