|Who made these, and were they sold as a set?|
At a recent toy train show, two such items caught my eye. They were brightly lithographed road signs, and were marked $0.50 each. Sold.
When I got home, I examined them carefully. Both were marked "Made in Japan," and both had a patent number of them -- but no manufacturer's mark. Unfortunately, the patent number didn't yield and information from the available American and Japanese patent registers, so the maker is still a mystery.
|Clearly the same manufacturer (note the octagonal sign), |
but this set yielded no additional information.
Along with the signs were six under-sized toy cars. Two blue, two red, and two green, with identical lithographed details. They all belonged together, but did they belong with the signs.
I think so. The style of the lithography is consistent, and the undersides of the vehicles are the same blue as the signs. I was even surer of my deduction because of a second assortment that became available.
A three-piece toy train with four railroad signs went up for auction, which I won. Like the car set, the locomotive and the passenger cars have their undersides painted blue, and it is indeed the same blue as the back of the signs. Plus, both this set and the car set have the same octagonal RR crossing sign.
|Both the backs of the signs and the |
undersides of the cars were painted the
same blue, suggesting a common origin.
It's possible that the train set had matching railroad crossing signs, just as the car set had matching railroad crossing and traffic intersection signs. On the other hand, the pin and loop connectors are only marginally effective at keeping the rolling stock coupled. Adding three more passenger cars, light though they may be, might be too much for the couplers.
Plus, the semaphore and the crossbuck sign are larger than any of the road signs, using about twice the metal. So perhaps to keep the price the same, the train set only had seven pieces while the car set had 12.
|The undersides of the train pieces are the same blue,|
and the tires appear identical to those of the