|Lionel Licensing Keeps Growing
CHESTERFIELD, MI – Over 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 model 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 model train industry with innovative engineering and flawless manufacturing.
Today, Lionel is the most recognized toy train manufacturer in the world. The Lionel name is well established in many product categories including collectibles, multi-media, toys and home furnishings.
"We’re proud to say that Lionel created the tradition of a train under a Christmas tree," said Richard N. Maddox, president & COO of Lionel LLC. "The Lionel Brand is an American icon which stands for quality, innovation and family togetherness.
The Lionel licensing program has grown a great deal since it’s beginning in 1997, bringing in millions of dollars. Today Lionel licensing is more proactive. Recently Lionel has signed on with some exciting licensees offering a variety of products. Two very new products are a Lionel throw from Northwest Company and battery-operated, plastic train sets from Golden Bell Plastic Factory.
Handleman Entertainment signed on with Lionel to bring Christmas music to everyone, with the CD cases featuring the artwork of Lionel train artist Angela Trotta Thomas. Another set will be released this holiday season. Also in time for the new year is the 2002 daily desktop calendar from the Time Factory, filled with fun facts and photos about the history of Lionel.
Taylor Made Trucks and Bradley Woodworks have also joined the list of Lionel licensees. Taylor Made Trucks has issued the fourth in a series celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lionel. The tanker truck is about 15.5" x 3" x 4" of finely decorated plastic molding. Bradley Woodworks produced a replica of the Standard Depot Clock used in railway stations across the nation to keep trains running on time for over 80 years. Both are limited edition items.
Lionel will also enter the world of fundraising with Giftco, a program that will be launched in 2002.
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 model trains in the market today, being collected or operated by over 100,000 toy train hobbyists. The success of Lionel is the result of over a 100-year tradition of painstaking attention to quality. Lionel sells its products through a nationwide distributor and dealer network.
Today, the Lionel legend continues into 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.