Dating lionel trains

Marx began production of its ink-lithographed, tin train with 6-inch cars in 1935 and continued to manufacture this model for decades with few variations in basic construction.

Identify whether the train has a particular theme or design.

) batteries, soon replaced by the 110-volt electric transformer.

dating lionel trains-68

She has been profiled on CNN and National Public Radio.

Youthful inventor Joshua Lionel Cowen wasn't the first to manufacture toy trains.

The decade between 19 saw Lionel's sales increase 15-fold.

This resulted from a bustling economy, the growth of electric power, World War I defense production, and the end of German toy imports.

Examining even small parts, such as tongue-and-groove couplers (a style of train-car connector made by Marx starting in 1938), can help date a train.

Photographs can be of immense help in identifying variations in construction and design.

Collectors sometimes see this mark and identify the toy company as Mar, not realizing that the “X” is also part of the name.

Identify whether the train is made of plated tin or plastic.

During Lionel's early days, Americans were captivated by the railroads and awed by electricity, still a rarity in many homes.

Lionel's first trains were powered by wet-cell (acid-filled!

Proto-Sound versions feature the same accurate, nostalgic appear- ance on the outside but 21st-Century technology inside.