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admin 24.04.2016

This is a clever wooden track set that could likely be used for die-cast trains in a pinch! As with most toys with a relatively long history, finding vintage train sets in excellent condition has become more and more challenging. I also actively search for vintage and contemporary catalogs and printed advertisements, to help identify and date the trains. The concluding photo shows of one of the last toy trains that Marshall Larrabee had personal design involvement in. So I bought a few of the engines to roll around on my computer desk, along with several of the train sets to donate to the "Toys for Tots" charity.


We also went on many local and long distance train trips, visited railway museums and attended toy train shows. So it is in this context that my interest in collecting these trains and researching their history began to "pick up speed". Prior to World War II, Larrabee established a company, Skaneateles Handicrafters, to produce hardwood train sets that used twin-groove track (for which he received a US patent in August of 1941).
In the 1980's, Thomas the Tank Engine appeared on TV and would soon become a pop-culture icon. Soon, one could find wooden train sets that featured well-known characters from Sesame Street, Winnie the Pooh, Looney Tunes and others.


Sadly, some of the Thomas series of wood trains were involved in the toxic material issues that shook the toy industry in 2007-08. But at the same time, trains made in the 1940's, 50's and 60's are still "happy" to share track time with the contemporary trains of today.
From a collecting standpoint, most child and adult collectors probably focus on the Thomas & Friends series of trains and accessories.



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