Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The First Company to Manufacture an Electric Train

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
   Partly cloudy and seasonal temperatures 

The First Company to Manufacturer
an Electric Train

I've been writing of toys from the first half of the 20th century lately, so "history" must have been on my mind when I found these elections today. What's interesting about Voltamp is that it was the very first company to produce an electric train. This of course coincided and is dated soon after the time that mass electricity starred to be installed all over North America.  Of course, North America chose AC (Alternating Current) 120 V. Before this time,  toy trains on tracks moved by batteries.

"Voltamp was an early American manufacturer of toy trains based in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded by Manes Fuld (1863–1929), the son of a Baltimore stove dealer, Voltamp's trains utilized the same 2-inch gauge metal track as Carlisle & Finch, the inventor of the electric toy train. It is significant for its 1907 release of the first electric toy train that operated on household alternating current; earlier electric trains had used battery power.
Voltamp released its first toy train product in 1903.
Although Voltamp outlasted Carlisle & Finch, its primary competitor, both companies were eclipsed in the marketplace by the Ives Manufacturing Company and Lionel Corporation, and Voltamp exited the market in 1922, selling its line to Boucher."*
  What's interesting about the Voltlamp toys is the fact that the electrical components and how they were manufactured at the time helps you to identify about when they were manufactured.  I think that the train is cast iron with brass components. The cast iron informs you that this is both an early train toy.

   The pair of transformers for sure informs you that this is a very early toy train accessory or power course. The sped setting has small ended metal bumps" to incrust or decrease the speed of the train. The inside of the box has lots of thicker coiled wire, and the box also has stamped out ovals to allow for the heat to dissipate. Also, take a look at the  electrical cord and plugs that would go into the wall sockets. I barely remember these cords from the 1950's. Also I've seen exterior cloth covering on very old wiring in old house basements in the ceiling beams near me in a part of Montreal called N.D.G. (Notre Dame de Grace), I last saw this wiring in the early 1990's when my wife and I were looking to phrase a house. I'm sure that by now (2014) the firemen who every several years will inspect homes here for smoke alarms would have certainly notified homeowners of the danger of such old wiring. Also, I'm 100% sure, that any real estate agent would have made the comment about the danger of such old wiring!

  Finally a beautiful street lamp. It's made from cast iron and hardwood as the base. The bulbs are "vintage", and take a look at the  lamp base. Wiring from a transformer or wall outlet would have had small c-shaped clips to connect to the brass nuts and bolts.The nuts would then be tightened to the pair of c-clips to keep the wiring ends firmly attached!

Truly "very old".

And of course, the street lamp would have been assembled by hand!

The written descriptions that came with these 3 toy accessories and parts mention "pre-war". 
THe term usually applies to WWII, but I'm wondering if this might not refer to pre-WWI<

So this is a question for anyone that can help me-
Are these very old toys and parts from pre-WWI or pre-WWII?

Thanks for dropping by to visit,
and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,
Please feel free to write to me anytime

1 comment:

William Claytor said...

Interesting but slightly inaccurate. Carlisle & Finch (Cincinnati)was the first AMERICAN electric train company with a streetcar offered in 1898. C&F Trains would operate on household current stepped down voltage or connected to a battery. C&F also sold a dynamo that generated voltage from water pressure and a kit to make your own battery.