STEP INTO OUR TIME MACHINE Just as the WiiTM, Xbox, and PlayStationr reflect the most advanced technology of our time, tinplate trains brought the technological wonders of the 1920s and '30s right onto the living room floor. By the middle of the Roaring Twenties, the steam engine was a century old but electric power was still new and magical. Widespread electrification of households had gathered speed only after World War I, and Americans had just begun to buy plug-connected appliances in large numbers. In the world of railroading, as in American society at large, many envisioned a world transformed by electricity. The Pennsylvania Railroad was in the process of constructing the largest electrified corridor in the United States. Out west, the Milwaukee Road and General Electric were conquering desolate mountain ranges with their Bi-Polar electric locomotives, which could out-pull anything with cylinders and drive rods. It was only natural, then, that Lionel'sr product line in the 1920s would be dominated by models of electric locomotives. In fact, for half of the decade, not a single standard gauge steam engine was cataloged, and the first O gauge steamer was not introduced until 1930. In this catalog, we offer two of the rarest and most iconic of the 1920s Lionelr toys that celebrated the supremacy of electricity. The 9U kit allowed budding scientists and engineers to build an electric engine themselves and discover firsthand the components that made Lionel trains "the standard of the world." The Super 381, on the other hand, was a legendary prototype for an engine that was never produced - until now. On the heels of last year's sold-out model of The Brute, Lionel Corp. introduces our replica of the twin-motor Super 381 that was displayed in Lionel's New York City showroom for more than three decades. As the Depression deepened in the 1930s, Lionel, along with the real railroads, sought new ways to attract customers. Lionel rediscovered the hold that noisy, dramatic steam locomotives had on the American boy; steamers reappeared in the product line and, for the first time, were featured prominently on catalog covers. And by the middle of the decade, another new development was introduced simultaneously by Lionel and the prototype railroads: streamlining. The new lightweight, streamlined trains that debuted from 1934 onward were indeed faster and more comfortable, but their revolutionary styling was as much a public relations triumph as a technical achievement. In the midst of the Depression, Americans hungered for something new, upbeat, and exciting, and streamliners satisfied that desire. Thousands visited the new trains at every station on their publicity tours, and crowds turned out trackside to see them pass. Lionel capitalized on this with its O gauge models of the most highly publicized new trains; its Commodore Vanderbilt, M-10000, City of Denver, and Hiawatha were all introduced in the same year as the actual trains. More so than ever before, Lionel's toys were accurate models of the real trains that were making headlines. In this, our second Lionel Corporation catalog, we offer Lionel's 1930s renditions of the newest trains on American rails, along with the traditional steamers that delighted the heart of many a boy in the final decade of the tinplate era. We invite you to step into our time machine and enjoy the childhood pleasures of a time when the toy train was, as Popular Mechanics magazine put it, "The One Toy That Guarantees a Happy Childhood." Traditional or 21st-Century Electronics Lionel Corporation offers you the choice of enjoying tinplate trains that perform just like new toys of eighty years ago, or updated with modern features and technology. Most of our locomotives are offered in both Traditional and Proto-Soundr 2.0 configurations. Traditional versions don't just look like the pre-war originals; they operate like them, too. Traditional locomotives feature open-frame AC motors and mechanical E-units (reverse units) for operators who want to recreate the full tinplate experience - complete with buzzing E-units, growling motors, and the smell of ozone in the air! Proto-Sound 2.0 versions feature the same accurate, nostalgic appearance on the outside but 21st-Century technology inside. Proto-Sound offers today's tinplate operator more features than a child of the 1920's or '30's ever dreamed of, including all of the following features: Ready-to-Run Sets With their bright metal trim and colorful, gleaming paint, these sets replicate the magic of the tinplate trains that gladdened the heart of many a child in the early decades of the 20th century. Everything needed to begin your own tinplate family tradition is included: train, track, and powerful UL-approved transformer, all in one box. Thanks to Proto-Sound 2.0 electronics, these steam engines deliver smoother operation than any original tinplate locomotives, as well as huge plumes of puffing smoke - synchronized with the drivers' revolutions - and a clanging bell and wailing whistle guaranteed to delight children of all ages. The locomotives in our Christmas sets even feature announcements of Santa's next station stop - a great way to brighten your house for the holidays and put a smile on your guests' faces.