model train set on track

The Christmas Gift

e*Train Issue: Dec 2012   |   Posted in: ,

By Leon Sweet

Typically when collectors buy trains, the history of the particular item is often lost; therefore, I wanted to relate the history of this set, at this special time of the year.

Imagine the joy that Ronald Alvin Rist, of North Freedom, Wisconsin, must have felt when he opened his Christmas presents in or around 1927 (not sure of the actual Christmas that he received the set).  Ronald’s Christmas gift must have been very special, as he took pride in keeping the train in good condition for the next 80 years.  Ronald, who was born in 1921, married a gal from Alabama and at some point retired to Bay County, Florida, where he passed away in 2008.

His wife’s nephew sold the set to me in early 2009, when she was moving into a retirement home.  The nephew related the history of the set to me and sent me a photo of Ronald from about the time he received the set.

The Bluebird set, #1225, was only cataloged in 1927, with the number of the Bluebird set changing to 1338 in 1928 and 1929, with the 1928-1929 versions having a slightly different cab, which featured 4 brass identification plates, and the cars receiving new frames and trucks in 1928.  In 1930 the set was called the New Bluebird and re-numbered 1332 before becoming the 1332 Bluebird set for years 1931 and 1932.  The sets in 1930-1932 featured a two-tone blue 3107 enamel engine and matching 3150, 3161 and 3162 enamel cars, still with the same set components a tunnel, signal, and 96 station.