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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.

By 1906, with the introduction of preassembled track and a selection of engines and cars, the Lionel we know today was already taking shape.

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.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.The "father and son railroad" of Joshua Lionel Cowen and Lawrence Cowen ended in 1959, when they sold their interest in Lionel to distant relative Roy Cohn.Joe Di Maggio, star player for the New York Yankees, hosts the "The Lionel Club House" on NBC television.

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