The Lionel Magnetic Crane No. 182 saw substantial differences from the earlier pre-war No. 165 when it was first issued in 1946. This was the first full year of Post War production. However, the consumer catalog for this year showed an illustration of the pre-war No. 165.
Lionel kept the electromagnet that was engraved with the "Cuttler Hammer" brand name. This magnet, when energized, would pick-up and dump scrap metal in any location by using the rotary knob on the No. 165C Controller. The magnet was hooked up to a motorized hoist that was raised and lowered by the "UP" and "DOWN" buttons on the No. 165C Controller. The crane was rotated by pushing the "LEFT" or the "RIGHT" buttons on the controller. These controller function designations were the same on the pre-war controller. The boom is manually raised or lowered by a hand wheel located at the rear of the cab.
The motor that powers the crane was originally manufactured for Lionel’s OO Gauge Hudson locomotive and it works well even if it was a little on the noisy side. There are two solenoids that control the movement of the cable hook up and down and the rotation of the cab through a series of clutches.
The No. 182 has a new plastic cab that mounts on a die-cast cab platform and has a detailed plastic crane boom that replaced the bakelite boom as was used on the No. 165.
The cab and the boom were identical to those that were used on the No. 2460 Crane Car, however, the cab on the No. 182’s have a clear plastic smoke stack that is painted GRAY in most instances.
Cabs from the No. 2460, 6460, and 6560 crane cars will fit on the No. 182, but these cabs that have a cast in smoke stack, or no smoke stack at all are not original to the No. 182. Cabs from the No. 2460 have been drilled to accept a smoke stack that have been painted appropriately.
These modifications are hard to detect and collectors should be cautious when purchasing cabs that have this alteration. The way to determine if a cab has been altered is to take the cab off and look for irregularities in the hole that holds the stack from the inside of the cab and, if necessary, to scrape a little of the paint off to determine if the painted plastic is clear.
Installed in this cab is RED light No. L1458R (Part No. 165-53) that was designed to let the operator know that the electromagnet is energized and that it should be turned off. Leaving the electromagnet on for extended periods of time will melt the plastic of the cab due to the heat generated by this light. Lionel would, on later editions of this crane, paint the inside of the cab above the light SILVER, but this really didn’t solve this problem. We suggest that users of this accessory should install a piece of aluminum foil above the lamp, or better yet, find a lamp that uses a LED that generates no heat.