Number One Seller Bachmann Model Trains

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The Bachmann brand is the largest seller, in terms of volume in the world. Bachmann Industries is a Bermuda registered Chinese owned company head quartered in Hong Kong. The company was founded in 1833 by Henry Carlisle known as the Carlisle’s firm. In 1899 the company merged with a Philadelphia firm run by Henry G. Bachmann. The company changed its name to Bachmann Brothers by 1902. When WWII started they made sunglasses for the United States Army Air Force. Bachmann Brothers was awarded the Army-Navy “E” Award for their war effort.

In 1966 N scale model railroading became popular, so Bachmann entered the train market in 1968. The rail cars were packaged in white jewel cases. The company then entered the HO scale market in 1970. In 1973 they changed the jewel cases to black and in 1978 they changed the logo to the one used today and packed the train in blue jewel cases.

In 1988 a GE 44 Ton Diesel was released under the Spectrum name which at this time was considered a totally different company. Bachmann introduced a Spectrum HO scale 2-8-0 Consolidation in 1988. This model was selected as “Model of the Year” by Model Railroader magazine readers. The Spectrum name was considered part of Bachmann product line by the year 2000.

Large scale train sets called the Big Haulers was produced in 1990. These trains were G scale with the most famous being the Emmet Kelly Jr. circus train which was introduced in 1993. The Williams Electric Train company was purchased in 2007 giving them the ability to make O scale trains.

Bachmann moved the product line to China in 1992. Later in 2001 they began producing anOn30 scale This was an O scale running on HO track. The company introduced Thomas and Friends in 2002. Several Garden scale models of Thomas and Friends were released. In 2006 they partnered with Lenz Elektronik, GmbH and turned their concentration toward Digital Command Control. Today the HO Spectrum line and DCC on board with most of the N scale line being DCC ready.

Bachmann produced a product after the war that is still a popular accessory for American Flyer and Lionel trains called Plasticville USA. This was model kits of buildings, stores, and homes, for O scale model trains. Later they expanded the Plasticville line to include HO and N scale. In the 1960’s the company produced Nature Craft Kits, Mini-planes, Slot Cars, and military models. They also produced a toy robot called “Toys of Tomorrow. The Slot Cars, planes and robots were dropped.

In 1981 with the declining interest in model railroading the company was sold to the company that manufactured their product the Kader Group. The Kader Group changed the name of the company to Bachmann Industries and used this name to expand worldwide. The company changed the packaging from jewel cases to paper boxes with cellophane windows. The company retooled the manufacturing process starting in 1982 changing the gears in their diesel locomotive from metal to plastic. All of the cars were manufactured in China by 1992. Remember when modeling trains always have fun. For more information on model trains visit

Thank You,
Steve Barnett

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