Toys of Yesterday and Today

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Scales: Trains to Cars

traincarscaleToys come in a variety of sizes from small, i.e.,, micro to very large, i.e., ‘model’ trains that are for the outdoors.   Therefore, when looking to buy a toy consider the age of the child you are buying for and the intended purpose.  Is the gift going to be meant as a plaything or to be set on a shelf as a collectible?

If the child is very young, look for toys that they cannot put into their mouths and does not have small parts that might be broken off.  If the child is older, some of the highly collectible items, such as Hot Wheels, NASCAR and train sets can offer both play time, collectability and come in a variety of scales.  When talking about scale, we are talking about the measure of the size of the  toy item vs. the size of the original it is based on.  You may remember from math class this can also be the ratio.


Various train sizes range from those large enough to be ridden to those that you often see set up as models. Often times, in addition to an elaborate track layout, you’ll find landscaping, cars, people and animals included.  Train scale is measured not so much by the size of the train itself (engine, cars, etc.) but rather by the size of the track or gauge.  Some of the most popular gauge or scale measurements are:  [1]


  • G – often referred to as ‘Garden Scale’ as it is large.  Scale can range from 1:22.5 to 1:29.  A typical 40′  box car would be 17.25″ L  x 4.50″ W x 6.50″ H.
  • O – most common and what we typicall think of; like Lionel.  Scale is 1:48.  A typical 40′ box car would be  10.50″ L x 2.50″ W x 3.75″ H.
  • HO  –  most popular.  Scale is 1:87.1.  A typical 40′ box car would be 5.75″ L x 1.50″ W x 2.00″ H.

Other scales used for model trains are S (1:64), TT (1:120), N (1:160), Z (1:220),  OO (1:76.2), 1 Scale (1:32), and T (1:450).[2]


To see a selection of train sets on Amazon, visit this link.

Die Cast

The size for these cars is based on the size of the actual car, truck or other vehicle.  The most popular size used by Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightening is the 1:64 scale.  A good rule-of-thumb for determining the difference in the sizes is:  [3]

  • 1:12 scale = 14″ – 16 ” in length –  Highly detailed, often featuring motorcycles.
  • 1:18 scale = 8″ – 11″ in length  –  Detailed model targeting the adult collector market.
  • 1:24 scale = 5″ – 8″ in length  –  Favored scale for model kits; also used by Franklin Mint.
  • 1:43 scale = 3″ – 5″ in length  – Most popular around the world and used by Dinky.

Other popular scale sizes are:

  • 1:32  – used by Ertl and Britians
  • 1:64 – used by Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightening.
  • 1:87 – used by Herps, popular due to their compatibility with HO trains.

To see a selection of diecast cars on Amazon, visit this link.


Slot Cars

Seemingly a cross between die-cast and trains by making use of a track are slot cars.   These scaled down cars make use of actual car bodies that have been tailored for racing.[4]  Raced on a ‘slotted track’ these cars are controlled by a hand-held controller.  Might add that new digital technology now has it where these cars can not only change lanes but share lanes.  Similar to other scales, you’ll find slot cars in the following:

  • 1: 24 – larger size so they are typically run on commercial or club tracks.
  • 1:32 – most common home ‘friendly’ size; also popular at clubs and hobby shops.
  • HO (1:87 – 1:64) – originally designed for train layouts; size may vary due to need for larger motor.

These cars have also been produced in 1:48 (1960’s)  as well as 1:43 scale (2007 – today) although it would appear there is little ‘organized’ racing.

Scale can be used to fine a toy, based on individual desire or purpose.  However, shopping for a gift  should simply  be based on the person it is intended for and if it is to be played with or collected.

To see a selection of slot cars on Amazon, visit this link.

Happy Shopping!





[1] http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/CTGY/Scales

[2]  https://support.modeltrainstuff.com/hc/en-us/articles/202970203-What-are-the-different-Gauges-and-Scales-What-do-they-mean-

[3]  http://www.mintmodels.com/scalesize.aspx

[4]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_car


Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 8:50 pm.

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Manoil P-9 Plastic Pickup Truck



We’ve previously taken a look at one of the seven Manoil die cast cars produced in the early 1930’s – Manoil Sedan – read post here. But did you know they also manufactured plastic toys?

To give you a quick refresh of their history, The Manoil Manufacturing Company was started by two brothers (Jack & Maurice) in 1934. Originally located in Manhattan, they later moved to Waverly, New York. They continued to manufacture toys until 1955 and subsequently shut down production due to economic conditions.

The truck pictured above is a post-WWII plastic pickup truck that was produced in their last years of manufacturing – in the 1950’s.

This pickup truck is 2-7/8″ in length and has the following markings on the bottom:


Made in the USA




Manoil logo

This pickup truck was made of a hard, thin plastic and had rubber wheels with metal axels. According to the pictures in my reference books, it would seem that these toys were very plain. No writing, advertising, decorations, etc. However, it appears that the owner of this particular truck wanted extra embellishments and hand-painted their own advertisements and accents on the body and side doors to make the toy more attractive.

Manoil toy cars, trucks, automobiles are no longer being manufactured, however, they can still be found and would make a very affordable collector. Remember, Manoil made both metal and plastic toys offering a nice mix for your collection. Happy Hunting!



Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 6:38 pm.

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Manoil Sedan Diecast-1934



Manoil Sedan Diecast-1934


The Manoil diecast car pictured above was among the seven cars that were produced in 1934 by brothers Jack and Maurice Manoil in Manhattan, New York. Interestingly, the car has a somewhat ‘futuristic’ look with its elongated design and sleek back fin. What with Buck Rogers debuting in 1929 and his continued popularity in books and movies- maybe the influence carried over…. don’t know for sure, just speculating.

At some point in time, the Manoil company was moved from Manhattan, NY to Waverley, New York (date unknown) and eventually was closed down in 1955. Again, no information on what contributed to their closing.

The Manoil Sedan, Number 705 has the following details:

1.  6-1/8 Inches in length

2.  Open window holes

3.  Black rubber tires (5/8″ diameter)

4.  Accented, raised molding on exterior features, including:

a.  Headlights

b.  Grill

c.  Doors (all four)

d.  Fender flares

e.  Tail sweep


This car was the sixth car in the first production run that was distributed in the period 1934-35. Over the years the Manoil company produced other diecast toys that included military, fire fighter trucks, cannons, tanks, towing trucks, roadsters and sedans. They also produced a limited amount of plastic cars, trucks, and farm equipment.

Toys produced by Manoil are very popular in the Northeast, but may not be as well known in other parts of the country since they were produced in New York. However, this should not diminish their desirability as they are a classic vintage toy that would make a very good addition to your vintage toy collection.


Posted 5 years, 11 months ago at 6:53 pm.

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