Bronze prototype or not of the post war Lionel turbine?

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  • Item Category: Toys, Dolls, Games & Puzzles
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Apr 12,2011
  • Channel: Online Auction

One day a man in his twenties came in and asked if we bought used Lionel, and I answered in the affirmative. He said he a brass Lionel loco. I told him that this was unlikely, since Lionel had not made brass models since the WWI era. He insisted, and I told him to bring it in. I thought no more about it, until he returned several days later, with a package under his arm, and said he had the brass Lionel loco that we talked about. I had visions of a Number 1, or an early trolley, but when he opened the package, my heart sank. Not another Turbine!

I looked at it, and thought that maybe someone had painted it brass to resemble an HO import. I told that this was not in good shape, and would be useful only for parts. I offered him a very low figure, since as I told him; in addition to the condition Turbines were not particularly scarce. After a protest, (I was ready to let him walk) he relented.

I took the loco down to my shop, and put it on the pile a month or two later, I took the loco to my workbench and was puzzled to discover that the ‘paint’ wouldn’t come off. I took it apart, and noticed that the inside looked handmade, with screwed together frame pieces and other oddities: the smoke chamber was an aluminum tube, the apron (rear ladder) was screwed on rather than peened over, the E-unit lever was over the drivers, and many of the parts including the motor field were bronze. The basic setup was the same as other the horizontal motored locos such as the early 726, and the motor looks like an Atomic motor, but there are no markings anywhere on the piece.

Then it dawned on me that Lionel had built prototypes out of bronze, and this could be one of them. I was later told that some salesman’s samples were also made of bronze, but haven’t been able to confirm that. In either case, no bronze Turbine has appeared up ‘til now, that I know of.

I wrote a letter to Lionel and Greenberg, and neither of them could affirm or deny the existence of a Turbine Prototype.

I have been unable to track down any information on this very unusual loco, and have listed it twice to arouse some interest, hoping that someone will have some knowledge and be able to give me some insight or leads on how to find out more.

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