Synopses & Reviews
The story of Lionel is a one-hundred-year saga of the world's most famous model trains. Yet in 1967, the company filed for bankruptcy, and in 1969 Lionel licensed its electric train manufacturing to breakfast-cereal conglomerate General Mills. This book examines the five distinct eras of Lionel's history, placing them in the context of real-life railroads and world affairs. No gauge is overlooked in the details of founder Joshua Lionel Cowen's most significant products and his crafty business decisions. Excellent color photographs focus on Lionel locomotives like the 1903 Electric Express, the 1937 Hudsons, and the famous Santa Fe F3 diesels, with attention on rolling stock such as the animated Poultry Dispatch Car and historic sets like the Blue Comet.
From 1900 through the late-1950s, Lionel went from a wooden cheese box on wheels to expensive toy trains that flew off shelves at the height of the Great Depression to one of the world's most recognizable brand names. In the 1960s, the company found itself in a fight for its life; only a buyout from General Mills would save the name from relegation to the dust heap of time. More than 80 modern color photographs help break Lionel's "classic" rags-to-riches-to-rags period into five distinct eras, and a fascinating history examines the design and marketing of the company's most significant -- and dubious -- products, placing them in the context of contemporary competition, real-life railroads, and world affairs.