Monday, March 11, 2013

Japanese Litho Train Sets 6 - Cragstan in Detail

As I continue to accumulate information for the Japanese lithographed train sets database project, some connections are emerging.

Cragstan is a familiar name to collectors of Japanese tinplate toys. The company imported inexpensive toys to the US, and always had their name and admittedly prosaic logo emblazoned on every box. And that's usually about all the information one gets in reference books. But there's a little more to the story. According to, Cragstan began on Dec. 31, 1954 as the Craig-Stanton Sales Crop.  It's easy to see where the name "Cragstan" came from!

The Cragstan 1892 Freight Set. Yonezowa's trademark
can be seen in the lower right corner (click on images to enlarge).
Within a year, the actual company name was changed to Craig-Stanton-Elmaleh, Inc. I believe all three names represent individuals, and that last one is particularly interesting. Elmaleh seems to be a common name among Moroccan Jews. Was Mr. Elmaleh an American citizen, or was he Craig and Stanton's connection to international resources? Difficult to say with my limited info.

The next year, 1956, the company became Cragstan Industries, Inc. (wither Mr. Elmaleh?), and remained in business until 1988.

The Cragstan 3020 Giant Switcher Train Set. NSG is at the
bottom center of the box.
Cragstan imported many types of toys, from many different sources. Even from my tightly focused study, I've found Cragstan-branded train sets made by Nomura, Yonezowa, and NSG. That last one is Nipon Goraku Shokai, the Japanese export office of Cragstan.

An interesting thing about NSG. The one set I've found so far branded NSG is very clearly manufactured by Yonezowa -- which often puts their own brand on the box.

Comparing the box art from a Cragstan/Yonezowa set and a Cragstan/NSG set suggests the Yonezowa set is the older of the two. If that's true, why did Cragstan stop dealing with Yonezowa directly?

As always, more answers lead to more questions!

The locomotive from the Yonezowa set. Note the number
plate "C.156." This steam engine also appears in Yonezowa sets
not imported by Cragstan.
The locomotive from the NSG set. Same steam engine as the Yonezowa
model -- even the same number plate!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting project! I'm doing something similar (Started with Haji and Durham...) at

    Probably going to start Yonezawa next. My e-mail's on the website if you'd like to contact me further :) I'm also planning to have Straco, Nomura and Bandai trains as well eventually.