The following is a translation from "Spur II Nachrichten" ( 'Gauge 2 News) magazine No 2 December 1985. The magazine was published in Germany - in German only- from 1985 to 2005 by H-Jürgen Neumann .You have met Mr. Neumann through our previous articles. H.-Jürgen Neumann was the founder of one of the biggest and later the most influential LGB Club in Germany ;" Club der LGB Freunde Rhein/Sieg" ( LGB Club LGB Friends Rhein-Sieg). Mr. Neumann was contacted by Yours Truly in February 2013. He is doing very well and was truly happy to be contacted about LGB matters, again. Mr. H-Jürgen Neumann gave us permission to translate all previous articles from his magazines as well as those from his web site LGB Much. So come and join us through a ride through history, the LGB history from 1968 to 2005.This is part 2 of an article about the very beginnings of LGB in the USA, quite some time before LGBoA was established.
(This change in the Club structure) brought real collector-experts to the BTO newsletter generating for the first time from within the club membership. They completely dwarfed all the expertise I had so far with their detailed knowledge about single variations and material- and color-combinations of locos and cars. Joe Hyvla's little brochure, out-of-stock by now, for US$ 10.00 leaves behind clearly and decidedly the first German collectors catalogue by Christmann in regard to describing each and every single model version. Apparently there were a whole slew of loco and car modifications (made) that were never listed in any (LGB) catalogue. There is -currently- a rumor going that two American LGB fans are working on a downright encyclopedia for LGB stock transcending far beyond Joe Hyvla's work. (Dr.Balzer - you guessed it is talking about the book by John R Ottley and Joe Hyvla "Greenbergs Guide to LGB Trains" from 1989, which is out of print, no longer available, and considered a historic artefact today).
This work is supposed to include absolutely all known and until now unknown model details regarding color and signage and shall have colored photos. (Remember to print precision colored images in a book back in 1985 was considered very complicated and expensive).
They also had to implement the influence of the geographical spread of the LGB friends ranging from the New England States in the East to sunny California in the West. The solution was establishing two club regions: the East and the West Region each managed by a "Vice-President" and a "Director". Regarding the fact that 'In the Land of LGB' the sun never sets they allocated the rest of the world as well: Australia, Pacific and SouthAmerica were managed by the California management named "West Directorate"; us East Coast dwellers on the Atlantic border found ourselves to be in a group with Africa and (all) US States east of a line of Winnipeg (Manitoba) - Kansas City-Houston (Texas). In the meantime this 'Carolingian Allocation' has been modified by a Mid Western Region including the eastern and western States bordering the rivers Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio. It is pretty clear that the positive development of the US LGB Clubs is based upon the business success of Lehmann Garten Bahn (Lehmann Garden Train). The slowly increasing US$ Dollar exchange rate quickened exports of the now price-reduced LGB items considerably. It was also foreseeable that you had to expect upcoming competition; the G-Scale sector showed the highest growth rates in the model train market. This competitor arrived in the form of Kalamazoo Toy Train Works in 1981; They launched a starter set consisting of a US loco Type Reno 4-4-0 wood-fired, a coach and a "combine"-car (named Mountain-Central R.R.). The cars had four axles.
The Kalamazoo scale is Gauge One. She can be coupled with LGB material. The quality of the new LGB competition couldn't match LGB not in regard to drag force nor regarding technical detail: safe coupling didn't work all the time, coupling on the smallest curve radius was purely a matter of luck and the double-axle car trucks did not always match with the connecting truck mounts. It wasn't until ownership changed in 1983 and a new, more effective management improved Kalamazoo's quality on the outside and the functioning. The spare parts supply left no wishes unfulfilled either. The loco and cars product line increased color-wise as well as in car types.
Originally this G-Scale market was dominated by LGB. Märklin's Gauge 1 obviously couldn't pack any public relevance. Now small 'work-out-of-my-garage'- manufacturers started to accumulate which mostly offered parts like trucks etc. Japan's Aster Live Steam model in Gauge 1 entered the market welcomed and 'appropriated' by the "steam-freaks" who were willing to shell out the required cash for those super-brass-models.+++++++++++++++++++++to be continued++++++++++++++++++++++