Vintage Ads: Lionel Trains

Lionel Trains looked to turn locomotives into a family affair

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For years, Lionel’s Christmas-season advertising offered some variation on the idea that boys never lose their fascination with model trains, even when they grow up. As early as 1927, a Christmas-season ad in the Post promoted the idea with the headline, “The Father and Son Railroad” (“Real enough for a man to enjoy — simple enough for a boy to operate.”). Some 30 years later, the concept had barely changed. In this 1953 ad, Junior is down on the floor with the trains, while Dad and Mom snuggle in a comfortable chair, clearly delighted. The subtle tip of the hat to modern times is the hint that Sis might be just as excited to play with this train set as her brother.

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