The Ives Manufacturing Company was an American toy manufacturer from 1868 to 1932. It was founded
by Edward Ives, a descendant of Plymouth colony governor William Bradford, in Plymouth, Connecticut.
The company initially produced paper dolls whose limbs moved in response to hot air.
Ives eventually began producing a wide range of toys, including iron cap balls, a toy cannon that shot using real gunpowder
and clockwork powered dolls and animals that could move. The clockwork toys were designed by Jerome Secor,
Nathan Warner, and Arthur Hotchkiss and by the 1880's, Ives was a leading producer of these toys.
Emphasis shifted to trains as Ives toy designs were copied by other
toymakers who were willing to
sell them more cheaply. In the early years Ives produced floor
clockwork trains. On December 22, 1900 a fire
destroyed the plant along with all dies, molds and tooling. Afterwards Ives was able to design an entirely new toy line for 1901.
This new line included both cast iron and stamped steel 'O' gauge trains and 1 gauge clockwork trains that were
the first Ives toy trains that ran on track. In the end the fire benefited the company, as the insurance
money permitted Ives to build a modern factory with state-of-the-art tooling.
The 1901 Ives catalogue contained one page of trains and two pages of train sets. The #25 locomotive was pictured
as a 2-4-0, but this is a variation that has never been known to exist. The 1902 catalogue again had one
page of trains, and two pages of train sets, but now included a page of accessories as well. The 1903 catalogue was
identical to the 1902 catalogue, except for the cover and back.
In the beginning Ives created very primative hand painted trains, lithography didn't appear until 1902
and then only on the more expensive sets. The hand painting was used on the cheaper sets until 1903 or 1904. The 1904 catalogue
was the first to show 1 gauge trains. More than half the pages in all of these initial catalogues showed elaborate
track plans and layouts.
Ives was the first US maker to use preassembled sectional track, as pioneered by European makers such
as Bing. Although other American companies such as Carlisle & Finch,
Voltamp, Knapp, and Howard
were selling electric powered trains at the time,
Ives opted to remain with clockwork, partly because many U.S. homes still lacked electricity.
The first lineup of Ives clockwork locomotives in 'O' gauge consisted of the #0 2-2-0 tin steam outline,
#3 2-2-0 tin steam outline, #11 2-2-0 cast iron steam outline, #17 2-2-0 cast iron steam outline, and the #25 4-4-0 cast iron
steam outline. The #0 and #3 locos were identical except that the #3 was fitted with a stronger clockwork movement. The #11
and #17 locos were also identical, except for the speed governor installed in the #17. There was only 1 single offering
in 1 gauge - the big #40 cast iron 4-4-0 steam outline. This locomotive measured a foot long and was priced at
$10.00. You needed another $1.25 to acquire the tender, as in those days, tenders were sold separately.
Introductory 'O' gauge cars offered included the following 4 wheel cars: #50 baggage, #51 passenger coach,
#60 baggage, #61 passenger coach, #62 parlor car, #54 gravel, #63 gravel, and #126 caboose. The 'O' gauge 8 wheel cars were:
Fast freight Line #125 general merchandise car, #127 livestock, #128 gravel, #129 parlor, #130 Limited
Vestibule Express combine, and #131 baggage. The 1 gauge cars had 8 wheels
and were: Twentieth Century Limited #70 mail-baggage car, #71 St. Louis combine, and #72 San Francisco drawing room coach.
Accessories offered included the #100 2 section bridge, #101 3 section bridge, #104 tunnel, #110 bumper, #111 elevating post,
#114 passenger station, #115 freight station, #116 passenger station and #117 covered platform.
In 1904 Ives issued the 'New Elevated Railway System', which was
an innovative set with an oval of track, 10 elevated piers, a 2-2-0 clockwork locomotive, tender and two 4 wheel passenger
cars. The 1905 catalogue contained an item that collectors covet today - the famous Ives #121 glass double domed train shed.
Other accessories listed in the catalogue included a turntable, the #118, #119, #120 platforms, crossing gates, and a lift
bridge. This was only the beginning in a long list of new offerings and designs, that Ives would produce.
Originally, Ives' greatest competition came from German imports, and not
from domestic manufacturers. The German manufacturers had an advantage since European labor costs were lower than American
labor costs. Ives' response was with marketing, which it directed at its target audience, the twelve-year-old boy.
Its campaigns addressed boys as business partners, telling them that the success of Ives' fictional
railroad, Ives Railway Lines, depended on their shrewd management. This worked, building brand loyalty.
In 1907 domestic competition arrived on the scene with the introduction of William Coleman and William Hafner's American
Flyer 'O' gauge clockwork trains, and the formation of another firm, the American Miniature Railway Company.
This manufacturer was founded in Ives' own home town of Bridgeport, CT by two, disgruntled,
former Ives employees, William Haberlin and Timothy Hayes. Haberlin and Hayes received additional financial backing
from Hobart French. William J. Nichols, and D. Fairchild Wheeler. They too offered a new line of 'O' gauge clockwork trains.
By 1908, Ives had amended the 'O' gauge clockwork loco line with the addition of the #1 cast iron 2-2-0 steam outline, #2
cast iron 2-2-0 steam outline, and the #20 cast iron 4-4-0 steam outline. In 1 gauge, the #41 cast iron 0-4-0
steam outline joined the #40 4-4-0. There were a total of 20 different 'O' gauge sets and seven different 1 gauge
sets offered in the 1908 catalogue. Also catalogued for the first time were four different mechanical stationary
engines #500, #501, #525 and #526. A truely innovative item also appearing for the first time was
a colorful, six section 'scenic effects' printed landscape background system. These were each 26 inches long by
15 inches high. When all sections were placed side by side they formed a continuous 120 inch long diorama displaying
a farm scene with houses, barns, a mill, landscaping, and mountain backdrops.
Ives became the leading manufacturer in the American electric train market in 1910
when it introduced electric 'O' gauge versions that followed from the same clockwork train models.
1 gauge electrics followed in 1912. The addition of electric trains to the line was partially in response
to companies such as American Flyer undercutting its prices on clockwork trains. The electric
current was applied to the track using either a series of dry cell batteries, a 4-40 storage battery, or via a
transformer that reduced the house 110 volt 60 cycle lighting current to low voltages between three and 25 volts.
The Ives transformer was initially equipped with a male light bulb screw-type socket instead of a wall plug.
The catalogue caption for the transformer stated that, "a transformer is much cheaper to use than dry batteries,
and that batteries wear out and need to be thrown away, while a transformer lasts forever..."
Ives grew to become the largest manufacturer of toy trains in the United States from 1910 until 1924.
However, Ives was in for stiff competition when Lionel entered 'O' gauge in 1916.
Since construction toys were gaining in popularity, and in an effort to
re-diversify, Ives released a
Meccano and Erector Set-like construction toy in 1913 called Struktiron. Many steel structures could be built
with this construction set, including the #6 and #11 railroad bridges, which were shown in the 1914 catalogue with a
#3240 electric outline loco and cars travelling over them. Although it offered parts its competition did not,
the set was not very successful and Ives withdrew it from the market in 1917. The 1913 catalogue displayed the first
picture of the Ives #1125 locomotive and tender and showed the first electric street lights made by Ives.
In 1914 Ives introduced their brand new logo. They also produced twelve different
steam type locomotives and six electric type. There were 7 clockwork locos in 'O'
gauge, all steam outline (#2, #5, #6, #11, #17, #20, #25), and 8 electric powered engines, four were steam outline (#1100,
#1117, #1118, #1125), and 4 were electric outline (#3200, #3217, #3218, #3238).
In 1 gauge, there was 1 clockwork locomotive - the steam outline #40 4-4-0. The #3239 and #3240 electic outline
locos were the other 1 gauge offerings. Both 0-4-4-0 electric powered. The 'O' gauge #809 electric street car, with track,
listed for $3.25. Another seventy-five
cents got you a #805 non-powered trail car to go with it. Tunnels, semaphores, turntables, a power house, lampposts,
bridges, and stations, including the #122 glass domed station, rounded out the line.
6" Tinplate Lithographed 8 wheel 'O' gauge #60 and #70 series Passenger Cars
The seasonal nature of train sales continued to cause concern for Ives, and Harry Ives, sought one
last time to diversify by selling toy boats, which he hoped would support the company through strong summer
sales. The first boats, released in 1917, were powered by a clockwork engine from an Ives 'O' gauge locomotive.
However, the designs were unrealistic looking, lacking the costly detail that was the highlight of competing
German designs, and had a tendency to sink easily. Additionally, since Ives did not use a primer when painting
the boats, the paint flaked off easily. Ives had difficulty adapting its methods for designing and building
trains to work for boats. Despite the problems, Ives continued producing the boats until 1928. Few Ives
boats exist today, but it is unclear whether this was due to lack of popularity or their propensity to sink.
Harry Ives had a heated professional relationship with Lionel founder Joshua
Lionel Cowen, in which they traded lawsuits and, starting in 1915, Lionel criticized
the quality of Ives' offerings in print advertisements,
calling its cars flimsy and showing a cast-iron Ives locomotive shattering into 15 pieces when dropped from a
table, while a Lionel locomotive dropped from the same height would survive with only dents. Other ads
criticizing Ives' quality appeared, but they always compared Ives' cheapest products with Lionel's
Although Ives could rightly claim that its lithographed offerings were more
realistic than Lionel's simple enameled two-color cars, Lionel, taking a cue from Ives, targeted advertising
straight at children, claiming its cars were the most realistic and that its paint jobs were more durable.
Edward Ives passed away in 1918, and his son Harry took over running the business completely.
Ives' subdued responses did little to counter Lionel's claims, only calling its competitors
(including Lionel) imitators whose technology was "12 years behind." It was no match for Lionel's
bold and brash ads. Additionally, Lionel's trains generally were priced lower, or, in instances where
their price was comparable to Ives, they were larger, making them appear to be a better value
for the money.
In 1916, when the lineup included 10 different electric powered locomotives, Ives began a major redesign
of all their engines as part of the effort to increase market share.
By 1917, all of the 7 electric powered locomotives offered were new designs. The 'O' gauge electric outline #3216,
a larger model with a headlight, was introduced in 1917 to take the place of the smaller #3200 engine that did
not have a working headlight.
In 1917 when the United States entered World War I, industry switched to wartime manufacturing. This
event had mixed effects on the Ives company. On one hand, it eliminated
imports from Germany, increasing Ives' share of the market. However, raw materials, steel, iron, aluminum and especially
brass, were reserved for the arms industry. Even certain paint colors, such as red and gray, were in short supply.
Only small allotments or raw materials were made available for civillian goods production.
Ives' geographic location made it difficult to bring in the materials it needed to make trains, and also made
shipping finished products difficult. Lionel and American Flyer, being headquartered in New York City and
Chicago, respectively, did not face that challenge. Transport of non-military products took second place and
unfortunately Ives in Bridgeport had only the coastal railroad and local shipping abilities. The isolation also
made it impossible for Ives to gain lucrative wartime government manufacturing contracts. As a result, Ives
did not benefit financially from the war. Ironically, Ives
was surrounded by ammunition and arms companies, such as Remington UMC in Bridgeport, Winchester, and Colt in New Haven,
and Smith & Wesson in Springfield, where all available brass went to make cartridges. These material shortages did
affect train production, and Ives had to improvise on many items. This accounts for several variations in continued
production of existing products from this period. Steel gears were substituted for brass, and tin wheels were
substituted for cast iron wheels. Ives did not print a new catalog in 1918. Instead they reissued the 1917 folder
with a six page insert and advertised in magazines. Ives did attempt to use and play up the war effort and
patriotism in wording it's advertisements.
After the war, Ives, along with competitors Lionel and American Flyer, lobbied
successfully for protective tariffs to promote the fledgling American toy train industry. As a result, there
was very little foreign competition after World War I, especially at the high end of the market where Ives
had positioned itself. Ives did return to using brass gears in their trains in 1919, when a totally new line
was introduced featuring the new style electric outline #3250 series locomotives.
In 1921, Ives changed from 1 gauge to the 2⅛" Standard gauge which was originally introduced
by Lionel, calling it Wide gauge. Lionel fiercely targeted Ives quality in their advertising which is at least
partially due to the personal rivalry between J. L. Cowen and Harry Ives, Edward Ives' son and
successor. However, Ives continued to market heavily to its target audience, using the motto
"Ives Toys Make Happy Boys!". Ives did not call its bigger trains Standard gauge, as Lionel had trademarked the
name. While Ives was inconsistent in what it called its larger-gauge trains, sometimes referring to it as trains
for #2 gauge track, it most frequently called it Wide gauge. Numerous other companies
also entered the Wide gauge market in the early 1920's, increasing consumer interest in the size and forcing
the manufacturers to innovate in order to survive. The Ives standard gauge electric outline locomotive models
utilized heavy cast iron frames and stamped steel soldered cab bodies.
Ives introduced the Wide gauge #3242 0-4-0 and #3243 4-4-4 electric
locomotives in 1921. Steam outline locomotives were made of heavy metal castings. The passenger and freight
cars were soldered rolled stamped steel construction with hand painted details. Car numbers and road names were
initially rubber stamped but in 1925 Ives began utilizing brass plates. Despite the changeover to Wide gauge, #1
gauge track was still listed in the Ives catalogues through 1922.
In 1923, Ives advertised a sweeping change in their entire mechanical train line via the introduction of a brand new
patented clockwork motor.
In 1924, Ives introduced an electric locomotive engine that would change directions when its
power flow was interrupted, a feature that Lionel would not offer for another two years. Even after
Lionel's introduction, Ives' offering was unique in that it featured a neutral position as well as forward and reverse,
and the engine's headlight continued to operate even when the train was in neutral. The three position reversing unit
was obtained through an exclusive licensing agreement that Harry Ives had gotten from from H.P. Sparks and B.A. Smith
from Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburg, the patent holders. Ives charged a premium for this feature, which it
dubbed the "e-unit" (the "e" stood for 'electronic,' although it was a mechanical device), and it increased sales.
At the time, this licensed patent device was described as 'The sensation of the toy world' and as the 'greatest selling
feature ever offered by any electric train manufacturer'. However, this was not enough of a development
for Ives to re-take its former place as market leader. Despite these innovations,
and as a result of the massive negative advertising campaigns created by Joshua Cowan, Lionel continually gained ground
on Ives, finally overtaking them in sales and in size in 1924.
In another effort to diversify its line of products, somewhere between 1923 and 1925 Ives advertised
the Ives Air Glider. This was pictured in magazine ads as a giant rubber band launched glider airplane that could
sail 200 to 500 feet.
While the magazine advertisements promoting this product have survived today, examples of the actual glider planes themselves
evidently have not.
By 1926, Lionel's revenue was twice that of Ives' and, worse yet for the company, Ives had been
losing money throughout the mid-1920's. While Ives trains were innovative and more realistic than those offered by
competitors, their production costs were much higher as a result. This situation was worsened by Ives' attempts to
compete at the low end of the market, where, unlike its competition, it sold its entry-level models at a loss.
If Ives' low-end products were higher quality than its competitors, it benefited its customers, not the company.
The Ives catalogue announced a new 'O' gauge motor in 1926.
Ives was in financial straights. In an effort to turn around the company,
Harry Ives relinquished his presidency in 1927, becoming chairman of the board and bringing in an outsider,
Charles R. Johnson, as president. Despite this financial turmoil, good things were
happening with the company still, and in 1928 Ives released its best steam outline product in Wide gauge - the #1134
4-4-2 wagon top locomotive with a ball bearing equipped automatic reversing motor. The locomotive was fitted with a
high headlight, and accompanied by a newly designed #40 die-cast tender. At the time, both Lionel and American Flyer
were not offering any electric outline engines in their Standard gauge lines, thus providing Ives with an opportunity to
capture the selling season. This new Ives engine became the top of the line
power plant, and headed up the famous 'Prosperity Special', 'National Limited', Black Diamond' and 'Chief' sets.
In addition to the news of the introduction of the #1124 realistic steam type B&O railroad 4-4-2
Wide gauge locomotive, the 1927 Ives catalogue contained announcements about many additional innovations. This included
new baked enamel finishes for locomotives, cars and some accessories, inclusion of brass etched nameplates, a unique screw
cap brush holder and revolutionary motor construction that allowed for easier access to facilitate repairs. The lineup of
'O' gauge clockwork driven locomotives now numbered 5 cast iron steam outline engines and 2 stamped steel electric outline
engines. In addition to still making the #1 0-4-0, and #17 0-4-0, there was now a #5, #6 0-4-0 and #19 0-4-0. The #30 0-4-0
and #32 0-4-0 were the new electric
outline windups. The 'O' gauge electric powered lineup consisted of 7 different stamped steel electric outline
locos. They were the 0-4-0 #3251 New York Central type, the 0-4-0 #3252 New York Central type, the
0-4-0 #3254 New York Central type, the 0-4-0 #3255 New York Central type, the 0-4-0 #3257 St. Paul type,
the 0-4-0 #3258 New Haven type, and #3259. In wide gauge, the #1124 was the only steam outline offered. There were
5 electric outline engines - the 0-4-0 #3235 New Haven type, the 0-4-0 #3236, the #3237, the 0-4-0 #3242
New York Central type and the #3243. The letter 'R' would be placed on the loco after the designated
number, if the engine had an automatic reversing unit installed. Trains with a manual reverse lever, had
no specific designation.
Problems continued and Ives' largest creditor sued in 1928. Ives filed bankruptcy in 1928
reporting liabilities of $188,303.25. As Ives already had $245,000 in Christmas sales lined up, Johnson
petitioned for a private sale and a quick settlement. The motion for a private sale was denied.
On July 31, 1928 the bankrupt Ives Mfg. Corp. was sold at auction, including all its assets, patents and
all equipment, in the Holland Avenue factory. The buyer was Mr. Mandel Frankel, who was the representative for Joshua Lionel
Cowen. Lionel and American Flyer
jointly bought Ives for $73,250. The low price in comparison to the
company sales was presumably due to liens on Ives' assets. Lionel and Flyer then operated Ives as a joint
venture, retaining Charles R. Johnson and Harry Ives as president and chairman, respectively. Harry Ives left the
company in September 1929, and within seven years he was dead. The 1928 Ives catalog is full of trains that were
made in very small numbers. It is believed that everything pictured in the 1928 catalog was manufactured, but some
were made in such limited quanities that none have survived or been found to this point.
Ives' new owners immediately discontinued the line of toy boats, and much of Ives'
train product line
was replaced with relabeled American Flyer or Lionel product, and most new designs were carried out using
Lionel and American Flyer parts, even though Ives' own designs were usually more realistic. There are several
reasons for this. When Lionel and American Flyer bought Ives, they
did not buy the factory or tooling, which
they then had to rent. It may have been less expensive for the parent companies to supply their own parts than
to rent the old Ives tooling. Some historians have speculated that the Ives tooling was worn out and no
longer suitable for use. A third factor was that Lionel's and Flyer's manufacturing process was less labor
intensive, which made their designs less expensive to manufacture than the Ives designs they replaced.
A notable exception was the Ives #1122 locomotive, first produced in 1929, which was
the first near-to-scale
model of an existing locomotive to enter the marketplace. Although it had a 4-4-2 wheel configuration,
it was otherwise a recognizable copy of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad President Washington Class
4-6-2 locomotive. Lionel and American Flyer sent staff to Ives, who in cooperation with Ives management, reorganized
the line to achieve lower production costs. Previously Ives rolling stock had been laboriously constructed. Mostly
made up of small pieces of tin, soldered together and often hand detailed. The new management team quickly stopped
production of the old car bodies and replaced them with their own products. American Flyer gave Ives their new 19”
passenger cars as well as their new line of freight cars. Why Coleman agreed to this has been a long debate among
collectors. Speculation was that this was in return for the Ives #1134 Steam locomotive casting
which with modification became the #4694 and #4660 - Flyer’s first wide gauge steamers.
Whatever the reasons, the Ives product line after 1928 inherited many
recognizable traits from three
different companies' product lines. This period is referred to by collectors as the transition era.
When the 1928 Catalog appeared it showed hybrid pieces made from the American Flyer bodied freight cars. Ives offered
a total of 9 different freight cars in 1928-29. These consisted of the #20-190 tank car, #191 Coke car, #20-192
boxcar, #20-193 stock car, #20-195 caboose, #194 hopper, #20-194 and #20-198 gravel cars, #196 flatcar, and the #197
lumber car. 5 of these used American Flyer bodies with Ives trucks. The rest were made using only Ives parts.
It was during these years that Ives touted the presence of their “color lab.” In the 1929 catalog it is described
that engineers laboriously worked to provide the most striking color schemes for the Ives products. The resulting
products are some of the most beautiful trains ever made. A new feature released in 1928 by Ives was the snake pull
coupler. It pulled from the truck pivot point instead of the end of the car body. It was intended to allow rolling stock
to track better and it worked well. However the Flyer freights were not equipped with the snake pull.
American Flyer bodied freights remained in the Ives catalog through 1929.
During this early part of the transition era, American Flyer passenger car bodies were also
provided and placed on Ives trucks and fited with Ives couplers. The original Ives Black Diamond set is constructed
with these parts. It is considered to be very rare and valuable. The original versions included a drum light on the
rear platform of the observation car. This is a feature that Lionel never offered on any of their observation cars.
American Flyer took over the entire Ives line of clockwork trains in the acquisition. American Flyer
clockwork mechanisms are typically found in many of the later Ives #1, #6, #10, #11, and #17 'O' gauge locomotives. There
are also American Flyer cast windup locos with the Ives name on them from this era. In 1930 the numbers were changed as
well - the #1 became the #10, the #6 became the #66, the #10 became the #100, the #11 became the #110 and the #17 became
the #176. Many of the tenders are found with American Flyer tin-plate wheels and hook type couplers.
In 1930, Lionel purchased Flyer's portion of Ives, and closed the Ives
factory in Connecticut, moving operations to Lionel's New Jersey factory. After Lionel bought out American Flyer’s
shares, they replaced the Flyer bodied cars with their own bodies. They also modified the Ives trucks and
couplers with their own. The Lionel cars also featured Snake pull. Lionel Standard gauge passenger cars #418 Parlor
car, #419 Parlor car, #431 Dining car and #490 Observation car were renumbered as Ives #247, #248, #246 and #249. They
were fitted with six wheel trucks, snake pull couplers, brass steps and American Flyer brass air tanks and shown in
the 1931 Ives catalog. Labels found on the bottoms of these cars read, "Manufactured by the Ives Corporation, Irvington,
N.J." Everything pictutred in the 1931 Ives catalogue was actually 100% Lionel. Lionel even modified
the famous Ives waving boy logo. In 1932 Lionel catalogued and produced the all new Ives Standard gauge 6 wheeled #1766
Pullman, #1767 Mail Baggage car and #1768 Observation that were paired with the Ives #1764E 4-4-4 (b-2-b)
Electric outline locomotive. This set was not very popular at the time and sales were poor, as 1932 was a depression year.
In conjunction with release of the Standard gauge set, Lionel introduced an 'O' gauge version
headed by the #1694E 4-4-4 electric outline locomotive accompanied by three matching cars. The cars were the #1696 Baggage,
#1695 Pullman, and #1697 Observation.
These cars were also available in the #1616X uncataloged Ives set headed by an Ives #258 2-4-0 Steam outline locomotive. According to
McComas and Tuohy, from 1933 through 1937 these cars were sold only in uncataloged sets, usually "Department Store Specials." In 1933
the Ives Lines decals were replaced by rubber-stamped Lionel Lines and new rubber-stamped numbers of #1685-6-7. Lionel continued
issuing these cars in 1934 painted dark red with maroon roofs and underframes. Lionel continued to release the cars in other
colors in sets of varing car combinations, headed by many different locomotives, through 1935. The Standard gauge and 'O' gauge sets
have become very popular with current day collectors. They are however, very rare and hard to find. It is widely specultated
that Lionel, in its efforts to move the slow selling product, shipped all of these sets overseas. This is born out by the fact
that almost all rare Lionel/Ives sets from 1931-1932 were obtained from owners outside the United States. The Ives 4-4-4 engines
were the only unique locomotives sold by Ives after the move to New Jersey. Reproductions have been made by several manufacturers
and there are many more repros in existence than originals.
Lionel continued to build Ives trains
through 1931 when train sales plummeted. Lionel kept the Ives brand on the
market through 1932, then repositioned Ives for 1933, branding its entry-level trains as Lionel-Ives. The Ives name was
dropped altogether in 1934. All Ives inventory was evidently shipped overseas by the Lionel Export department.
Although re-issues were occasionally made,
the Ives name never re-appeared on the marketplace with any kind of regularity. Lionel mostly wanted Ives
for their superior and patented three position reversing unit. The Ives transition pieces, from both manufacturers,
are scarce and desirable. A combination of small production runs, and the short amount of time in which they were
produced have made them some of the most prized trains ever manufactured, and highly sought after and prized by
Although Joshua Lionel Cowen would later claim that he dumped all of the Ives molds in the Connecticut
River, Ives' influence lived on. Lionel continued the Ives practice of issuing low-end train sets that
ran on a circle of 'O' gauge track with a 27-inch radius, and Lionel incorporated some Ives-designed freight
cars into its product line. The Lionel #1680 tanker car, for instance, was an Ives design that remained in
Lionel's catalogs right up to the start of World War II. Even more significantly, the Ives e-unit first
introduced in 1924 lived on in Lionel locomotives, with a modified version of the Ives design first
appearing in Lionel trains starting in 1933. Some historians have said Cowen coveted the Ives e-unit,
and that it was the primary reason Lionel bought the company. It would remain present in Lionel trains
for more than 50 years.
Ives #124 Series 9" Freight Cars in 'O' gauge
The Ives name is owned by Lionel LLC. Ives products are not produced regularly today except
occasional reproductions by licensed third parties. Because of the popularity of the original items with collectors
and operators, there has been a very wide assortment of Ives train reproductions. In the 1970's,
Williams Trains licensed the rights, and manufactured reproductions of some of
the the classic Ives trains such as the #1694 from 1932. Also in the 1970's,
Varney & Sirus created reproductions of the transition era Prosperity cars and
the Olympian. In the 1980's, Rich-Art issued a reproduction of the Ives Model
#3245L Cascade electric bi-polar locomotive from the late 1920's. Richart also made reproduction versions
of the Ives standard gauge #241 Club car, #242 Parlor car, and #243 Observation car. More recently,
M.T.H. Tinplate Traditions has issued several Standard gauge reproductions of classic
1920's and 1930's locomotives, passenger cars and freight equipment, including the popular #3236 Ives
Electrics, the #3245R in wide gauge, the Ives Black Diamond passenger set, the Ives National Limited 4
car #240 series Wide gauge passenger set, and the Ives version of the #1134 4-4-2 Steam Outline locomotive.
In 2007, M.T.H. released the reproduction Lionel-Ives #1694E set in 'O' gauge. The #1764E has been reproduced in
Standard gauge by M.T.H., James Cohen and by Pride Lines.
Pride Lines also reproduced two versions of the Ives glass domed train shed (24" and 18") and the classic
lithographed tinplate Ives station that is normally paired with these sheds. James Cohen is also famous for
his reproductions of the very rare and beautiful Lionel bodied tinplate passenger cars sold by Ives in 1930.
Original Ives toys are highly sought after by collectors.
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