Lionel Electric Train Sets

Lionel Electric Train Sets – A True Collectors Item

Life in the 21st century is filled with great amounts of anxiety. To cope with this seemingly chronic stress we need to find an outlet. These generally take the form of hobbies, and a great one being model railroading, and Lionel electric train sets.

There are numerous types of model train sets, and numerous stories to tell of their histories; however, one of the most popular (and arguably most interesting) of these is Joshua Lionel Cowen and the Lionel model train sets.

This article will act as a short history of Lionel showing why people now see Lionel train sets as collector items.

It all began in 1900 when Joshua Lionel Cowen founded the Lionel Corporation along with partner Harry C. Grant.

Oddly enough, the first Lionel train set was not intended for sale as a model railroad hobbyist item; instead, it was to act as a storefront display with the aim of capturing the public’s attention.

Soon after it’s unveiling, people began inquiring about purchasing the model train – the Electric Express – which prompted Lionel to begin producing lionel electric train sets.

Lionel’s first sale was 12 copies of that storefront Electric Express.
By 1918, Lionel was a household name in the way of model railroading producing budget O scale trains.

lionel electric train sets


It was at this time that Lionel Cowen began using marketing techniques to increase sales making his trains brighter, bigger and more targeted towards children.

When asked why he did this, he responded that the brighter colors attract mothers.

Aimed at being the best model train company in the U.S.A., Joshua Lionel Cowen continued campaigning and became the most popular model railroad brand of the early 1900s.

Lionel would ultimately face bankruptcy in later years when the public’s interest in toy train sets hit an ultimate low. After the Great Depression, model train sets were viewed as luxury items causing a dent in the Lionel Corporation’s sales figure.

In order to accommodate the present recession, Cowen introduced one of their most popular products to date – the O scale Mickey and Minnie Mouse windup handcar. It was available for only $1 and is noted as the product that saved Lionel.

While Lionel Cowen decided to promote his model train sets using unrealistic, ‘larger than life’ campaigns pre-war; after 1945 it was decided Lionel electric train sets would focus on replicating real train characteristics.

The post-war production saw a concentration on less colorful O-scale trains. However, these trains included a smoke feature which separated them from other brands of the day.

Joshua Lionel Cowen died in 1965, just two years before Lionel Corporation sold their rights to cereal brand General Mills.

While the founder died, Lionel electric train sets have continued to be very realistic. In the 1970’s and 1990’s chips were inserted into the model train engines to create a realistic sound; and today both O scale trains and G scale  trains are manufactured by the Lionel brand.

Lionel electric train sets will give you a wide range of model railroads to select from

They carry classic O-scale favorites such as the Pennsylvania Flyer and the New York Central.  Railroad models that kids have often liked and are pretty familiarized with such as Thomas And Friends, the Polar Express and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, are available to select from.

Not merely do Lionel’s railroad models include whatever you want to get started, these are all set to go right out of the box!

In shopping for your very first Lionel model railroad it would help to select a ready to run kit since this can help you save both money and time, and are certainly, all set to go.

Further factors that can assist with the choice of purchasing a railroad which is safe, as well as the appropriate sizing for the age bracket of the person you are purchasing for.

Buying a railroad that your children will grow into that works and will sound like the actual railroad are also necessary aspects of preparing your own railroad collection.

You will certainly recognize the value and unending fun that Lionel model trains can provide for many years to come.

Click here  to get your free e-book download on “mistakes to avoid” when starting your very own lionel electric train sets.

2 thoughts on “Lionel Electric Train Sets”

  1. Admiring the persistence you put into your site and detailed information you provide.
    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t
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  2. Lionel is the one brand that I can remember the most about growing up. My dad was a big collector (I still have some of them stored away) and that was all he talked about when it was “train time”. Very good post about the company!

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