In December 1900, a young inventor named Joshua Lionel Cowen devised a battery-powered train intended to help Manhattan toy-shop owners dress up their window displays. When the shops' customers began ordering the trains for themselves, Cowen launched Lionel Manufacturing Company. Beginning with those turn-of-the-century "cigar boxes on wheels," this colorful large-format history follows the world's most famous toy trains as they survive the Great Depression, bask in the height of their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, weather several changes of ownership in the 1970s and 1980s, and celebrate their 100th anniversary at the end of the 1990s. The trains are richly illustrated with specially commissioned color studio photography, archival black-and-white images, and classic print ads. Also discussed are the business and marketing decisions, electrical innovations, and accessories upon which Lionel built its following. A definitive history for Lionel enthusiasts, railfans, and nostalgia buffs.