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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.This was a golden age for Lionel, but like the Roaring Twenties, it wouldn't last.During the Great Depression, Lionel's sales and profits slumped, and 1931 was its first year in the red.In 1934, financial troubles led Lionel into court-ordered receivership to stave off bankruptcy.That year the company's fortunes were boosted by the debut of the wildly popular Mickey and Minnie handcar, a

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.This was a golden age for Lionel, but like the Roaring Twenties, it wouldn't last.During the Great Depression, Lionel's sales and profits slumped, and 1931 was its first year in the red.In 1934, financial troubles led Lionel into court-ordered receivership to stave off bankruptcy.That year the company's fortunes were boosted by the debut of the wildly popular Mickey and Minnie handcar, a $1 windup toy.Meanwhile, Lionel's fabulously illustrated catalogs became children's cherished "wish books." The products they portrayed - like the No.

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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.

This was a golden age for Lionel, but like the Roaring Twenties, it wouldn't last.

During the Great Depression, Lionel's sales and profits slumped, and 1931 was its first year in the red.

In 1934, financial troubles led Lionel into court-ordered receivership to stave off bankruptcy.

That year the company's fortunes were boosted by the debut of the wildly popular Mickey and Minnie handcar, a $1 windup toy.

Meanwhile, Lionel's fabulously illustrated catalogs became children's cherished "wish books." The products they portrayed - like the No.

402 electric engine, the Hellgate Bridge, and the No. Working accessories - including crossing gates, highway flashers, and traffic warning bells - became more and more lifelike.

windup toy.Meanwhile, Lionel's fabulously illustrated catalogs became children's cherished "wish books." The products they portrayed - like the No.

Slogans such as "Lionel: The Father and Son Railroad," and "Real enough for a man to enjoy - simple enough for a boy to operate," were the first of many to pitch family themes.It also marked the ascendancy of affordable O gauge over the more expensive standard gauge, which was discontinued in 1939.Lionel benefited financially from defense production during World War II, but toy train production was put on hold.These included locomotives with real puffing smoke (like the all-new Pennsylvania S-2 steam turbine), a remote-controlled coupling system, and a realistic water tower with a moving spout.Lionel's offerings, many styled to match actual railroads, reflected America's renewed love affair with trains.

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