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[Important] The Very TRUE Origin of Plarail 70 Years Ago, Not 61 Years Ago
We successfully excavated the true origin of Plarail just 3 hours ago on Twitter. There was a lot of brainstorming and very detailed explanations.

This was the main trigger of the topic, this is a french Playskool TOT set that featured lighter blue rails than Plarail and sharing similar traits with other child guidance sets. The owner of this set says that normal Plarail tracks do not connect properly.

[Image: Ef-Mjc-XBU0-AASp-Yw.jpg]

We all say that 1959 was the first Plarail year, right? Wrong, how about 1958 where the Prototype Highway Set was manufactured? WRONG AGAIN. It was actually 1950. I will explain in detail.

The most solid proof I can give is this:

[Image: Ef-O7-VJSU8-AAs-RP1.png]

Lets introduce Keystone MFG. It was a company that manufactured toy trains after the World War 2.
This is a 1959 Plastic Train from TOMIYAMA vs a 1950 Wood Keystone MFG Train. They share the same way the coupler is attached. Whats more solid evidence is this:

[Image: Keystone-Tot-Railroad-Set.jpg][Image: Ef-Ofpsf-U4-AAHd6-N.jpg] <- This link shows how similar the Plarail curves are.

Look at that Y rail, we all saw this in our child guidance thread in the Unrecorded Phantom Gems thread, there the Y rail was actually a SINGLE ITEM in the TOMIYAMA era and is a set item in the child guidance and Keystone TOT sets.

Also look at the 1958 Highway Set, they had English names for vehicles in a Japanese Set!!! This caused us to not believe that the origin of Plarail was from this set, but rather from a foreign English set.

[Image: Ebk-GJt-LUc-AIn-Qt.jpg]
[Image: Ebk-GJt-LU4-AAKUz-H.jpg]

Keystone fortunately had layout plans, which our team leader managed to replicate perfectly using normal TOMIYAMA rails. It's already a solid evidence that the blueprints of the rails were exported from USA to Japan.

[Image: Ef-PB8b-MUEAEjrj1.jpg][Image: Ef-PEj19-Uc-AEc6-U3.jpg]

Lets introduce the German release of the ET-300 Express as seen in Plarail today. This is the origin of the Electric Plarail that was released in 1961.
This German HO gauge like ET-300 was a spring powered train released in 1953-1958, which is earlier than Plarail's first 1961 Electric Train. The Plarail train was based on a German design back in 1953!!! Why spring power is mentioned? Because that is the origin of all moving toy trains. This 1953 German model's wheel span and wheel base decided the design of Electric Trains that are running on tracks.

[Image: Ef-Ov-Vjj-Vo-AA6-WUI.jpg][Image: ESGcnr-QUUAA-Bxf.jpg]

This image below solidifies the fact that: "Exported large toys overseas as technological innovations brought about a major turning point in the industry ... This lead to the export of large toys... ushering in a major turning point in the second half of the 1950s when metal was replaced with plastic and friction toys were in 1959 succeeded by electric toys." <- The weakness of this site is that it does not tell who superseded who.

[Image: 111111.png]


Predicted Timeline by our team:

1950-51: Keystone launches TOT Railroad set #406
1954-57: Set #415 released
1957: Toyama Shoji Plastic Toy Design Department opens
1958: Keystone withdraws from toy business and sells rights to Playskool
1958-59: TOT Railroad set launched by Lincoln Logs (a subsidiary of Playskool?) (same as Keystone)
1959: Plastic rail set released by TOMIYAMA
1960-61: TOT Railroad set released by Playskool (same as Keystone)
1961: Electric plastic trains released by TOMIYAMA

Finally, I conclude that the first plastic rails were manufactured in 1950 and the first ideas of the electric train was in 1953, that belonged to Keystone (USA) and Germany respectively.
[-] The following 5 users Like Vio's post:
  • DuckGWR, Tharazero1, jamble, DalaGStanator, Ron Thunderr
WOW, that is some big info! I see there are some blue buffers similar to the Child Guidance ones, do you think the suspected Plarail bumpers you showed in that thread are still from an unknown Plarail set or rather from a French Playskool set?

I was just wondering literally yesterday why the highway set had English names, what a coincidence.
[-] The following 2 users Like DuckGWR's post:
  • Vio, Super
We now know that it came from the French Playskool set.

Highway Set had English names, because it's idea was from USA. We believe the Highway Set is exported from USA into Japan and commercialised as a Japanese set.
[-] The following 2 users Like Vio's post:
  • DuckGWR, Super
It seems some vehicles from "Borel" are very similar to the Highway set ones. They use different wooden rails that have square connectors, not the blue rails.

[Image: 2b1d53429dd0ffc83208bdac02eb5c64.jpg]

[Image: antique-vintage-1958-borel-wooden-1-a3a8...795657.jpg]

I have not seen a complete set that matches the Highway set however
[-] The following 3 users Like DuckGWR's post:
  • Vio, Super, Tharazero1
Holy mother of Plarail, everyone in my team is shocked. What have you done Duck?! Great find!!!
[-] The following 3 users Like Vio's post:
  • Super, DuckGWR, Tharazero1
Wow...I am in awe. Fantastic History Lesson Vio. Thank you for doing this, its very interesting.

Originating in the US and Germany, who would have thought that?

Love those Keystone sets and that fellows collection you Linked to of Keystone toys is fabulous. I see he is in the US.

Just fantastic and a great read thanks again for Posting this here.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 2 users Like Super's post:
  • Vio, Tharazero1
So, Highway Set was "not actually the roots of Plarail" that was said according to Plarail Musuem. This means its time for our team to rewrite the entire musuem! LOLOLOL
[-] The following 2 users Like Vio's post:
  • Super, DuckGWR
This Thread is so important and informative it is now permanently Pinned to the Top of this Forum.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 3 users Like Super's post:
  • Vio, DuckGWR, Tharazero1
Thanks so much Super.
[-] The following 2 users Like Vio's post:
  • Super, Tharazero1
No, thank you Vio
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
[-] The following 2 users Like Super's post:
  • Vio, Tharazero1
Here is another lot on eBay with the fire truck. Is it worth 20 dollars to own a piece of Plarail prehistory?

[Image: Screenshot-20200812-163635.jpg]
This lot has a different type of rail that "snaps" together, seemingly with snap type clothing fasteners.
[-] The following 2 users Like DuckGWR's post:
  • Super, Vio
Thanks, it gives me an insight on how they are packed together. Need to find the original box first.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Vio's post:
  • Super
Turns out Borel is Ben Orel, the man behind Jack Built toys who acquired the patent for Snap Train in 1958. B Orel is stamped under pieces which seems to be where Borel comes from.

[Image: vtg-50s-borel-ben-orel-train-wood-1-c0cc...23bec7.jpg]
It looks similar to the stamps under the highway set vehicles. More info on Jack Built here:

I still don't see a direct Highway set from them, but we already know they use different track. Seems the vehicles and track came from different places, vehicles from Jack Built/Ben Orel and track from Playskool/Keystone

I did spot this set with a few vehicles from the Highway set
[Image: 1017729.jpg]

[Image: unnamed-2.jpg]
They also have a bumper piece with the two raised cylinders.

The Playskool/Skaneateles vehicles seem to never have headlights, which the Jack Built and Plarail Highway set ones do have.
[Image: playskoolbox640.jpg]
[Image: playskoolset2-640.jpg]
[-] The following 3 users Like DuckGWR's post:
  • Tharazero1, Vio, Super
Wow, extremely interesting Vio. Interesting that the history goes that far back. Thanks for sharing!
[-] The following 2 users Like Tharazero1's post:
  • Vio, Super
Snap train set unfortunately has no vehicles of the Highway Set so it is impossible to say that there is resemblance. I’m pretty sure that the wooden tracks also come from another set like this with the highway vehicles. The bumper seems to have made its way from Keystone to the Snap train set, so there is some amount of resemblance that way.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Vio's post:
  • Super

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