McCoy Manufacturing was a small American toy train producer based in
Kent, WA, founded by Bob McCoy Sr. and his family. McCoy was known for creating larger scale stamped steel trains,
and was part of a group of modern era Standard gauge train manufacturers.
Between 1957-61 McCoy Manufacturing specialized in crafting Standard gauge and 2⅞" gauge reproductions
of premium Lionel train line items originally from the 1900's-20's, and select
American Flyer pieces. Along with Model Engineering Works and the
Treasure House, McCoy also had a very successful business manufacturing Standard gauge parts. By the
1960's the major manufacturers like Lionel and American Flyer had long ago abandoned production of Standard
gauge trains and parts. But train enthusiasts and collectors who owned and operated their pre-war era Standard
gauge trains had a strong need for repair and replacement parts for these treasured items. Operators favored
the McCoy replacement
wheel-sets for their pre-war Standard gauge trains, as they believed that McCoy had done an excellent job with
getting the flanging on the wheels right. The flourishing demand for Standard gauge parts facilitated the ability
for McCoy to begin funding the manufacture of the reproduction Lionel and American Flyer products they would
McCoy reproduced Lionel's #5 Special 0-4-0 and the #7 Standard gauge 4-4-0 steam outline locomotive in brass and
tinplate. An American Flyer prewar 4-4-2 Standard gauge #4694 steam outline loco and tender were also reproduced.
McCoy also made reproductions of the Lionel early 1900's 2⅞" gauge trains. Unlike the originals, these came
unpowered, but could be motorized. McCoy Manufacturing ceased building reproduction Lionel 2⅞" gauge and
Lionel and American Flyer Standard gauge items in 1965 after its owner, Bob McCoy, learned that people were
artificially aging them and then selling them as originals. Molds and tooling for the 2⅞" gauge reproduction
products were later acquired by James Cohen.
In 1966 McCoy introduced its own Standard gauge line of trains. First issues were freight and passenger cars.
The operation was financed by making pulleys for rock tumblers. The inital catalog was only six pages, but by 1974
the catalog was up to 32 pages. In 1969 the first electric locomotive was made in the form of The Cascade Railroad's
#1 4-4-0 'Chief Seattle' steam engine. This engine was modeled after the Lionel pre-war Standard gauge #7 locomotive.
McCoy also built their own electric motors. Eventually diesel and electric outline engines were also produced. The
Chief Jeremy 4-4-2 steam outline locomotive was modeled after the American Flyer #4694. The 0-4-0 Little Chief steam
outline loco was modeled after the Lionel #5. The McCoy Pacific Northwest electric 4-4-4 was modeled after the Ives
#1764E 4-4-4. McCoy motors also became very popular, and oftentimes reproduction Standard gauge locomotives made by
other manufacturers, such as the Williams Reproductions Ltd. Lionel #381E, #9 or #408E are
misidentified as being made by McCoy. Because Williams produced these locomotives as dummies without power, and
hobbyists added the McCoy motors to them so they could run them on their layouts, the McCoy label was very prominent
on the underside of the power units with these motors installed.
McCoy Standard gauge Motive Power
By 1974 McCoy Manufacturing had made over 2,000 locomotives and 35,000 cars. By 1978 they were manufacturing 11
different loco types, 70 freight car types and 5 passenger types. Locomotive types in steam outline included the
0-4-0 Little Chief, the 4-4-0 Chief Seattle, a 4-4-2 Chief Jeremy (American Flyer type) and a 4-6-0 Chief Cle Elam.
Electric outline locos included the 0-4-0 mini-brute, the 4-4-4, a Steeple Cab, and a 4-4-4-4 E-2 Cascade electric type.
Various individuals had input into the design of the McCoy trains. Herb Morley, a former president of the
Train Collectors Association in 1961-62, created the caboose, tank car,
hopper and passenger cars. Morley also designed and built the E2 Prototype 4-4-4-4 locomotive
using hand cut and riveted parts with modified Lionel motors. Bob McCoy developed the box car, gondola, stock car, log
car, bulkhead car, flat car, pipe car,
reefer, and drover caboose. George Templin also did designs for McCoy.
McCoy also offered a couple of different types of trolleys, a cable car, a hand car and
a very popular interurban set. Over the years McCoy also manufactured tinplate Standard gauge track
in both 14⅜" and 16" straight sections as well as 42" radius 18" long and 72" radius curved
sections. In 1978 they produced a detailed operating 30 horse carousel accessory with hand-painted
horses and figures.
Over the years McCoy offered complete train sets in both freight and passenger
consists. Freights included a rare Great Northern set and a Black Diamond Shortline logging set.
Passenger offerings included a McCoy family set with coaches named for each McCoy family member,
and a Cascade railroad set.
A set of McCoy products that are very popular with collectors is their
28-car TPC (Tin Plate Collector) circus train. The train came with some extremely unique cars that where painted
with very creative and whimsical circus animals and characters. Examples included the Maggie the Hippo car,
Sultan the Camel car, Tiny & Boo Elephant car, Piggy Kitchen car, Foo Bunk car, Iggy Commissary car, and the
Sword Swallower & Fat Lady E-2 locomotive. McCoy offered an operating music box in the
#256-4C 2-lion bobber caboose and in the large band wagon on the #256-FBW flat car.
|McCoy TPC Circus Sets - Freight, Passenger and Motive Power
McCoy production differs from earlier vintage tinplate standard gauge production
in its use of thicker steel and its use of silkscreening processes, rather
than lithography, decals, rubber stamps, or brass plates, which were the methods of lettering
cars in the 1920's. However, McCoy kept with the simplicity of the vintage designs, choosing not
to add large amounts of detail to his trains. They were very colorful and ran the gambit from having
actual real prototype liveries of actual train lines to bearing humorous road names and designs.
Many of the train items were almost whimsical, and provided a great amount of play value. McCoy
even incorporated operating music boxes manufactured by Sankyo in Japan in some cabooses, the
circus bandwagons, and of course, in the carousel. Early cars employed trucks with solid side frames, while
later ones were fitted with open side frame trucks. It was a family operated business, with Bob McCoy acting as
the brains of the outfit (as per Margaret McCoy), Margaret McCoy as expert spot welder (also as per Margaret McCoy),
Bob McCoy Jr. as painter and Kevan McCoy as worker on everything. Pat Fowler individually
handpainted the comical character figures that appeared on the McCoy motorized hand cars.
McCoy Standard gauge Box Cars
McCoy Standard gauge Refrigerator Cars
McCoy Standard gauge Tank Cars
McCoy Standard gauge Stock Cars
The Pig Palace stock car was an actual stock car used on the Northern Pacific railroad
for hauling pigs to market. One of the stock cars McCoy Trains made and sold was their own version of the
Pig Palace. Bob McCoy was quite a jokester and wanted to have some fun with an old friend and former employee who
was at the time the Chief of Police at the Tukwilla, Washington Police Department located just a few miles down
the road from where Bob lived in Kent, WA. Bob had his artist redesign the graphics from their regular production
Pig Palace stock car to depict the pig wearing a policeman's hat and holding a nightstick. He also changed the stock
car lettering on the bottom from TPC (Tin Plate Collectors) to TPD (Tukwilla Police Department). This is one of the
rarest and most sought after items that McCoy ever produced.
McCoy Standard gauge Miscellaneous Freight Cars
McCoy had special relationships with the Train Collectors Association and the Toy Train Operating
Society, creating many Standard gauge convention cars, club cars and locomotives for these organizations. Between
1966 and 1981 and then between 1988 and 1998, McCoy manufactured a series of freight cars for the various divisions
and chapters of TCA that hosted the National conventions each year. From 1982 to 1987 they made a series of 6 different
passenger cars for the TCA National conventions. These cars were built by McCoy but were only sold directly to club
members via the TCA. Beginning in 1966, McCoy built a series of special TCA box cars that were designed by, and produced
for Herb Morley. The complete set represented the initial TCA divisions. Each car advertised a particular division or
chapter of TCA and the year of its founding. Some of the cars also represented a famous toy train manufacturer. These
cars utilized the regular McCoy all-steel construction with industrial enamel finish and silk screened artwork. The box
cars were made available to TCA members exclusively through Herb Morley from his Rimpau Blvd. address in Los Angeles, CA
for $9.25 postpaid. McCoy also created several one-of-a-kind pieces for the TCA that were given away as door prizes at
conventions. These items have become quite sought after and collectable, especially the ones made in an all chrome finish.
Herb Morley's Train Collectors Association Special Division Cars Produced by McCoy 1966-76
Train Collectors Association National Convention Cars made by McCoy 1966-98
In 1977 the TCA bought a large volume of Houston Convention 2-dome tank cars from McCoy, expecting their
members to purchase them as souvenirs. Unfortunately they were left with many that did not sell. The TCA subsequently
had Newbraugh Brothers Toys repaint the un-sold tank cars in different road names so they could
move the unused inventory. This created 4 different very attractive McCoy tank cars that McCoy never made - the NYC &
HR RR 2-dome, the Nickel Plate Road 2-dome, the Denver & Rio Grande 2-dome, and the Strasburg RR Water tanker.
Bob McCoy, the company founder,
died in 1995. His wife and son, Bob Jr., ran the company until 1998, when they
ceased operations and permanently closed the factory in Kent. Bob McCoy, Jr. moved east
to Otis Orchard, WA. This small town near the eastern border of Washington became the new
home to McCoy Trains as Bob Jr. set up a new shop there. In the new shop, Bob Jr. made repairs to McCoy and
other trains and continued to produce a limited line of new 2nd generation McCoy trains and parts.
McCoy also had a whimsical side - creating a "Wappid Wabbit"
rail bus and an animated #45 handcar. The Wapid Wabbit Line rail bus was powered by McCoy's under-the-floor motor and
featured a City grey painted body with seats, cowel, roof, wheels and cowcatcher in Racine red. The pink rabbit conductor
had a yellow uniform and was outlined in black. The railcar accessories were trimmed in nickel plate. McCoy Manufacturing
was the largest producer of Standard gauge trains subsequent to the golden age of Lionel Standard gauge.
They produced tens of thousands of pieces. In fact, the McCoy family fabricated Standard gauge trains for just as many years
as Lionel did sixty years earlier.
Toy Train Operators Society National Convention Cars made by McCoy
Toy Train Operators Society Canadian Division Freight Train Issued 1987-88
Toy Train Operators Society Southern Pacific Division Freight Cars Issued 1976-81
Toy Train Operators Society Pacific Northwest Division Train Issued 1987
Although not widely known, McCoy offerings have a following with Standard gauge collectors,
particularly because the company often did very small production runs of its cars. The series of McCoy
cars that is the most cherished and sought-after are the Christmas cars. These cars were made by hand
in very limited quantities (12 or less) starting in 1966, and were given by Bob and Margaret McCoy to their closest friends
McCoy Special Christmas Gift Cars
The McCoy's also produced many special one-of-a-kind hand painted cars as gifts for
visitors and friends who came to tour their manufacturing facilities in Kent, WA.
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