Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Keystone Manufacturing Co. Fire Station No. 247 1950 - Marx look-alike

Keystone made three really cool fire stations back in the '50s and I got an idea up my backside a year or so ago to have all three of these fire stations. They looked right for a 3-rail O-gauge layout and I was hopin' to use them (or at least one of them) one day on my layout. Keystone was known for it's lithographed paper on masonite backing construction. and they had some excellent, cleverly designed toys with their service stations and fire stations still remaining popular with collector's.

I don't have any reference materials with Keystone in them but happened upon the Collecting Keystone website with some valuable information. I used that as a reference for assigning the catalog number to this piece. Apparently made in 1950, this is a very close clone to both the large Marx tin-litho and small Marx plastic fire stations which came out about the same time. I don't know if an actual fire station was used as the inspiration for these but it seems odd that this same design keeps popping up. Originally these stations came with hard plastic fire trucks which today are very hard to find intact. The reason for that is covered below in the photos. The base measures 15 7/8" (40.32cm) L x 8 7/8" (22.54cm) D. The building measures 11 5/8" (30.16cm)W x 7"D. Overall it's 8 7/8" (22.54cm) H. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

There is a dowel running through the building with one end of a string attached to it just above the door each and the other end of the string attached to a door. A small handle on the dowel allows for the opening of the bay doors.

You can see the strings attached to the dowel and the doors

At the end of the dowel is a bellringer

Turning the dowel causes the cam to hit a clapper which causes the bell to 'clang'

There are two spring-loaded fire truck launchers

Position the fire truck in the bay, open the doors, pull back on the launcher, and...

...WHAM! you've got a broken fire truck. Yeah, these springs are strong and I can imagine many a youngster being downright angry over ruining a brand new fire truck

I don't have any original Keystone fire engines so I posed some other vehicles with it. here's an American Dimestore Fire Chief car

Here's two Auburn vehicles. The bays aren't large enough to accomodate the longer engines. This shorter one works quite well though

W(F) - Marx Marxville plastic station for their line of O-gauge trains
(M) - Keystone
(B) - Marx large tin-litho Fire Station


  1. Thanks for the interior tour! Having no back makes all the difference vs. the later plastic stations I remember.

    1. I've always seen these without backs on them. I have seen one of the Keystone 3-bay Fire Department buildings with a back on it but don't know if it was original to the building or not. The plastic ones like the Marx and Plasticville fire stations just wouldn't look right missing a wall.