Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Photography Inspires Lionel Trains and EverReady Batteries!

Bet you didn't know that was true - did you? But true it is and in this only "slightly related to photography" story, here is how it came about. LaDawn and I were sitting around the other night watching - are you ready - The Antique Roadshow - I know, we don't have much of a life, do we? But, a guest brings on a collector's Lionel train - it was the appraiser's story that floored me.

It seems Mr. Joshua Lionel Cowen was quite the inventor and invented an igniter for photographic flash powder in 1899. This went nowhere so he used the same technology to win a contract from the Navy for supplying 24,000 underwater fuses that same year. With the money Mr. Cowen made from the Navy, he started Lionel Trains the next year in 1900.

He also invented a contraption consisting of batteries and light-bulbs that was supposed to illuminate flower pots, but this idea never went anywhere so he sold the technology to Conrad Hubert who ditched the flower pot and went on to start the EverReady Battery company with the technology. You can read the whole Joshua Lionel Cowen story right here. Hey, with this kind of scintillating news you get here at DigitalProTalk - why would you ever go anywhere else?


  1. You're right, how could I go anywhere else! Train fan over here. Love looking at the model trains, photographing them, etc. Great to hear where it all came from! Thanks again!!!

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