Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ideal Diner

Back in the 1950s if you wanted a diner for your 3-rail train layout the first choices that would probably have come to mind were either Plasticville or Marx. Those two offered a complete miniature village in plastic with houses, factories, gas stations, and diners. At the time, other toy companies simply didn't compare but that doesn't mean that there weren't options - there just weren't that many. The Ideal Toy Company was founded in 1907 by Morris and Tom Michtom as the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company but changed the name to Ideal Company in 1938. Like Marx, they made a variety of toys but never really entered the toy train market except perhaps offering a few odds and ends mostly in HO scale.
Today's diner is one of the few things they made which was compatible with 3-rail O-gauge train layouts (except perhaps some cars and trucks). Whereas Plasticville and Marx lavished all their detail on the outside of the diners, Ideal lavished the inside with detail. There are seats, stools, a counter, and a fully equipped kitchen built in to the building. It was really cleverly thought out. The kitchen area has a flat plate for cooking, bins for storing ingredients, coffee machines, a cash register, and above the cash register a clock, and it seats 14 patrons. Normally there would be two figures behind the counter, a guy and a gal, but my example is missing both. I love that menu painted right on the back wall:
One Meat Ball:  8 cents
Beef On A Bun: 25 cents (wouldn't that be a hamburger?? LOL)
Wolfburger: 25 cents (LOL - what the heck is a 'Wolfburger'??)
In point of fact, the diner is somewhat oversize for O-gauge but it's not too bad. It measures: 1) Base; 7" (17.8cm) L x 5 1/2" (14cm) W x 2 3/4" (7cm) H  2) Diner 6 3/4" (17.1cm)L x 3 5/8" (9.2cm) W (at roof). The outside perimeter of the roof is normally painted yellow, leaving the clerestory transparent so that one could view the interior details. This is a nice piece of classic plastic  - Enjoy!