Looking much like two loaves of bread joined by a cracker box, the Milwaukee Road's Bi-Polar electric engines were a perfect example of heavy machinery of the 1920s. Their owner and General Electric, their builder, delighted in staging pulling contests such as a 1924 "Battle of the Giants," in which a Bi-Polar easily won a tug-of-war against a pair of steam locomotives, a 2-8-0 consolidation and a 2-6-6-2 mallet. With that kind of publicity, it seems no surprise that two east coast train makers chose this west coast engine as the prototype for their top-of-the-line Standard Gauge electrics: the Ives 3245R and the Lionel 381E.
The Ives version turned out to be one of the last products designed by Ives and bearing the famous brass nameplate "Made in the Ives Shops." The so-called "short hood" 3245R ("R" for remote reversing) came on the market in 1928, just as Lionel and American Flyer were taking over their bankrupt rival. The more impressive "long hood" version was cataloged in 1929 and 1930, the last years of production at Ives' own factory, and this version returns to the Tinplate Traditions lineup for 2007. A product of the so-called "transition years" for Ives, the original 3245R came with Lionel pantographs and Lionel flag holders on its pilots, and was sold with cars borrowed from the firm's new owners. In 1929 the Ives engine was trailed by American Flyer cars with Ives nameplates, trucks, and couplers. Around 1930, when Lionel became the sole owner of Ives, the long hood 3245R came with Lionel passenger cars sold as the Ives 240 series, with Ives decals and a unique black and orange paint scheme to match the engine.
The Ives 3245R graces the Tinplate Traditions line again in 2007, offered in Ives' original black and orange paint scheme and three new "might have been" colors. Enjoy this unique replica of one of the last hurrahs of a great train maker, complete with matching Ives 240 Series cars, with either a traditional tinplate open-frame motor or the sounds and operating features of Proto-Sound 2.0