Lionel Trains are made by the Lionel Corporation which was an American toy manufacturer and retailer that was in business from 1900-1995. 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. Lionel trains, produced from 1900 to 1969, drew admiration from model railroaders around the world for the solidity of their construction and the authenticity of their detail. During its peak years in the 1950s, the company sold $25 million worth of trains per year. In 2006, Lionel’s electric train, along with the Easy-Bake Oven, became the first electric toy inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The original Lionel Corporation was founded in 1900 by Joshua Lionel Cowen and Harry C. Grant in New York City. The company’s devotees disagree over the date of incorporation. The official paperwork gives a date of September 5, but the paperwork was not filed until September 22, more than two weeks later. Initially, the company specialized in electrical novelties, such as fans and lighting devices.