In terms of the line itself, things were pretty much as they were in 1939. The 1941 catalog lists it all clearly in a nice two page spread. As I noted in the article on their line in 1940, they hit a reality check after the initial line was launched. Initially it must have related to sales, but as time went on it related to the focus of product line of the company itself.
The Handbook for Model Builders is a publication produced by the Lionel Corporation and compiled and written by the staff of the Model Builder magazine. About one-third of the contents has previously been published in the Model Builder. This book is written for boys who own and operate manufactured trains and equipment as distinguished from hand-made scale models.According to the review the book does actually include information on OO, but it is clear that Lionel recognized the thrust of their market was not toward scale model trains. OO was barely mentioned in The Model Builder at all in 1941, with a smattering of advertisements related to products in other lines (Scale-Craft, Nason, etc) being most of what you will find.
Lionel OO models start showing up often as used items in classified advertising. One interesting ad from The Model Railroader in February, 1941 for example lists a “Lionel OO gauge Hudson converted for outside third rail, used once, $18.” Other ads over the year make it clear OO is a gauge people were getting out of.
This ad ran with slight text and photo variations in The Model Craftsman until the October issue, this second version in this article being the most common version from the middle of the run. After that point I don’t believe Lionel advertised the OO line again in the hobby press. For sure HO was much more visible than OO at this point in time, a fact not reflected in the ad copy. They could try to project popularity out there to the buying public, but reality was clearly not on their side.
In general, direct current is much more suitable for model railroading than is A. C. ….The perception was that A. C. with sequence reverse was for toy trains; D. C. operation with either a D. C. motor or a rectifier was where it was at with scale models. With that when the series returns the topic will be the oldest American OO firm still in business, Nason Railways.
The reversing unit in Lionel locomotives is not entirely satisfactory, it being of the sequence type. It would be much better to take out the reversing unit in that engine and put in the rectifier type reverse which is … absolutely positive and satisfactory in every way. It is by far the most popular type of reverse in scale model railroading. Then you can get Scale-Craft engines with series wound motors (not permanent magnet motors) and have these equipped with rectifier reverse. They’ll run on the same track and the same power as the Lionel engine and give you perfect reversing control….
Scale-Craft & Co. have one of the most complete lines of OO gauge equipment, including series wound motors which are suitable for D. C. and A. C., wheels, cars, locomotives and kits. Motors alone are made by L. & S. Models … ; a complete line of OO gauge equipment by Nason Railways … ; some OO equipment by Mantua Metal Products Co. …. Mantua makes chassis alone for OO gauge locomotives which may be something you’d like to use. You can buy the chassis with drivers, motor and gearing all assembled to mechanical perfection and they build your own superstructure.
Continue to Part II of 1941 Series