One hundred years ago, a New York inventor named Joshua Lionel Cowen stumbled upon an idea that would change the toy industry for the next century.
Cowen opened a small shop in New York City and established the Lionel Manufacturing Company. The company began making toy trains to be used as display aids for toy store windows. Cowen thought that a simple toy train moving around the display would draw the attention of customers to the merchandise in the window. Much to his surprise, he discovered that customers were more interested in the little trains than in the merchandise they were supposed to promote. Hence, the first Lionel trains were born.
Since then, Lionel has grown from a little toy company to the best loved name in electric toy trains throughout the world. The company has crossed bridges from the Great Depression through two World Wars. Through many times of economic uncertainty Lionel trains have lead the toy train industry with innovative engineering and flawless manufacturing.
Over the past 100 years, the Lionel devotion to quality and innovation has resulted in numerous and diverse product breakthroughs. At the 2000 International Toy Fair Convention, Lionel proudly introduced the Odyssey System and the ZW YardBoss.
The Lionel Odyssey System maintains a locomotive’s speed as though on cruise control. An engine will perform more realistically while speeding up and slowing down on grades or crawling around a layout. The Mikado will be the first locomotive in the 2000 product line to feature the new Odyssey System. It will be shipped in the fall of 2000.
The classic Lionel ZW has proudly evolved into the new ZW YardBoss. "The Boss" runs all TrainMaster Command Control locomotives from a fixed position, with an easy-to-read LCD panel that will display everything commanded from a layout. Watch in amazement as the handles "magically" move via servomotors depending on the locomotive’s speed. Shipment of "The Boss" will begin in 2001.
Today’s Lionel trains are equipped with twenty-first century innovations such as TrainmasterÒ Command Control (TMCC) and RailSoundsÒ . TMCC is the only O gauge control system on the market the offers a walk-around remote control that brings layouts to life. RailSounds offers more realistic sounds than ever before available. Digital recordings from real locomotives are the "secret" behind the authenticity of Lionel RailSounds. RailSounds offers start-up and shut-down sounds, diesel horn and bell, three different RPM levels when your locomotive is in neutral or ramps up while running, brake and boost sounds.
Little Lionel for Preschoolers
Model trains move in imaginative directions with an expanded Little Lionel product line. Little Lionel playsets are for parents and preschoolers who want to share the joy of model railroading. Its props set the stage for hours of creative learning and play. Three new Little Lionel playsets were introduced at the 2000 International Toy Fair Convention: the Traveling Circus Set with sound includes a big top tent, Ring of Fire and animal stand. The Cityscape Set comes with three city scenes while the Mining Set includes and mountain and rock formations.
About Lionel L.L.C.
Lionel remains an American icon that designs, manufactures and markets train sets for children and limited-edition trains and accessories for hobbyists and collectors. Lionel trains are the most valued toy trains in the market today, being collected or operated by over 100,000 toy train hobbyists. The success of Lionel is the result of a 100-year tradition of painstaking attention to quality. Lionel sells its products through a nationwide distributor and dealer network, the largest in existence today.
Today, the Lionel legend continues to move towards the 21st century, providing kids and "kids at heart" with the finest quality toy trains. Thanks to a history of innovation and quality, Lionel -- the world-renowned manufacturer and marketer of electric toy trains -- is as timeless as the trains it produces.