Lionel classified the 1666 steam engine as a Prairie-type steamer. It is a mid-size locomotive and contains several of Lionel's quality features. It shares its boiler casting with the 224 -- which was sold in O gauge sets. The boiler castings are the same on these steamers as are the internal workings. The only difference being the collector assemblies: the 1666 has slide shoes and the 224 has roller pick-ups.
The 1666 was introduced during the first full year of postwar production, 1946. The Prairie steamer is one of a few select items Lionel brought forward from the prewar era into the postwar era. The 1666 and the 224 marked the beginning of an era where Lionel catalogued a Prairie-style steamer in every production year through 1969. Features
The 1666 locomotive has the following standard features: a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement with a black-painted, die-cast boiler, full complement of detailed driving wheel hardware, nickel-rimmed spoked drive wheels, die-cast trailing truck, three-position E-unit, headlight, wire handrails plus an ornamental bell and decorative whistle.
During its brief two-year production cycle, the handrailings and cab numbers underwent changes. These changes include:
- Handrailings - Early 1946 production included blackened handrailings. Later during the 1946 year, the handrailings were changed to silver.
- Cab Numbers - 1946 production used a metal number plate mounted below the side of each cab window. For 1947, the number was stamped below the cab window.
The tender is usually numbered 2466W; however some 1947 versions are found with a 2466WX. Both tenders contain a whistle.
The length of a 1666 is approximately 10 1/4" (pilot to drawbar). The length of a 1666 with either the 2466W (or 2466WX) tender combined is approximately 18 3/4" long (cowcatcher to rear coupler).