Atlas Slot Cars
Atlas slot cars are still popular more than 30 years after production has ceased.
Although you probably won't see them at your local track racing anymore, the collectability remains.
The designer of the majority of Atlas slot cars was a gentleman names Jose' Rodriguez Jr. (who passed away in 1998). In his honor, a memorial race, the Marconi Proxy Race
, was held in 2000 and 2001 in his honer.
The popularity of the Marconi race was such that some members soon morphed the Marconi event into what is known as the World Proxy Race, which in turn was popularized as the Global Proxy Race
Jose' was also the co-founder of Car Model Magazine
and his articles are easily found in many back issues of Model Car and Track
Atlas Trains and Slot Cars Brief History
The Atlas Tool Company was founded in 1924 by Stephan Schaffan Sr. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan Jr., came to work for his father in the Newark, NJ. factory at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".Edit
Building the Better Mousetrap
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30th, 1949, Atlas Tool Company Inc. was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.Edit
About Atlas' Illustrations
According to Tom Haedrich, Atlas’ Chairman of the Board...
“Mr. (Lou) Eidson did all Atlas major
product box art work, i.e. structures and train and slot car sets back in the 1960s and 1970s, he used tempera style poster inks and the newly framed originals, as can be seen throughout our headquarters building are quite impressive."