Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 01 Oct 2010 02:13 am

A Look at Lionel Trains – The World’s Best Model Toy Trains

Like many of life’s wonderful inventions, the model train was discovered in a simple way. The discoverer was a fellow by the name of Josh Lionel Cowen. You guessed it, the name of the famous Lionel Trains. It was nothing elaborate just a very simple half train car that he motorized. That’s all it took to start a passion for the avid train lovers by way of becoming collectors.

The model train business is not a small industry by any means. It is very popular throughout America, Australia and Europe as well. It cannot be forgotten that at the time of Josh’s invention, not every home even had electricity. The first “electric” trains as they were promoted , were really battery operated. In comparison to what we call model trains today, the originals were much larger by comparison.

At around the same time that Lionel trains were being manufactured there were others getting into the industry and making different styles, scales and gauges. The model train industry was off and running. Josh being the astute business man that he was, soon realized that if all the manufacturers used the same gauge, it would be to all their advantage. The gauge is referring to the distance between the rails of the train tracks.

To get everyone to comply to his way of thinking Josh not only used his personal name, but his business name as well. To do this he simply called the gauge the Lionel Standard.
If we were to compare this gauge to the models of today, it would be the G scale. This really wouldn’t have a practical use in the home because they are far to big to set up properly.

By 1915, electricity had become a common commodity in most home. This meant that now the model trains could be powered by this source. There we have it. The beginning of the personal home use model trains. Needless to say, the industry boomed from that time on and for many years to come.

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