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Cowen came up with an idea that he proposed to the shop owner, Robert Ingersoll, to add action to his shop window. Cowen had founded Lionel Trains in a small office at 24 Murray Street at the young age of 23. The B&O loco, initiated a demand from consumers and hobbyists for small scale reproductions of real trains. This track has a center rail that carried the electrical current and was designed to eliminate short circuits.
13 different items, including the #5 and #6 steam engines and the highly collectible #8 and #9 trolleys. Some Lionel locomotives now featured a red painted cow catcher while others were fitted with electric headlamps. Lionel Corporation (as it was now known) was building sites outside the US and was buying up the competition. Streamlined passenger trains were introduced in the middle of the decade, as was the first steam whistle. Rabbit "chick mobiles," which came out the following year; and the 'O' gauge Mickey Mouse Circus Train.
Having assumed the presidency that year, Lawrence remained at the head of the company until its sale in 1959.
One of the first new postwar trains issued was the #671 6-8-6 die-cast Steam Turbine Locomotive. Today these sets are considered valuable to collectors, and are difficult to acquire in working condition. Up until this time, only trains with East Coast and Midwestern heralds had been made by Lionel. Lionel introduced the 275 watts ZW transformer, which was strong enough to move four trains at once. Additional manufacturing facilites located in Newark and Hillside, NJ were acquired to meet the product demand. 1957 saw the debut of the #746 Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 Class J bullet nose 'O' gauge die-cast locomotive. Employees had been let go, and high-quality product lines had been discontinued in order to cut costs.
Over the next three years, while newly focused on retailing, Lionel annual revenue more than doubled to $80.1 million.

In 1979 Fundimensions reintroduced the American Flyer 'S' Gauge trains as part of the Lionel line. In general, Lionel trains regained its health in the 1970's, enjoying increasing sales through the decade. RPM levels for diesel locomotives when in neutral, ramp ups when running, and brake and boost sounds.
For steam locomotives it provides chugging, whistles and the screeching of steel wheels on steel rails. Completely new product lines also expanded Lionel's offerings during the late 1980's and early 1990's.
In 2006, the Lionel electric train was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, along with the Easy Bake Oven. In April 2014, after 10 years in that role, Jerry Calabrese resigned as President and CEO of Lionel Electric Trains.
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So what circumstances created this rather extraordinary American Toy Train, World Record Sale? Our story begins in 1936, SEVEN DECADES AGO, and requires a look at how the difficult years of the Great Depression were affecting Lionel. By 1933, a worsening economy and adherence to NRA guidelines (National Recovery Act) had caused a substantial decrease in Lionel’s pricing!
Henry Bendixen was a wealthy retailer in Syracuse, New York whose Yara brand chewing tobacco was nationally known. The only box that Lionel had at hand large enough to contain this extraordinary set was one sized for a four Car Brown State Set- the 411E. This box, interestingly enough, is dated 1932, and is EXACTLY the same size (and has the same date) as a known 411E set box. As can be seen from the table presented here, this was the second to the last year that any 4 car State Set would be offered for sale. 2- 922 (Illuminated Lamp Terraces), 6- #69 Aluminum Double Light Lamp Posts, 1- 439 Panel Board and a quantity of 1 unknown.
The 433E set box fits inside this shipping carton perfectly, so we can assume it was most likely shipped in this carton and the other items in Box 2. In reality, Lionel was in business to make money, and profits were essentially non-existent during the early part of the 1930’s.

Later research on Stan’s part revealed the true, extraordinary nature of this find, an American Toy Train masterpiece, literally suspended in time. The 20th Century Limited made its first public appearance at the Cal-Stewart Fall Meet in Pasadena, Calif. At the beginning of this story, we postulated on what extraordinary circumstances convolved to create this magnificent set. How many times have train collectors fantasized about finding that ultimate set, with the boxes, untouched for decades; a Fairy Tale at best! Don Fiore, Michael Seibert, Jerry Wagner, Ed and Doug Prendeville, Bryan Fisk, Leon Jacobson, and Jerry Hamen. Introduced in 1930 (as the 396E with no whistle), The Blue Comet set is simply the most striking train set Lionel ever produced in Standard Gauge. All listings sold via Auction are subject to a 15% Buyer's Premium which will be collected at checkout. It featured a red #1508 Commodore Vanderbilt style loco with a #1509 Mickey Mouse stoker tender. Lionel eventually reached a deal with MTH Electric Trains to settle their trade-secrets battle.
Lionel Cowan) takes the ordinary and makes it do something extraordinary – a Special finish 400E and 4 beautiful State Cars with Ivory window trim. They are illuminated, and have great seats (and even two bathrooms per car with sinks and toilets) for the passengers' travelling leisure.
The tank above the front boiler plate is cracked and the trim ring around he headlamp is also cracked. As per Lionel's pre-war style, many variations of trim colors (nickel, brass, bronze) and shades of blue were utilized over the years. While not Lionel's rarest train set by any stretch, it was (and still is) easily their most popular and most recognizable set ever produced.

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