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Historic Facts About Lionel Trains
When manufacturers started making trains 100 years ago, they could not have known how popular these toys would become or how they would become a lifelong habit and passion for many people. Little did Joshua Lionel Cowen know when he first put a small car on a flatbed truck back in 1901 that his name would soon become and remain a household word for millions of people for generations. Nor could they have known that Lionel trains would become one of the biggest names in small transportation in the world.
Ironically, Lionel’s first train known as the “electric express” was not made as a toy but as a show to get people’s attention. It did and inquiries started coming in from people who wanted to buy this train as a gift for their children.
Over the years, the model of Lionel teaches popularity waxes and wanes, the company changes hands many times, but, this toy would not disappear from the American culture. Today there have been over 50 million railroad tracks sold and over 300 miles of railroad tracks are built each year.
Lionel Train Rides
The popularity of the construction model of many trains and Lionel trains in particular has its basis in the love of American culture. Railroads were the first sign of modern transportation and people watched real trains run down the tracks with their long line of cars and imagined what it would be like to get on board and be transported to new and different places. Later when the real railroads began to die out the miniature railroads would become part of the history of American love like the old west and the old mountains.
One of the things that made Lionel trains so important was the quality of their construction and the amount of attention that went into every train, every car and every building, every person and piece of track. They all seemed so real that people began to think of themselves as conductors and owners and rich people of their own railways. It became a lifetime of fun that usually begins when a child finds the first little Lionel train running under the tree on Christmas morning. A beloved toy that over the years will become a favorite that is shared and passed down from generation to generation.
Clubs would be formed and more and more people would begin to share their interest in exciting railroad building competitions to see who could build the truest and greatest railroad empire. In the 50’s and 60’s it was not unusual to see fathers and sons in the museum every Saturday looking for the latest track, or another building, tree, or lamppost to add to their tracks. which is growing.
Today, older men are the main buyers of miniature railroads, cars, and other equipment as they rediscover the joy of railroad construction that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers enjoyed. Trains have been part of our heritage and Lionel trains continue to lead the way in quality locomotives, rolling stock and transport.
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