History[ edit ] Early history: —[ edit ] Hornby Clockwork Trains advertisement, from 21 December issue of The radio Times Radio Times - - p cropped A characteristic logotype Hornby O gauge tinplate models Hornby was at first a tradename for the railway productions of Meccano Ltd and based in Liverpool , which released its first train, a clockwork 0 gauge model, in An electric train soon followed but was under-designed and the few that were made were sold in France. In , a much more successful electric model was introduced, operating on the high voltage of volts AC power. Safety concerns saw low voltage 4V and then 6V motors introduced, followed by a reliable 20V AC system, which was developed in the early s.
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History[ edit ] Early history: —[ edit ] Hornby Clockwork Trains advertisement, from 21 December issue of The radio Times Radio Times - - p cropped A characteristic logotype Hornby O gauge tinplate models Hornby was at first a tradename for the railway productions of Meccano Ltd and based in Liverpool , which released its first train, a clockwork 0 gauge model, in An electric train soon followed but was under-designed and the few that were made were sold in France.
In , a much more successful electric model was introduced, operating on the high voltage of volts AC power. Safety concerns saw low voltage 4V and then 6V motors introduced, followed by a reliable 20V AC system, which was developed in the early s. However, clockwork remained the mainstay of the Hornby 0 gauge trains until and became the only power available in Liverpool-made 0 gauge trains from A factory was established in France, which developed its own range of French outline trains, but Liverpool dominated export activity elsewhere, with large numbers of Hornby trains exported to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Scandinavia.
Hornby attempted to break into the American market by setting up a factory in in Elizabeth, New Jersey , to make American-style trains. These were colourful and attractive, but low-market and only clockwork.
They probably would have failed in the marketplace because several established U. In late , Meccano Ltd. Gilbert Company and Hornby trains had vanished from the U. The leftover inventory was sold in Canada and in the UK and some of the tooling was reused for products in other markets. The locomotives were diecast metal, and the carriages and wagons were generally made of tinplate.
This led to the adoption of OO as a broadly accepted modelling standard in the UK, whereas much of the rest of the world adopted HO scale. As for their O gauge locomotives, electric Hornby Dublo locomotives ran on a third rail electric system with the track built on a pressed tinplate base.
Both OO and HO use the same track gauge, but their scales are different. Beginning as literally "half O gauge", the HO models of continental prototypes at 3. The range expanded quickly, but was curtailed from due to World War II , production being completely suspended in Production resumed after the war but did not reach full capacity until Clockwork models were not produced in 00 scale after the war.
In , a special commemorative model of LNER Class A4 Sir Nigel Gresley was produced, in period packaging, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this introduction. The company was slow to recognise the threat posed by rival manufacturers particularly Triang-Rovex  and to realise the potential of plastic.
In , far too late, Hornby introduced two-rail track and moulded plastic rolling stock the Super Detail series , but even then the system was complicated and difficult to use in comparison to its rivals. With the benefit of hindsight, the policy of keeping the faith with its existing three-rail users whilst bringing the two-rail system to the market was a mistake that cost the company dearly. Meanwhile, the company persisted in producing a range of very old-fashioned 0 gauge models, in completely retooling much of the range instead of taking the opportunity to discontinue it, indicative of major failings at management level.
Remaining stocks of 0 gauge were either scrapped or sold to the local retailer Hattons Model Railways. By Hornby was facing challenges from Palitoy and Airfix , both of which were producing high quality detailed models. Detail on the models was upgraded to make the product line more attractive to adult hobbyists. Zero 1[ edit ] A 16 channel command control system named Zero 1 was introduced in late Advertisements claimed that 16 locomotives could be operated independently at the same time.
Though an important milestone, Zero 1 was not widely successful; the controller units and decoder modules required for the locomotives were expensive, but with clean track and well serviced locos the system worked well. Control of points and other accessories was available in a very simple manner. This was a common issue with command control systems in that time period. Locomotives with no decoder could not be used on a Zero 1 layout either.
The Master Control unit was discontinued in , the Slave controller, Loco Modules, and accessory modules were still available until the late s. The system is still used today by many modellers, highlighted by the demand on such sites like eBay for the items in the second hand market.
Despite being on the market for a short time, Zero 1 had the largest installed base among command control systems in the early s in North America, according to a reader survey done by Model Railroader magazine. The boiler was considerably smaller than the external diameter, surrounded by a thick insulating jacket to prevent burns. It was fuelled by butane gas, from cigarette lighter refills. To provide more torque from the small cylinders, gearing was adeptly hidden between the cranks and the wheels.
The track was of asymmetric moulded plastic units, representing the fishbelly rails of the period. These could be assembled either way round, to give either curved or straight track.
By , the market was extremely tough and Dunbee-Combex-Marx was liquidated, placing Hornby in receivership. It has since been repainted. In , Hornby became Hornby Hobbies and in a management buyout saw the company back on a sound footing.
It went public in Manufacturing was moved to Guangdong province in China in , completed by , in a cost-cutting exercise.
In September Hornby released its first steam-powered 00 gauge locomotive, a model of the record-breaking Mallard. Several other " Live Steam " locomotives have now been produced. Some of the ex-Lima models appear in the main Hornby products list. This range is known as Hornby International. This acquisition also included the Rivarossi line of HO-scale products, also originally from Italy, and the Arnold brand of N-scale products.
They also took over the Spanish model railway company Electrotren. Electrotren had been the Spanish importer for Scalextric , sold in Spain as Superslot. The takeover was at the request of the Spanish company and was not due to obvious financial problems. They have remained independent outside of the Hornby International umbrella.
Airfix fans had been concerned that it could be the end of the brand, but just as the name Hornby was once a tradename of Meccano, Airfix is now a successful tradename of Hornby. Christmas saw the launch of the new Hornby Shop at Margate in Kent , with the visitor centre still under construction. The major reason behind the decline Hornby declared was twofold, with the decline in the number of collecting customers, older customers dying and not being replaced by younger ones , and a general lack of interest in modelling as a hobby in light of the digitization and advancement of the internet games industry.
It also owns a number of established brands in the model railway market. Main article: Lima models Lima was an Italian company that was a popular, affordable supplier of model railway material but market pressures in the mids led to Lima merging with Rivarossi , Arnold , and Jouef.
As of mid , a range of these products has been made available under the Hornby International brand, refitted with NEM couplings and sprung buffers and sockets for DCC decoders. Lima also had a popular OO gauge range much like Hornby, which strengthened the case for acquisition.
The book addresses the repair, maintenance and restoration of these classic model trains in very fine detail. The book has been compiled for over 10 years, all done in Adobe software and as such, all material is very finely presented. The printing will be done in the UK and the book will be hard covered and in size A4 portrait format. The binding will be stitched for easy open book reading and has a total length of pages. It will have one UK distributor and as a privately published book, it will have a limited print run, unless it proves to be very popular. The book has six distinct sections, the first 40 pages are on Dublo technical.
Hornby Dublo 3 Rail
All was well in the s when Meccano was still a magical name, when Hornby trains were in vogue, and Dinky Toys were becoming popular. At this time competition was practically non-existent, Meccano marketing was excellent, and the Hornby group could afford to dictate standards. Jones had been the marketing man and understood the market. The War supplied plenty of work for Meccano, but after the war the lack of resources for toy manufacture caused difficulties.
Hornby Dublo Introduction