For countless middle-aged American men, a bit of the essence of Christmas can be traced to a nondescript industrial park just outside this working-class city a short drive from Detroit. It is where Lionel electric trains come from. Building toward the Christmas season, hundreds of workers at Lionel Train Co. A bona fide American icon created 90 years ago by a New York tinkerer named Joshua Lionel Cowen, Lionel has become as much an idea as a product. But the company that makes the trains has a history as convoluted as that of the full-sized railroad industry. Lionel has ricocheted from factory to factory and owner to owner like a runaway train, enduring labor strife, corporate indifference and quality snafus that might have doomed other enterprises. Most recently, it was rescued in by Detroit millionaire Richard Kughn from a near-dormant plant in Tijuana, where General Mills had shipped production two years earlier.
National Toy Train Library
Much has been written about Lionel and its place in history. The company selected to import its first collection of HO for from Rivarossi in Italy. The agreement would see only a year of cooperation between the two companies, and Athearn started producing HO for Lionel in Lionel purchased this diesel model and other English-made trains around An opening appears below the headlight for the camera in the Rail Scope rendition of this model.
General Mills assigned the Lionel division to its subsidiary Model Products Corporation [MPC], and a new era of Lionel trains was born. While overshadowed by.
Want to search all TCA sites? Go here. TCA means different things to different people, but friendship and dedication to the hobby stand out. Today I went out and got the mail and among the items that were left in the mailbox was the September issue of the National Headquarters News. I took it to my recliner and looked through it to see what I would find.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
History of Lionel Trains
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Whether you collect toy and model trains or just enjoy watching them chug down the track, the sale and swap meet can make for the perfect weekend outing. Sponsored by the Train Clubs of America, the show kicks off at a. Saturday and runs until 4 p. Court St. It continues from 10 a. Sunday with more than dealer tables. Kids younger than 18 are admitted free.
Lionel Train Dating – History of Lionel Trains
On that day officials and other worthy gentlemen conducted the first official train ride on the line. This was followed by the first official passenger train carrying a jubilant group of passengers on Sunday, June 7, The train passed through orchards, fields and parts of the county never before seen by many of the passengers. Both groups were delighted with their excursions!
Much energy, time and money had come from farmers and landowners to obtain this Avon to San Ramon Line throughout the year of The 8.
On display are items from three private collections of model trains dating from the early to mids. They include Lionel, American Flyer Standard gauge, and.
Lionel Corporation was an American toy manufacturer and holding company of retailers that has been in business for over years. It was founded as an electrical novelties company, Lionel specialized in various products throughout its existence. Toy trains and model railroads were its main claim to fame. Its model trains are still in production as a separate company. Grant in New York City. Initially, the company specialized in electrical novelties, such as fans and lighting devices. It was historically thought that Lionel’s first train, the Electric Express, was not intended for sale to consumers, but rather, as a storefront display.
Delivered in December , it operated on a brass track and was powered by a battery and a motor Cowen originally intended to use in an electric fan. Cowen hoped to use the public’s fascination with railroads and electricity to capture the public’s attention and direct it to the goods for sale.
Train Values and Selling My Trains. Unique and Valuable Lionel Trains. Parts and Service for My Trains.
His love for Lionel trains began in the late 50s when his father would bottom: A collection of Postwar Lionel Track Signals and Lampposts. dating to
Robert Schleicher talks about Lionel model trains , including the history of the company and the various models and designs they produced. Robert has written multiple books on Lionel trains and slot cars. My dad got me a big Lionel train set when I was about 8. Prior to that, when I was a really little kid, he would take me to watch the train switching cars in the Burlington yard in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I played with Lionel until I was about 12 or 13, and then I switched to HO trains , which are half the size. They were more realistic and involved — you had to build them. You actually had to put the cars and the locomotives together from kits. The locomotives were made of metal, and the freight cars were primarily wooden cardboard with some plastic parts and metal wheels. Schleicher: Yes and no. I have been a full-time freelance writer, photographer, and publisher in the leisure time industry since about The Lionel Legend is about the fifth one I did; the first one was back in Back in the early s, I started playing with slot cars.
It was a brand new hobby at the time.
From the Archives: A Brief History of Lionel HO
I was wondering if there are any sites that talked about prewar lionel trains? That told about the details when they were made and all the different versions. BTW, your layout is smokin! Now you have 3 steamers cranking with so much running room, elevations, and an interesting non-linear approach.
For many, the trains and boxy black transformers in Lionel’s familiar Meanwhile, quality problems dating to the late s have persisted at.
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Frequently Asked Questions
By the late s, Lionel had diversified into other businesses and was looking to leave the toy train market. As a result, in Lionel reached an agreement with General Mills to begin making Lionel trains under license beginning in During the s and early 80s many basic designs were used and used again, but with many imaginative and innovative minor changes to give the Lionel line variety and interest.
In this article we define it as a steam engine with a wheel arrangement of or larger. A few smaller 6-drivered locomotives, like the DC-powered s of , are left off the list as they were more closely related to starter set engines than the big top-of-the-line steamers listed in this article.
Dating your Lionel train’s four-digit model number train checking trains bottom train right side of the train. Collector’s resources such as Greenberg’s Pocket Price.
So do the first transformer, steam locomotives, and assorted cars. The nw2 between and saw Lionel’s motors increase fold. This resulted from a bustling economy, the growth of electric dating, World War I defense production, and the end of German toy imports. Changing values were reflected by “Racing Automobiles” and a passenger train with internal lighting, the retirement of the quaint “Pay-As-You-Go” trolley, and the introduction of a war train with cannons.
Smaller, less expensive O-gauge track debuted and is used by Lionel to this day. Though the company became a corporation, the family tradition continued, with Cowen’s son Lawrence “The Happy Lionel Boy” gracing layouts, packaging, and sales values. Lionel’s new “racing nw2” presage the slot-layouts craze of the s. Lionel introduces the Multi-Volt nw2 and rheostat to control engine speed.