Roy Cohn Esq. who was Sen McCarthy right hand man ran Lionel Trains from 1959-1963??

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Roy Cohn Esq. who was Sen McCarthy right hand man ran Lionel Trains from 1959-1963??
Posted by divebardave on Thursday, January 30, 2020 3:15 AM

According to Wikipedia yes he was part of a cabal that took over Lionel from 1959-1963..Wikipedia says that was one of Lionels worst years but many of us have fond memories of those years,,,It was the General Mills years from 1969-1985 which was the darkest years...Maybe Roy despite his bad press may have had some redeaming qulities like being a railfan..

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Posted by Roger Carp on Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:03 AM

To learn more about Lionel in the 1960s, including the early years when Roy Cohn served as chairman of the board and supervised the company, you will want to pick up a copy of the next special-interest publication from Classic Toy Trains--Lionel in the 1960s.

This 100-page publication consists of about 60 percent material previously published in the magazine and 40 percent brand-new material I have researched and written.


LIonel in the 1960s will be out by the end of March. You can place orders for it by going to


I'll look foward to hearing what CTT readers think of our latest special publication after it comes out.


Roger Carp

Senior editor


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Posted by ADCX Rob on Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:53 AM

...It was the General Mills years from 1969-1985 which was the darkest years...

That's how long it took General Mills to fix a lot of the damage done during the Cohn years which brought on single axle drive diesels and traction tires in 1962-63. MPC fixed the diesel drive immediatley in 1970 and by 1976 with the cataloging of the 8600 you could see the company was going in the right direction.


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Posted by divebardave on Thursday, January 30, 2020 6:36 PM Somehow the idea that Roy Cohn was the devil incarnate does not sit well with me and is too simple for such a complicated man..He was a Lawyer and strong Jew who did his job extremely well in a era that saw the death of Hoffa and the rise of Trump...He was a well spoken man who was the last of the cold warriers. relationship with Lionel Trains may have had to do with his love of his mother and saving the last of his familys buisness and there good name-But six years later the toy train company, threatened from within and without, was traveling a rough road. Joshua Cowen and his son Lawrence were locked in a custody fight over control of the firm, and slot cars were taking market share from model trains. During the summer of 1959 a syndicate of investors headed by Cowen’s grand nephew, the famous Washington attorney Roy Cohn, began buying up company shares. By October, Cohn and his associates had taken over the company. This, incidentally, was the same Cold Warrior Roy Cohn who became an implacable enemy of the American Left after prosecuting the atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and after joining Joe McCarthy in what has been called the “Second Red Scare.” Cohn prominently represented McCarthy as chief counsel in the Army-McCarthy hearings that became notorious when the Senator persisted in the false claim that a long list of traitors had infiltrated the United States State Department.

After the fortunes of the Lionel Corporation declined precipitously over the next four years of Cohn’s leadership a proxy fight in 1963 forced him from company control. Cohn continued a successful legal career, however, representing diverse clients that included mafia bosses, the Archdiocese of New York, and the New York Yankees. He also became a confidant of the FBI’s lifelong director, J. Edgar Hoover. Still, the combative Cohn had his own legal problems with tax authorities and bar associations. Federal prosecutors charged Cohn with witness-tampering, perjury, fraud, and other crimes. The controversial lawyer lost his license to practice law a month before his death from AIDS in 1986.-from-  

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Posted by divebardave on Friday, January 31, 2020 2:11 PM

I am not so sure that Roy Cohn was as a bad man as historians make him out to be...From his takeover of Lionel he was trying to save his families buisness he was .. and he beleived he was a patriot trying to fight the cold war.

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Posted by thesiding on Friday, January 31, 2020 7:00 PM

OH YES HE DID         Thats how I learned about cold war politics collecting Lionel as a teen in early eighties!  


Go top you tube look for Rhinebeck Historical society channel disscussion about Lionel Trains         hear reaction when the name Roy Cohn comes up

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