Lionel, LLC is one of the most well-known names in the model railroad industry, and the Lionel train sets are one of the most popular items in our model railroad store. There’s a good reason for this fame: Lionel has a long history dating back to 1900, and the Lionel train sets are realistic models. These collector trains and collector train sets could be your very own — but first: a little history.
Joshua Lionel Cowen founded Lionel Manufacturing Company in 1900, right near City Hall in New York City. He certainly wasn’t the first to manufacture toy trains, but his abilities as both an engineer and a salesman quickly place him ahead of his competitors in the collectible trains industry. Remember, this is at a time when railroads and electricity were still awe-inspiring advances in technology — and Lionel’s collectible trains were captivating Americans everywhere. In 1906, Lionel introduced preassembled tracks and a selection of engines and cars — the Lionel trains sets we know and love today were taking off.
Between 1910 and 1919, Lionel’s sales increased 15-fold; this was in part due to a bustling economy and growing electric power, but it was also a result of the end of German toy imports because of World War I. During this time, Lionel didn’t get away from the family image even though the company had become a corporation — Cowen’s son Lawrence (“The Happy Lionel Boy”) was the image on catalogs, packaging, sales materials, and more.
The Roaring ‘20s left Lionel roaring ahead with unprecedented growth as people wanted to indulge in life’s little pleasures and forget the war. Lionel has changed and evolved a lot over the years, but their collectible trains and train sets are just as detailed, professional, and unforgettable as ever. Shop with All About Toy Trains today for your own Lionel toy trains.