The History of Lionel Trains

The founder of Lionel trains was Joshua Lionel Cowen. Born in 1877, as a child Joshua was more interested in playing with mechanical toys to go to school.

In 1899, he patented a device that is used by photographers to bring the flash powder dry batteries to heat a wire fuse. Cowen later used a variation of this invention to obtain a contract with the U.S. Navy to detonate mines.

One day while walking through lower Manhattan, Cowen saw a wooden toy train in a store. He envisioned a toy train which is driven around a track. This vision became the foundation of Lionel trains is built.

The first train Lionel, the Electric Express, was not intended to be a toy, but a display of toy stores. Cowen and his partner Harry Grant opened Lionel Manufacturing Company in 1900. The first company that produces small electric fans electric battery.

The Electric Express was built for the owner of toy store where Cowan had seen the raft on the screen. The train was driven by the engine the same as that used in electric fans for the company. Shortly after the battery is replaced by a 110 volt electric transformer. Finally, twelve Express electrical models have been sold.

Soon more products were developed, including a “City Hall Park” trolley and a suspension bridge of two feet. In 1906, Lionel added a third rail carrying the current and changing the track gauge exterior, which were the ground rails, to 2 1/8 “inches. This innovative new track was quickly adopted by other manufacturers .

Lionel continued to gain popularity and soon began to build cars, coal cars, stations and tunnels. In 1909, Cowen began calling his model as “the world standard.” As households increasingly American were connected to electricity, trains quickly became big business.

The company has survived through the Great Depression and World War II, but fell out of favor in the 1950s. In 1959, revenues had dropped by over 50%. The company was sold to a group of businessmen headed by the nephew of Mr Cowen. The company survives today, despite several ownership changes since then.

Since the beginning of Lionel trains, the company sold over 50 million units currently. In 1999, Lionel trains have been chosen as one of the top 10 toys of the 20th century.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Download Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Directory, Best Free WordPress Themes and Themes Gallery