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Lionel train sets dating

In an effort to compete with companies that were willing to undercut Lionel's prices without diluting its premium Lionel and Ives brands, Lionel introduced a line of inexpensive electric toy trains under the Winner Toys or Winner Toy Corp. The starting price for a set, which included a transformer, was $3.25.

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The trains were considered a luxury item, and at the height of the Depression, one of Lionel's more extravagant locomotives cost as much as a used Ford Model T.Additionally, Lionel criticized the durability of competitors' products in ads targeted at parents.By 1922, Lionel was competing mainly against American Flyer and Ives.Apparently, also in 1922, Boucher bought out Volt Amp and started making what was known as the "Rolls Royce" of Standard Gauge trains.In 1925, American Flyer jumped into the Standard gauge market; and by 1926, Dorfan started making their own Standard Gauge trains as well.Lionel Corporation was an American toy manufacturer and retailer that was in business from 1900 to 1995.

Founded as an electrical novelties company, Lionel specialized in various products throughout its existence, but toy trains and model railroads were its main claim to fame.

William Walthers, a large seller of model railroads, asked Cowen in 1929 why Lionel painted its trains in bright and unrealistic colors.

Cowen said that the majority of trains were purchased by mothers for their children, and the bright colors attracted women buyers.

At a wholesale price of 55 cents, the handcar's sales would not have provided enough profit to pay off Lionel's debts of $300,000; however, it provided much-needed cash.

Lionel avoided bankruptcy and emerged from receivership the next year.

Competitors criticized the realism of Lionel's trains—Cowen had been unwilling to invest in the equipment necessary for lithography, so its early offerings were simply painted in solid colors of enamel paint with brass detail parts.