The earliest starter set iin my collection is a set, which I usually call "IHOP set". Apparently this set was made for the USA. "IHOP" is "International House of Pancakes", a restaurant chain. In the 1950's they used to have coupons to collect. For a certain amount of coupons you could get free benefits, like this train set from Lima. It features the legendary Z936 Steam loco (without tender), two coaches in different colours, a circle of tubular track and a battery controller.
The contents are quite basic. I would date this set back to the earliest yeras of Lima (around 1954).
Another very early set, even though, it came one or two years later than the IHOP set. It has no number. Items featured are the Z936 loco with tender, two castano/isabella coaches, a circle of tubular track and a battery controller.
This set dates from around 1959, it already features the cat. no. 2001 Steamer 4640 wit four wheel tender and two basic short coaches. a circle of tubular track is included as well as a battery controller.
Dear Martin, These early start sets are very interesting, specially the first one for the american market. However I have some doubts about the dating. I don't think Lima made any trains before 1957/58. The second set is probably from 1959 and the third one from 1961. The Z 936 loco was still shown in the January 1961 catalogue. I base my theory on the fact that the first showing of Lima sets I could find were on the official magazine of the italian toy industry in 1958. Also the first leaflet I have (dated 2/59) shows only the following items: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 (non definitive) 2014 2050 2051 plus tracks and the rubber station,signal box and tunnel (which I have never seen in 30 years of Lima collecting) It goes without saying that I would like to be proved wrong if you you have definite info re dating. Luciano
great, this is exacly, why I opened this forum! Actually the early years are very dark and a discussion about this time can only help. In my believe the Bisazza family took Lima over in 1954, in a time when Lima was already involved in the toy making business for quite a few years. I think, Lima started with trains around end of 1955 (still needs to be verified!).
You mentioned a leaflet from 1961, anyone interrested in this document can download on my website:
In this leaflet I note the total absence of older hook/loop couplings, so I think they were a relict of the past in 1961. This made me date the last of the sets a few years earlier. Furthermore, the set still includes tubular track with carton sleepers/base.
I have another, undated leaflet on my website. I actually thought it might be from around 1955 and maybe one of the earliest available Lima documents (but much earlier than 1959). Probably, this leaflet is a few years younger. Also, this needs verification, too.
Martin, I have four of these leaflets, three are dated and one is not. The first one is dated 2/59 and is the one mentioned in my previous post. The other three are exactly like yours and are dated 8/59; 11/59 and one has no date. They are all exactly the same. So as you can see these leaflets are much later than 1955. I would say that the first Lima models (424, French BB, ) are from 1962.
Luciano, maybe you are right. I actually agree with you with the first appearance of the french BB and the E424. The 1960 catalogue shows some more modern steamers, although the old Z936 is still there. This engine shares the catalogue number of the 4640, so this german style loco must have been the replacement for the old Z936.
I have seen nothing in print to confirm a date before 1958, so until we find something definitive it's all speculation. By the way the 1960 catalogue has a print date of January 1961 so technically it should be shown as a 1961 catalogue even if the content dates back to 1960. Luciano
Luciano, I think that Lima-tribute is still a little bit, let's say, "unfinished", the Headline says 1960 but the url-name of this page already states 1961. I agree with you, much speculation. Would love to get in contact with people from the Bisazza family and former workers....
Are you plannig to come to Verona Expo in February? We have to meet again and talk for while! I'd love to know more about these "Rubber models"
Dear Martin, I am not a good photographer and I would like to present my collection in a professional way, so it may be a while before I am ready. In the meantme you could open an historical subsection for the early production for trains, cars, boats and miscellaneous. All the best, Luciano