Lionel Trains, Model Trains, Model Railroads, Toy Trains

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The MPC (General Mills) Era

The bankrupt Lionel Corporation sold the tooling for its then-current product line and licensed the Lionel name to General Mills in 1969, who then operated Lionel as a division of its subsidiary Model Products Corporation. General Mills did not buy the company, however. Lionel Corporation went on to reorganize as a chain of toy stores.

Due to General Mills' cost-cutting measures, production of Lionel-branded toy and model trains returned to profitability, but sometimes at the expense of quality. Detail was often sacrificed, and most of the remaining metal parts were replaced with molded plastic.

In 1982, General Mills moved production of the trains from the United States to Mexico, an unpopular move that was reversed by 1984. The brand was sold to Kenner-Parker in 1985 and sold again in 1986, this time to a railroad enthusiast real estate developer from Detroit, Michigan named Richard Kughn.

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