Do You Know The History of Lionel Trains?

lionel trains historyLionel Founder Joshua Lionel Cowen, born in 1877, arrived in New York after the Civil War. He grew up in a world of real trains that were the motor of industrial and economic changes. 1900 foundation of Lionel Corp., original producer of Lionel trains.

1969 General Mills buys Lionel, LLC, a designer & importer of toy trains and model railroads based in Chesterfield Townships, Michigan. It operates Lionel through MPC, Model Products Corporation, one of its subsidiaries.

Lionel, LLC owns all of the trademarks & most of the products rights.

The Lionel Corp. would eventually become an East Coast chain of toy stores called "Lionel Leisure World".

The company went through trademark disputes and lawsuits with MTH Electric Trains. 2004 After filing for bankruptcy, the company's reorganization plan has finally been approved in 2008.

Lionel, LLC had launched several type of model trains gauges, O scale under its own Lionel brand, S gauge under American Flyer brand, and HO scale occasionally, with limited success. The O scale represents however the majority of Lionel's production.

In 2004 the Christmas movie Polar Express gave Lionel one of its first big successes in years, as the company produced a train set based on the movie. Greater than anticipated demand produced big shortages in supply, which led to sustained high prices in after markets.


Lionel Trains  A Pictorial History of Trains and Their Collectors 2004
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Inside The Lionel Trains Fun Factory The History of a Manufacturing Icon and
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The collector value of the more modern Lionel trains has been limited in comparison to the pre 1969 Lionel trains, although it is getting better. The MPC era produced trains are often criticized by fans due to their flimsy quality plastics. However, others are attracted to the Lionel trains produced during these times as you can find low cost train sets in mint condition packed in their original boxes.

On December 31, 2008, Lionel Licenses MTH to use its name on tinplate Standard and O scale model trains, which came to a surprise to many since their long and strenuous lawsuit.

In 2009 Lionel Trains launched its Signature Edition & Vision line....

One Response to “Do You Know The History of Lionel Trains?”

  1. Duncan Says:

    This is an informative entry. I happen to need a copy, so thanks for this!



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