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All Gauge Model Railroading Page

Union Stations

Classic Tin Lithography

The Louis Marx Company excelled in tin-lithographed toys.  Their art department was ahead of its time.  When you consider that lithography was the only cost-effective way to reproduce "detail," the attention-to-detail is impressive.  The examples on this page were the height of realism for such low-priced, mass-produced toys.  Thanks to accurate reproduction of clothing and hair styles plus other accouterments, these items can be dated as to their original production runs.  Both probably remained in production for many years.  

This Union Station was produced for many years.  It is a fine example of original Marx tin-litho.  Though obviously undersized and off-scale, the lithography exhibits excellent attention to detail.  At the time it was introduced, the Union Station's Art Deco style was state-of-the-art.

From the rear, you get a good look at a loading dock in action.  There is incredible detail in the lithography.

Notice the extra loading dock on the side.  The tall item to the right is a mock crossing signal.

Even the trackwork gets the fine touch.  This accessory was used with floor toys and O27 trains.

Here an O Scale figure is placed beside the station.  If "scale," the station would be smaller than HO.  It might be "scaled" at TT (1/120).

Even for Tinscale, the Union Station is woefully undersized.  An O27 trolley on low-profile O27 track illustrates the difference.

This Union Station is closer to scale.  Note the detailed lithography, right down to the parcels on the baggage truck.  A small plastic awning is missing from this piece.

The "window" is a scene of a waiting area.  Clothing styles of the time are accurately depicted.

This is a battery-operated whistling accessory.  The battery cover is made to resemble a double portal door.

The back of the station includes a taxi stand.  From here, it looks as if the "interior" is spacious.  Note the details and clothing styles.

Improved technology, plastics and advanced metal alloys allow present-day manufacturers to produce 3-dimensional detail.  Prior to 1950, that wasn't the case.  Tin-lithography was the common milieu for toys and railroad accessories.  Detail was a matter of fitting the stamped-metal item with superb printing.  

Though it was sold along with toy trains, I wonder if the designers of the first Union Station had a smaller scale train in mind.  The OO and HO trains of the 1930s would certainly have fit much better than O Gauge.  The second station was certainly made for O, as its images and dimensions more closely approximate the range between 1/64 and 1/48 scale.

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