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A Look Into The History Of The Lionel Model Train
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Tweet A look into the history of the Lionel Model Train is fascinating. Lionel trains got their start in 1900 when Joshua Lionel Cowen created his first toy train, the Electric Express. Joshua was already a successful inventor at the time. He created the toy train as a nod to his childhood growing up around [...]
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A look into the history of the Lionel Model Train is fascinating. Lionel trains got their start in 1900 when Joshua Lionel Cowen created his first toy train, the Electric Express. Joshua was already a successful inventor at the time. He created the toy train as a nod to his childhood growing up around the rise of Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines, which made America into a world power.
Once Cowen invented the Electric Express, it and the next train he invented after it became his main passion for the remainder of his lifetime. Cowen told people boys who had a Lionel Model Train would be better prepared for adulthood. Word of this led fathers to join their sons in becoming model train enthusiast. Soon after Lionel train layouts were in several American homes. This was especially true during the Christmas season when it became a tradition to put a Lionel train layout around the Christmas tree.
Later in the century when American’s began their love affair with automobiles and cross-country flying became the norm, people quit buying the Lionel Model Train. This is because when Lionel trains first hit the market; trains had become a symbol of American technology and travelling in sophistication. Later in the 1960′s the freight lines were starting to be shut down, as were some of major train stations. Around this time Joshua Lionel Cowen passed away.
Slowly Lionel trains were rediscovered by those who were looking for a piece of American nostalgia. Others had their imaginations captured by the possibilities of being a model train collector. Recently, America has begun renewing its own relationship with trains as a viable form of transportation. As more high-speed passenger lines are being created and historical landmarks such as Penn Station are being restored, American’s are rediscovering their passion for model trains such as the Lionel Model Train.
Evidence of the renewed relationship American’s have with the Lionel Model Train can be seen in the Lionel Store located in New York at the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Rockefeller Center. Every day, the store is filled with tourists from around the world trying to get a piece of this bit of true Americana. The store’s offering of Lionel Model Trains is just as symbolic of Christmas in America as the ice rink located outside the store in Rockefeller Center at Christmas time.
Another chapter of Lionel Model Train history is being written as the company has increased its online efforts to serve the model train community. Now people looking for sound advice when starting to collect model trains can go on line to the Lionel website. Model train enthusiasts can also find the information they are looking for. They can find everything from different models for purchase, answers to questions, and current model train news. There is even an online club offered on the website called the Lionel Railroader Club. Here train enthusiasts can get subscriptions to “Inside Track” the official Lionel Train news magazine and get special offers on Lionel trains and accessories.
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