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UPDATED April 30: The next installment in the Arlington Historical Society’s program series on “collections” featured former President Stuart Brorson lecturing on another of his interests: model trains.

The program was held at the Masonic Temple, 19 Academy St., at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, free for members and $5 for non-members.  Street parking is available, and disabled access and parking is located at the rear of the building. For more information, visit the Arlington Historical Society website: www.arlingtonhistorical.org

Brorson traced the history of model trains from the workshops of 19th-century Germany to the factories of New York and Connecticut in the early 20th century.  It included stories about the creative and energetic entrepreneurs who started companies such as Lionel and American Flyer -- how they got into the business, where they got their inspiration and how they marketed their creations.

“The early 1930s saw both the [Great] Depression and an inflection point in the model railroading hobby” he was quoted as saying in a Society news release. “Trains became toys, not just for children, but [also] for grown-up men too, replete with magazines and a professionally managed standards organization.  Models became highly realistic, reflecting the shift in emphasis from children's toys to ‘scale models’ for adults.”

This presentation was designed to touch on various aspects of model railroads:  Why do some tracks have three rails while other do not? What is this business about gauges? Why do so many childrenn want to see a model train under the Christmas tree?


This news announcement was published Tuesday, April 23, 2024, based on information from Society official Sara Lundberg, and updated the evening of April 30, to indicate that the event had taken place.