Basic information about various hobby and craft topics.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thomas The Tank Engine Wooden Railway Train System

The Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Railway System is the most popular train system by far for children from age two and up. There is a large selection of colorful engines and cars, track, accessories. This is a very versitle system with a lot of play value.
The track, characters and accessories are constructed from hardwood and high impact
plastic. The toys are durable and long-lasting, creating a very cost effective
Interactive play is encourages with the many operating accessories which include
cranes, sawmills, bridges, loaders, and other fun stuff. The track may be assembled
in an infinite variety of layouts quickly and easily, stimulating creative play.
Cars are easily connected with magnetic couplers and the clickity clack feature of
the track simulates the real sound of rails on track. The track is double sided,
so it’s impossible for the child to put it together wrong. All accessories are made
with large, sturdy cranks and knobs to make it easy for little hands to
operate it.
The Learning Curve Company which manufactures the line is constantly introducing new
accessories, characters, and other new additions each year. There are usually about
forty characters and a large number of bridges, tunnels, and other accessories
The line includes a series of battery powered engines which work very well on
the wooden track. The engines also have magnetic couplers like the rest of the line,
making them compatable with the rest of the vehicles. The engines run both forward
and backward. These Express Sets include an engine, one car, and a piece of
The easiest way to get started is to purchase a set. Sets are available in a variety
of sizes, themes, and price ranges. The most basic is the Circle Set which consists
of Thomas, some small accessories and a circle of track. The largest includes over
100 play pieces, a table, playboard, toybox. The most popular is the Stop and Go
Figure Eight Set which consists of a bridge, figure eight of track, Thomas and two
cars. A stop and Go Station is also included in this set.
This is an ideal toy for children and those who purchase gifts for them. The largness
of the line creates many gift opportunities for parents, grandparents, aunts and
uncles. There is a large amount of product in a variety of price ranges making it
fit just about any gift buying budget. Have fun with Thomas!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Short History Of Thomas The Tank Engine Train


A Short History Of Thomas The Tank Engine Train

Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends are the creation of Reverend Wilbert Awdry. All great things have simple beginnings so it seems fitting that Thomas came to life in the early 1940’s as a wooden toy which Reverend Awdry made for his son, Christopher. Thomas joined Edward, Gordon, and Henry, already in young Christopher’s toybox.

Christopher became ill with the measles and was bedridden for a while. Reverend Awdry, drawing upon childhood memories of life around railways, made up stories about the engines in Christopher’s toybox to keep the child amused. Of course, children are sticklers for details in stories, and Reverend Awdry soon found he had to write the stories down so he could remember them properly for each re-telling.

The Reverend’s wife pressed him to try to get the stories published. Finally, she told Reverend Awdry’s mother about the stories and she presented them to a cousin who had ties with some literary agents. The stories at this time were just written on scraps of paper. The agents found a publisher who liked them well enough to publish, and the rest is history.

The stories about Thomas are based on actual happenings told by workers in the yards to the Reverend when he was a young boy accompanying his father to the rail-yards . As young Wilbert lay in bed at night he could hear the engines working the rails near his home. He could imagine the engines having personalities, just like people. The railroad kept a tank engine near his home, and this was the inspiration for the later Thomas of the stories.

The stories are accurate in railroad operations and lore and can inform about railroad operation as well as entertain the reader.

Thomas and his friends work the railways of the island of Sodor, which is a fictional island located in the Irish Sea, just off the coast of Britain. Thomas has the responsibility of running a branch line, carrying passengers on the two coaches, Annie and Clarebel, to the main line passenger service. Their adventures, written by Reverend Awdry who wrote a book a year for twenty six years, have spawned the popular PBS television series, video tapes, and now a big screen movie.

Thomas the Tank Engine has also spawned many popular children’s toys, the most popular of which is the Wooden Railway System from Learning Curve. This seems appropriate, since Thomas started life as a homemade wooden toy made by a doting father for his son. The Wooden Railway System is an extensive line of very high quality toys. Of course it contains Edward, Gordon, Henry, and a whole slew of other characters needed to keep the busy Sodor rail lines running smoothly.

The history of how Thomas The Tank Engine is touching in its simplicity and by the desire of a father to help his son through an illness.

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© 2011 Hobby Hobnob

Monday, July 24, 2006

State Quarter Program

The State Quarter program was introduced by the US Mint in 1999. It is a program which commemorates each state of the union's ratification of the United States Constitution and entry into the Union. It would be >a rewarding accomplishment to form a collection of a quarter from each of the 50 states.

The quarters will be introduced five per year, about ten weeks apart, for a total of ten years until each state's entry has been commemorated. The quarters will be introduced in order of the states admission to the Union. The quarter's obverse will retain the bust of George Washington in the design. It is the reverse of the coin which will change.

Each state’s governor will set the criteria for the design of its quarter. The design, after it is chosen, will be submitted to the Mint by the governor. The Mint will then adapt the design to the quarter and produce the coin.

The coins will be produced for circulation by two of the operating mints - Philadelphia and Denver. This will be marked by a small "D" or "P" under the "In God We Trust" logo to the right of General Washington's bust. It will take one coin from each mint, or 100 coins in all, to complete the set.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coins - A Short History Of Coinage And Coin Collecting

Coins - A Short History Of Coinage And Coin Collecting

The coins jingling around in your pocket or weighing down your purse usually don't attract much attention. The recent introduction of Statehood quarters by the US Mint has generated interest in the history of coins. Coin collecting is on the increase. We tend to take coins for granted, but really they are an essential part of life. Before coins were invented, barter was the system predominantly used to buy and sell.Many things were used as a standard of wealth, including cattle. This is very inconvenient. Imagine having to carry a cow in your pocket to be used to buy your daily needs. Coins provided a convenient way to transport and store wealth. A brief discussion of coinage and its history follows.

The coin is defined by the Encylopedia Britannica as being a piece of metal or, rarely, of some other material (such as leather or porcelain) certified by a mark or marks upon it as being of a specific intrinsic or exchange value. An ancient people called the Lydians are credited with producing the first coins around 600 BC. The Lydian empire was in present day Turkey on a major trade route between east and west. The coins were crude, being of irregular shape and weight, but quickly became popular with merchants and the people.

King Croesus, who ruled Lydia from 560 - 546 BC authorized the first government certified coins. This meant they were guaranteed to contain a standard weight and purity of metal. This was a major step for coins aining universal acceptance for payment of goods and services.

Coin production in ancient times was laborious and time consuming. Coins were produced by hammering gold, silver, copper, or other precious metal discs, called blanks, with a bronze or iron die
Coin design among early minters was rough and unattractive. Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia from 336 - 323 BC began the practice of putting important persons or gods on coinage. Alexander's coins at first featured Greek gods and heroes. Later, he included monarchs - chiefly himself - on the coinage. Most of the basic elements of modern coin design were developed during this early period in history.

Italian craftsmen working in the late 1400's created the first main improvements in coin production. They produced more modern equipment which increased production capacity, quality, and beauty in design. More improvements to the minting process came during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800 - 1900's.

Modern US nickles, quarters, dimes, half dollars, and dollars are produced from rolls of metal which are first fed through a machine called a blanking press which cuts discs from the metal which are the proper diameter. The blanks are then washed, heated, and edges rolled to produce the rim. The blanks are then fed through a striking press giving the coin its final design. Pennies are minted from pre-punched blanks purchased by the Mint

The first coins produced in America were minted by a gentleman named John Hull in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1616. He was granted authority to mint coins by the General Court of the colony to help relieve a general shortage of coinage.

Before this, wampum, an Indian form of money formed from mussel shells, beaver pelts, and other commodities as well as an assortment of coinage from Spain, France, and other countries had served as money. England continously ignored the colonies pleas for coinage, so the colonies utilized their own coinage, and coinage from other countries.

The Spanish Dollar and its fractional parts circulated freely here. It was officially sanctioned by various American state and national governments until 1857. A real (pronounced ree-al) was equivalent to 12 1/2 cents. Two reals equaled a quarter dollar, giving us the expression "two bits".

Because the Spanish Dollar circulated so freely here, and not English coinage, the first American goverment made the dollar the basis of money, instead of the pound. Thomas Jefferson, a member of the House Of Representatives, in 1784 advocated the use of the dollar, and a decimal system of fractional parts. This was eventually adopted by the Continental Congress.

The first mint building wasn't built until 1792 in Philadelphia Pennslyvania. The first coin struck was a coin called a half disme. These were silver pieces, equal in value to the nickel, a later introduction. Later mints were established at Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Carson City. Currently, the Department of the Treasury operates mints at Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Beginning In The Hobby Of Coin Collecting - The Basics

Coin Collecting - The Basics

Beginning a basic coin collection is really quite easy. Coin collecting is probably one to the easiest hobbies to get started in. All you really need to get started is to use the change in your own pocket.

Or, if you are like most people you have one or two jars of change sitting around. If you have one or more of these, dump one out on the table in front of you. Find some clean cups, Styrofoam coffee cups will work just fine. Some other basic things you will find useful to get started. Some coin folders in the various denominations - penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar. A Redbook, which is a book which has the values of all US coins listed since the beginning of the Republic. Coin wrappers of assorted sizes and a magnifying glass. And a notebook to list the coins you have in your rolls and folders The first step is to sort the various denominations of coins into the cups.

As you work, try not to handle the coins by the face. It is best to use a pair of light fabric gloves as you sort the coins, or just be very careful and handle them only by the edges. Once you have the coins sorted, then you will want to sort the coins by year and mint mark. There will be more on mint marks later. Pick out the nicer looking coins, using a magnifying glass look for scratches and dents.

The point is to find the nicest coins you can in every year and with every mint mark. I usually save any coin I find for a particular year and mint, upgrading them as I find nicer ones later on. Place the coins in the folders in the appropriate slots, marking down in your notebook the ones you have. The coins in poor shape, and duplicates you can roll in the wrappers and take to the bank for money. So now, if you followed these steps you will have formed a basic coin collection! There is much more to learn in this fascinating hobby.

Coins - A Short History Of Coinage And Coin Collecting

A Short History of the Coin We Call the Nickel
State Quarter Program
Sacagawea Golden Dollar
The Flying Eagle Cent
The Penny - 1857 - 2008
Indian Head Nickel

Jefferson Silver War Nickel

Lincoln Head Cent
Coins - A Short History Of Coinage And Coin Collecting
First Spouse Series
American Eagle Silver Dollar
2007 United States Mint Silver Proof Set Back to Hobby List