Category:Ives Trains

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Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Ives Toys logo.jpg
Ives logo 1917.jpg
Ives Toys train logo.jpg

Ives Trains

1868 - 1932

The Ives Manufacturing Company was founded in 1868 by Edward Ives (who was succeeded by his son Harry) to produce toys and novelties, and moved into manufacturing its first range of proper train sets in 1901, after a factory fire destroyed the tooling for its earlier and more primitive toy trains.

Ives Railroad

Ives became the US' biggest manufacturer of toy trains until it was overtaken by its bitter rival Lionel Trains in 1924, with its first electric train produced in 1910 in an attempt to move upmarket and avoid some of the cuthroat competition that had started to break out in the clockwork train market. Like Meccano Ltd. in the UK, Ives benefitted from anti-German feelings after World War One, and also got a sales boost from US anti-German import taxes, which made products from German manufacturers Märklin and Bing more expensive.

Company difficulties

Ives found it increasingly difficult to compete at the low end of the market, and Harry Ives stepped down as company president in 1927 to make way for Charles R. Johnson, with the company going into receivership in 1928.

Ives Manufacturing was bought out jointly by Lionel Trains and American Flyer, who produced new Ives models that were partly influenced by the new owners. In 1932, Lionel then bought out American Flyer's share, and got rid of the old Ives tooling, with production then shifted to Lionel's own factory in New Jersey. "New Jersey" Ives product appeared in 1931 and 1932, but in 1933, Lionel renamed the brand Lionel-Ives, and then dropped the Ives name altogether as a persistent brand.

Although the Ives name did appear again intermittently from time to time, the last date for Ives as an independent brand is generally reckoned to be 1932 (although some would say that "pure" Ives production ended when the factory was closed, or perhaps when the company was bought out and started producing hybridised pieces influenced by its new owners).

Ives Trains locomotive 1129, in the Ward Kimball collection, photo by Chris Littledale

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