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Prewar Lionel

This Web Page Last Updated: October 19, 2014

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This page contains our current inventory of Prewar Lionel engines, rolling stock, cabooses, passenger cars, accessories, original boxes and other paper items. It includes both standard gauge and O-gauge trains made during the prewar era (1901 - 1942).

* * * Click on "Yes" in the Photo column to see a picture.
* * * Click on "Grade" in the 3rd column heading for an explanation of grading.

Prewar Lionel Sets, Engines, Cars and Accessories
Cat # Item GradePhotoPriceDetails
Prewar Accessories:
35 Boulevard
Lamp Post
Ex. Yes $ 25 A nice, medium-gray painted, die-cast lamp post from 1941-42: has an opalescent, octagonal lampshade that is topped by a cap shaped like a crown of thorns. The fixture measures 6 1/8 inches high. Made after WW2 as well as before but this is the prewar version.

Repair made to a crack in the globe plus the finial has rust on it and there are some scratches on the post. However, the flaws are not major and do not detract from the beauty of this unusual piece. It is very clean overall, all original and all intact -- and of course, the fixture does light!
Close-up of the globe where the repair was made.
Note that the close-up photo makes the crack appear to be worse than it really is.
Close-up of the base underside.

File Photo showing both a 1941-42 prewar version and a postwar version of the #35.
The postwar version is painted silver; the 1941-42 version of the prewar version is painted medium gray.
Close-up of the bases of both the prewar and postwar versions.

This useful layout piece is described in one guidebook as "a detailed replica of a prototype design that can still be seen in some American towns and cities." The gray-painted prewar version is the hardest #35 Boulevard Lamp Post to find.
93 Water Tower VG+/OB Yes $ 75
All-metal water tower from the early 1940s: red ("vermilion") base, aluminum-painted tower & tank plus a black spout.
Three views of the water tank.
Some scuffs on the top of the tank and a little chipping of the decal plus some paint chips on the base. Overall it is very nice: all original and very clean!
Close-up of the base.

Photo of the box.
Grade 8 original box (tears; tape residue; "aged" look).
Another view of the box.
The corrugated box was made by the Fort Wayne Corrugated Paper Co. and it is SOLID: clean, complete, square & sturdy!
Close-up of the manufacturer's information.

Great piece that always adds interest to a layout!
Click here to go to Our Archives Page to read more about 93 Water Towers.
98 Coal Tipple E+/OB Yes $525
A gorgeous accessory -- the coal bunker: black sheet-metal base, cream-painted house & receiving hopper (for loading coal manually), silver-painted tower, red roof & ladder plus a black delivery chute.
Another view.
Measures 5 3/4 inches wide, 6 inches deep and 12 inches high.
Photo of the ID plate and base.
A little rust on one of the bottom silver tower struts plus some minor paint chips in places. That's about it for flaws; it is very, very clean with nice vibrant paint -- and it works perfectly!
Photo of the roof.
Has the original 96C controller and the original instruction sheet #98-9-8, dated 6/39; the instruction sheet is wrinkled and torn but it is very hard to find!
Photo of the instruction sheet and controller.

Photo of the box.
Grade 7+ original box (tears; creases; some stains; minor "period" writing in pencil; tape; "aged" look; no insert if it had one).
Another view of the box.
A very presentable box as it has all of its flaps plus it is fairly clean, square and sturdy!
Close-up of the box label.
This item was sold from 1938 to 1940 but the box & instruction sheet date this item as a 1939 piece!
Close-up of the manufacturer's information and year.

~~ Nice, colorful item for a layout: coal is dumped into the chute manually and then coal can be dumped from the bunker via remote control into a waiting hopper car by pressing the button on the controller. This accessory is identified as "COAL HOUSE" on the base, "COAL TIPPLE" on the box and "ELEVATED COAL STORAGE BUNKER" in the Lionel catalogues. Sharp piece in a strong box!
154 Highway
Crossing Signal
E+/OB Yes $195
Here's a very unusual item: the 154 road crossing signal but it is the version from 1940-41 with the base painted in "Hiawatha" orange. Has a silver-painted steel post plus a die-cast crossbuck with black lettering and screw-type bulbs.
Photo of the base.
A few scratches and some paint loss around the mounting holes on the base providing evidence that this signal was once used on a layout. In addition, a small amount of insulation is missing from the original wiring but that does not affect operation as it works perfectly! It is also very clean with nice lettering.

This prewar signal has a die-cast crossbuck with lettering applied to the surface but not raised. The lettering on the postwar version is embossed (raised).
File photo of the crossbuck on a prewar version & the one on a postwar version.

Photo of the box.
Grade 7+ original box (tears; creases; tape). A solid box: clean, complete, square and sturdy!
Another view of the box.
Has the circular cardboard insert to protect the crossarm! It is the correct "Art Deco" prewar box.
Photo of the cardboard insert, envelope, instruction sheet contactor & wires.
Includes the correct original envelope #154-23, the correct instruction sheet #154-20, dated 6-40 (tears), the original 154C contactor and the three original (used) connecting wires.

Very useful illuminated highway crossing signal. The black base version was offered by Lionel for many years but this orange base version is a tough one to find!
165 Gantry Crane Ex./OB Yes $375 Fascinating accessory from 1942: -- the "triple-action" Magnet crane: has the original cab, boom, hook and electromagnet. Measures 10 1/2 inches in height with the base 6 inches by 6 1/2 inches.
Photo of the boom & magnet end.
Has a green-painted Bakelite base, steel tower with a red ladder, die-cast tower top which encloses the motor & gearbox assembly, a cream cab with a red roof and a green Bakelite boom.
Another view of the crane.
The cab roof has a few small rust spots plus the base and tower have some small scratches and paint chips but nothing severe. Missing the bag of scrap metal.
Close-up of the lettering on the cab.
This unit is very clean overall and completely intact! The cab has nice vibrant paint with gorgeous lettering!
An "aerial" view.
Has the correct 165C controller that was rewired at some point in its life and all functions of this accessory work perfectly!
Close-up of the controller.
Has the original #165-80 instruction sheet (dated 3/41).
Photo of the instruction sheet.

Photo of the box.
Grade 7 original box (tears; stains; "aged" look).
Another view of the box.
The box label has some un-original tape on it but the number is very readable.
Photo of the box label.
This solid 72-year-old-box was made by the Bogota Paper and Board Corporation.
Close-up of the manufacturer's information.
Has the elaborate insert! It is not that easy a box to find and the insert rarely shows up!
Photo of the box insert.

~~ Nice operating crane that will provide lots of "play value" on a layout! It is also the unusual one-year only-version from 1942 with a gray tower -- not the more common silver tower.
184 Bungalow Ex./OB Yes $110 An illuminated, lithographed, stamped-steel cottage from 1923-1942: has a red chimney, peaked roof, dormer, separate green window inserts and an open porch area with a shed roof.
Photo of the Bungalow.
Rubber-stamped "184 A-1" on the base underside. Measures 2 3/4 inches wide by 4 3/4 inches deep by 4 inches high.
Another view of the Bungalow.
Some paint chips and scratches plus the base has a mild crease.
An "aerial" view.

Photo of the box.
Grade 7 original box (tears; creases; stains; writing; mildly distorted). A solid box: complete, square and sturdy -- and there is no tape anywhere!
Another view of the box.

The flaws are minor and actually add a little character and this piece looks presentable and realistic thanks to the colorful lithography! It lights and it is a great layout piece! Very unusual to find this piece in nice shape and with its box!

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In the early years of the 20th Century, Joshua Lionel Cowen built a toy train company that became an industry giant. Thanks to high-quality products and innovative marketing techniques, the Lionel Corporation developed into a piece of Americana.

In the prewar era, Lionel offered some of the most colorful and ornate trains in their history. Although in many cases, they have a primitive look about them, they also possess an old-world charm unmatched to this day. The quaint accessories of this era were ingenious and impressive.

Increase the attractiveness of your modern-day railroad and add an alluring Prewar Lionel accessory or signal. Expand your collection by purchasing an engine or car from Lionel's wonderful early years.

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