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About Lionel Transformers

Described as having tank-like heft, sturdy as the Rock of Gibraltar, and so fortified as to appear impenetrable, the Lionel transformer is remembered by anyone whose fetish for electric toy trains started in the 1950s or earlier. It features sound like something off the Detroit auto assembly line in the mid-20th century, and interestingly enough, the Lionel transformer is not very far removed from the auto industry. Dongan Transformers started business by making voltmeters and ammeters for the budding auto industry in 1909. In 1911, it actually moved to Detroit to be closer to the action. Not long after, as the raucous but leisure-obsessed Roaring 1920s approached, Dongan began making transformers for newly introduced Lionel train sets. A varying line of Lionel transformer models ensued, many found by connecting with reliable eBay sellers online. However, Lionel train owners don?t need to wade through a long list of transformers to find the right one. All are basically designed after its classic ZW transformer, known in train hobbyist circles as the "King of the Hill," the "Grand Daddy," and the "Big Boy." Some, like the ZW-L, updates the ZW with state-of-the-art circuit protection and a whopping 620 watts of output at 36 amps, able to power four trains on separate tracks. However, the matriarchal, 275-watt ZW transformer is still the hobbyist's preference because of its history of performance, endurance, and reliability?essentially the rock of all Lionel transformers.