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Following a brief recession, Lionel entered an era of unprecedented growth.People wanted to forget the war and indulge in life's pleasures - and more of them could afford luxuries like toy trains, thanks to easy credit.Cowen was among the finest practitioners of modern advertising.
) batteries, soon replaced by the 110-volt electric transformer.
By 1906, with the introduction of preassembled track and a selection of engines and cars, the Lionel we know today was already taking shape.
The decade between 19 saw Lionel's sales increase 15-fold.
Youthful inventor Joshua Lionel Cowen wasn't the first to manufacture toy trains.
But his talents as an engineer and salesman soon put Lionel ahead of its competitors.
Cowen designed his first train, the Electric Express, not as a toy, but as an eye-catching display for toy stores.
During Lionel's early days, Americans were captivated by the railroads and awed by electricity, still a rarity in many homes.
This resulted from a bustling economy, the growth of electric power, World War I defense production, and the end of German toy imports.
Changing times were reflected by "Racing Automobiles" and a passenger train with internal lighting, the retirement of the quaint "Pay-As-You-Go" trolley, and the introduction of a war train with cannons.