Friday, February 5, 2010

The More Things Change . . .

Cover of the 1954 20th anniversary
issue of Model Railroader
. . . the more they stay the same. I was idly flipping through the 20th anniversary issue of Model Railroader the other day (published in 1954). In an article celebrating the advances in the hobby, it was noted that "the big story in model railroad marketing in the past 20 years is the growth and expansion of the local hobby shop."

"In the early years," the article continued, "almost all hobbyists had to rely on mail order buying. Now almost all of us are a few minutes or a few miles of a hobby shop."

Skip ahead 56 years and it's back to the future; today many model railroaders use the Internet for their supplies, and the local hobby shop is becoming a thing of the past.

The same article noted the growing number of ready-to-run and pre-fab items and wondered if they had "gone too far . . . was the ready-to-use equipment and the too-easy kit harming or helping the hobby?"

Like Yogi Berra famously stated: "It's déjà vu all over again."

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