Welcome to my new website. Lionel Polar Express Train Set. My name is Trevor. When I was growing up my mom used to tell me about the Lionel Trains her dad, my grandfather would set up under the Christmas Tree every year. She would tell me how excited she would get about those trains. Asking her dad everyday after Thanksgiving if i was time to set the trains up yet. Every day after school she would run home from the bus stop to ask and he would say “No, not yet.” Every day she would rush home from school just to hear the same answer, “no, not yet.” Until one day about two weeks before Christmas her dad would ask her if she would help him get the trains out of the attic. She told me how she would bolt up the stairs as fast as she could to watch her father remove thesecret panel that led to the attic. She would have to climb through a small opening while her father held the flashlight shining the light over to where the boxes where that help those wonderful amazing trains! Slowly, ever so slowly she would slide the boxes towards the opening of the attic. Her dad would reach in a grab the boxes and ever so gently remove them from their resting place. He would carefully and slowly slide each box out the small attic entrance until they were all out. After they were carefully placed on the bedroom floor her dad would help her out of the attic. He would gently dust of the boxes and open them up. My mom couldn’t wait to see those beautiful trains! Her dad would let her look at them but when she asked if they could set them up she was told it would have to wait for the weekend! That week felt like the longest school week of the year! All she could think about was setting up the tracks, locking each track into the next exactly right so the train wouldn’t run off the track. My mom told me her two favorites where the locomotive and the caboose.
My mom would talk about all her friends and family coming over to her house on Christmas Eve to help decorate their Christmas Tree and how everyone talked about her dads Lionel Trains. My mom’s friends even love Lionel Trains. My mom’s friends from Spring Hill Tree Specialists and Pest Control of Spring Hill have Lionel Trains that they still set up every Christmas. My mom loves to go visit them because it reminds her of when she was a kid. I love to see the joy it brings to her face when she sees those trains. I can almost imagine her as a little girl setting up those trains with her dad.
So Christmas came and went. I didn’t even get a chance to post any Lionel Train pictures, but I did get a chance to go see my “Poppy” in South Carolina. Poppy is my mom’s dad. The one who had all of the Lionel Trains. We talked about his trains and how his mom, my great grandma used to buy him Lionel train stuff for Christmas and his birthday. His birthday is January 11th. He’ll be 83 years old this year. He still talks about his Lionel Trains with excitement in his voice. He still regrets having to sell his trains. You can see it really bugs him and it brings a sadness to his eyes. We sat and talked during my visit about the good ole days. While we were talking he happened to have on the Antique Road Show on tv. Don’t you know someone was getting a consultation on their Lionel Trains! The trains they had were worth over $6,000!! My poppy and I talked about how excited my mom would get when it was time to put the little pill in the train that made the smoke come out of the engine. I’m so thankful to have been able to spend some time with my “pop” it was the best gift I got.
I know it’s not even Thanksgiving…..yet. Soon enough it will be here. When we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner I will be sure to ask my mom to tell the story of her dad and the trains. Soon after that my moms friends will be setting up their trains. When we go over to their homes to see their trains there will be lots of catching up. We usually only get to see them once or maybe twice a year. They are both so busy. The bug guy, Bob always has great stories of the bugs and animals or as he likes to call them the creepy creature’s he’s captured over the past year. My mom’s other friend likes to talk about the huge Christmas Tree he gets every year. I didn’t realize there were so many different types of Christmas Trees. We always have to get a Douglas Fir. My mom has pictures of the Christmas Trees she used to pick out when she was a little girl. These Christmas Tree were ginormous! So big and tall and full! Our Christmas Trees here in Florida are so little and scrawny. One Christmas I’d like to surprise my mom by bringing home a huge Douglas Fir for her. What would be even more special is if I could one day, bring home a huge Christmas Tree for her AND set up a Lionel Train Set under it for her. She would be so amazed!! But for now it’s back to my homework. Until next time…..Trevor =)
I have been trying for DAYS to get back into my site. I’m not quite sure how I locked myself out but I did. Can you say beyond frustrating??? I’ve been trying to work out the bugs but every time I tried to branch out, I’d circle back around just like one of the trains I love so much.
After years and years of hearing my mom talk about the Lionel Trains she loved so much as a kid, I became curious as to why they meant so much to her. I started to investigate the history behind the trains. I learned that Joshua Lionel Cowen was the inventor of Lionel Trains. Lionel Trains were invented by Joshua Lionel Cowen in 1901. He was born in New York, New York on August 25, 1877. He was one of nine children. Joshua attended Peter Cooper Institute High School. He did very good in High School but after High School, Joshua would enroll in and drop out of college three times. Joshua was always a curious child with a mechanical mind. The story goes that he smashed one of his sisters dolls heads open the figure out how the mechanical eyes worked.
Joshua Cowens first invention was a train he whittled out of wood at the age of seven. Unfortunately, that train exploded when he tried to attach a tiny steam engine to it to power it. He never forgot his first invention. In 1901, he adhered a small motor to the underside of a model traincar along with a battery and the first Lionel electric train was made.
The first train set he made was for a toy store display in New York City. The intent of the store front display was to entice people to shop at the toy store. However, people would go into the toy store and ask where they could buy the train set. Thus started the production of Lionel trains.
I learned that the company did very well between 1901 and 1930 but then the Great Depression hit. The company hit hard times. In 1931 the company was in the red for the first time. The hard times didn’t last long and the company was once again profitable in 1935. In the early 50’s Lionel was at it’s peak, by the 60’s the company was once again trouble after the founder Joshua Lionel Cowen died in Florida at the age of 88. In 1969, the company sold the rights to it’s Electrics trains to the cereal giant General Mills.