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Hi,

Here's the oldest electric race set in my museum.
It's a Lionel set made from 1912 to 1916.

There were 4 versions of the se: 1st, a single lane circle; 2nd, a single lane oval; 3rd, a 2 lane circle; and 4th,a 2 lane oval. This set is the 2 lane oval. The drivers & spare tires & 1 rear tire are reproductions, everything else is original. You can barely make out the label on the end of the box. You can see whats left of the instructions on the inner box lid. I included a Lionel transformer from the period. You could use 3 batteries to power the set as well. It did not plug into the wall but screwed into the light socket instead !


I bought this set around 1996 at a antique toy show in Dallas Texas. In 1991 Lionel made around 300 reproduction sets.
They are exact copies made from the originals in China. Later the person who did this started his own train company called MTH. He recently made one more set where the colors of the cars are different, but these cars don't have "Lionel" etched on the bottom of the metal chassis like the Lionel ones. I have both the Lionel & MTH reproduction sets.

Thanks,
Bernard

 

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Thanks Bernard, that's very moving, to actually see one of these sets in the flesh (at least in photos). Somebody had one of the repro sets here many years ago, and I thought I would be tempted, but I wasn't - it's just not the same thing!

Nice find too, the real Lionel sets just don't come up that often!

So, do you think these were raced, or just used as an accessory to trains?

Don
 

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Here is a pic of the cars from the reproduction set issued by Lionel.

lione__repro_set_1991.jpg

Interestingly we know now that Lionel was not the first to issue such a set, in fact a French model-railroad company did, 4 years earlier. However commercial success must not have been that great because... we cannot find a set or a car.
But one never knows, Don recently missed on a price list showing the price for the two cars...

The old Lionel cars are not that rare and come up time to time at auction. The LASCM was able to acquire a near-mint example recently in the maroon color, almost a pristine car, only with the usual rock-hard tires but with no flats, meaning it sat on its sides for years.
Finding a complete, boxed set as what Bernard found is a whole different story.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi Bernard
gresat to see these old cars in the flesh as they are literally the sun records ,elvis presley sessions of slot car history
what I am a little puzzled about is that those motors dont look like "edwardian artifacts ," they look like 60s can motors in fact i am sure i have seen a versitec motor that looked just like those. Usually these relics are open frame motors that look like they were hand built !

Cheers tony
 

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Normally,very early slot/rail isn't something I'm that interested in but the Lionel set is fascinating! Who'd have thought slot racing is 100 years old. There is no truth in the rumour that that is when I started racing....
TED....
 

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QUOTE (TSRF @ 24 Jan 2012, 17:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Interestingly we know now that Lionel was not the first to issue such a set, in fact a French model-railroad company did, 4 years earlier. However commercial success must not have been that great because... we cannot find a set or a car.
But one never knows, Don recently missed on a price list showing the price for the two cars...


Not quite... and too early to get excited about this, although it's tantalizing... What Philippe found is a line drawing from an old catalog, published in a French book on antique toys, that shows what seems to be an electric car with a very rail like guide...

I came across a price list from this company that just said "electric automobile" - no hint of a set or a circuit of any kind, otherwise I would have bought it! (but I guess I should have anyway) Electric model cars were not all that rare by then, and I'm still waiting to see an example in the flesh, or at least the real catalog listing a set, before I begin to believe in elves...

Now, if everybody closes their eyes, and really wishes hard...

Don
 

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QUOTE (superhornets @ 25 Jan 2012, 15:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...what I am a little puzzled about is that those motors dont look like "edwardian artifacts ," they look like 60s can motors in fact i am sure i have seen a versitec motor that looked just like those. Usually these relics are open frame motors that look like they were hand built !

Cheers tony

What looks like a can motor can't be - there's no drive shaft or drive belt that I can see in the photo. No idea what it is but the big lump at the back - open frame, hand built look about it, is probably the motor.

What is amazing me is the untarnished condition of the plating after all these years.
 

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Tony Condon
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hi mr modifier
Yes tyour probably right ,i should have studdied the piccys more carefully before shouting my mouth off
the contraption at the back looks like what a motor from that age would be
So what on earth is the empty chrome plated tin can under the dashboard?

cheers tony
 

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There are a couple of small screw holes either side of the large hole so maybe it's a mounting plate for the body to screw to. No idea what the large hole would be for. There's also a small lug with another screw hole in the corner - can't see what that was for either.

Perhaps SAMPSON can shed some light?


Note the single wire. The pickup connected to the wire must be insulated. That would make the whole body a conduit back to earth. Just as well it's low voltage (I assume it's low voltage!!!!!)

What an interesting bit of history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Don ,the cars were raced & used separate from the trains as well with them. Tony,the cars made from 1912-1913 used the Lionel trolley car motors,the cars made from 1914-1916 used the larger standard gauge locomotive engines. The body was attached by 1 screw which went into the floorboard of the car into 1 of the screws on the side of the big hole. I think,but dont know for sure that the other 2 small holes were for attachments if it was used for locomotive. Thanks,Bernard
 

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QUOTE Not quite... and too early to get excited about this, although it's tantalizing... What Philippe found is a line drawing from an old catalog, published in a French book on antique toys, that shows what seems to be an electric car with a very rail like guide...

Don,
It is a lot more. The advert describes the set, the rails, the control, the transformer...

And all dates from 1908.
 

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HI Bernard,

Thanks for the lovely Lionel pictures. The French set, the Strombecker first 1/32 set, aw .. the treasures that may be out there!

all my very best,

Charles
 

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Interesting to know just how does that motor works.
Please SAMPSON - any chance you can tell me if I've guessed right...
From what I can see in the photos it looks like a coil at front of the motor - guess that provides the magnetic field in place of the permanent magnets used in modern slot motors.
Then those transformer like laminations are the pole pieces to give the field round the armature.
Then the armature drives the back axle by a spur gear.
Does the arm have a commutator?
 

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Despite what I said in my earlier post,I now find I am fascinated by these old cars and sets. If anyone out there has similar items,lets see them!
TED...
 

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Ted,

There are a few more floating around, and amazingly enough others turn up from time to time, but Bernard has by far the largest collection of the pre-Scalextric cars and sets that I know....

I have 1 or 2, and maybe a few other guys, but these are very thin on the ground! Nobody else I know of is as specialized as Bernard.

And glad you've come around, these are very fascinating indeed! Especially when you realize that all the basic technology and components for tabletop racing games existed right from the beginning of real auto racing in the early 20th century, but it took over 50 years to really catch on ...

Don

PS: if you troll through the Vintage & Collectors section you should find a few more posted in the past...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi 300SLR,you are right ! & the arm does have a commutator. Ted i have around 17 sets & 70 cars made before 1957 the year of the first Scalextric & VIP sets .While 1960 & earlier sets & cars interest me the most i also like cars made up to today.Most of what i have is on my website (bernardsslotcarmuseum.com). Please feel free to check it out or come visit here in Houston,Texas. Thanks for everyones kind words. I do have more coming including another F1 Soviet set.Bernard
 

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Thanks SAMPSON
Yes I'd already spent lots of time on your web site, I'd certainly recommend everybody takes a good look at that.
When trying to figure out how something works, looking at the real car can reveal things that just don't show up in photos. I'm sure a visit would be great, but it's several thousand miles..maybe one day!
 

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QUOTE (SAMPSON @ 21 Jan 2012, 22:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Here's the oldest electric race set in my museum.
It's a Lionel set made from 1912 to 1916.

....



Hi Bernard.

Great pictures. Just came across your thread after searching for this particular Lionel set. I recently came into possession of a set of my own, and have not had much luck finding info on the set.



 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Congratulations ! Nice cars .Did you get track & a box ? Heres some originals and replicas. Heres the catalog listing all 4 sets. Thanks,Bernard
 
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