An Electric Train by Tootsietoy
Bill McKay, HR68-2075, TCA Library Committee MemberWinter 2017
A few years ago (actually 25 or so) when I was still spry enough to stroll the sun-broiled fields of toys and cars at the Macungie (Pa) August Fest, there came a faint siren call of “come, come and see.” The siren singing was Anna Manson and she claimed to have a Tootsietoy train that was irresistible. With “she who must be obeyed” (OK, my wife) at my shoulder and more Tootsietoys than I could ever display boxed away at home, resistibility seemed certain.
But sure enough, Anna offered an electric freight train, layout mat, scenery, a mint condition blue metal Tootsietoy Plymouth hardtop and an orange metal Tootsietoy Ford pick-up truck for a grand total of 42 pieces. All in nice condition and packed neatly in the original sturdy 14” by 11” by 2 ½” box that clearly indicated it was made by Tootsietoy. Huh!!! Electric Train by Tootsietoy!!!! Now wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.
Yup, it’s an electric train by Tootsietoy, now a part of the Strombecker Corporation. Neither company was known for churning out electric trains on their own. Here was proof that the bustling HO scale town of Sunray Village was served by the DX Red Diamond RR freight line.
Three “D” batteries were needed and the instructions suggest that you locate fresh ones at your local DX dealer. And because you purchased your set from a DX Red Diamond gasoline station you could be rushed a 3 volt transformer upon sending $5.00 to Tootsietoy, Box 500, Chicago.
The pictures show it all. There’s an HO die cast and plastic power house loco similar to a 4-4-0, tender, tank car, gondola, bay window caboose, cardstock and plastic scenery, and the rest of the 42 pieces.
Red Diamond and DX oil products were marketed by Mid Continental Petroleum Corp which was found in Tulsa Oklahoma in the early 1900’s. By 1961 they had introduced the Super Boron Gasoline that appears on this set’s billboard and helps to date this set to the early 1960’s. The Sunray mentioned in the literature has no apparent relationship to the Philadelphia chain of Sunray Drug Stores.
How did I wrest this highly unusual survivor from its owner? Well, it took a lot of hard bargaining, sharp negotiations and firmness to reach the final price (Anna’s price that is!) but it was worth the effort and another orphaned service station special was rescued from doom and gloom and added to the wonderful world of my collection.