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The Leland Detroit Monorail.
The Leland-Detroit company made these nice toy monorails in the late 1920's or early 30's.

Note: This is a draft document. If you have comments or information about this page, please drop me a note - Terry Gibbs

Henry M. Leland (b. Feb. 16, 1843; d. March 26, 1932 or 37), had a company named "Leland and Faulconer." Leland and Faulconer was a foundry started possibly as early as 1870. The Leland and Faulconer Company later became involved in the automobile business. In 1903, Henry Leland and his son Wilfred purchased the Detroit Automobile Company, renamed the business Leland-Detroit and began manufacturing cars under the brand name Cadillac. (As a side note: Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was the founder of Detroit, and no I don't know what became of Mr. Faulconer.) On July 29, 1909, General Motors bought Cadillac. GM President William C. Durant asked the Lelands to continue to run the company and they agreed.

Henry Leland left GM and went back to running Leland-Detroit when the first world war began. In 1920, he began producing automobiles again, this time using the name Lincoln. In November 1921, the Lelands were forced to declare bankruptcy. Edsel Ford, convinced his father Henry to purchase the company at the receiver's sale in January 1922. On the right is an undated photo from The Detroit News of the Lelands (on left) with the Fords.

Here are some pictures of the monorail.

The Monorail runs on 6 to 12 volts. Any common toy train transformer will power it. The motor is mounted above the powered car and has a hand reverse. The Monorail gets its power from the two rails it hangs on. The rail is a U shaped channel. Two rails are riveted to a fiberboard seperator. The rails hang from wire hangers that also serve to keep the rail sections together. Two variations of the hangers are known. The first has hangers of different heights so the monorail can go up an down a distance of about four inches. The other variation has hangers of the same height. The different sized hangers are numbered. the hangers plug into red painted cast iron feet that support and provide balance for the monorail.

The set came with a powered unit and two unpowered trail cars. The cars use the same stampings in their construction as the powered unit except the powered unit has two additional holes in it to mount a cast iron counterweight. The lettering is the same on all cars- "2000 MONO ELEVATED" and "MONO ELEVATED 2000;" and as far as I know only red and yellow sets were made.

There are two large base six volt automotive style light bulbs in each car. The bulbs wired in series so they do not burn out at the higher voltages required by the motor. This is the first use of a bayonet style bulb in a toy train.

I have seen advertisements by collectors seeking switches and crossings for these monorails, but have never seen any track except curved and straight sections. I doubt that they exist. How would they work? There is probaly an advertisement mentioning switches, but they may not have been manufactured due to complexity and the Depression.

Ron Morris of the Train Collectors Association's Library and Historical Committee sent me the following information:

The inventor of record for the Leland-Detroit Monorail trains is George C. Henderson. He was granted five patents pertaining to toy monorails. Two that were used by L-D in the 1930s era and three were granted after WWII. (I have no information as to whether there were any made and sold using the postwar patents.) Altho pictured in the L-D catalog, no monorail switches have surfaced, not even the engineering samples used in the catalog photo.
Ron is


Patent Number

Monorail Trolley
Monorail Track
Monorail Trolley
Monorail Track Support
Monorail Track

I will add more information as it becomes availible.
Terry Gibbs

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