Hornby

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#1
G'day.....I'm in friendly but foreign territory here ( I model in HO) . Louis (Bruette) has taught me so much about this great scale, not least about Lionel..I was wondering how many of the American members have had experience of Hornby from England.....Their mainstay is OO or Dublo as they call it 1:76 scale but they have a pretty decent history in O Scale too...I think it's both 2 and 3 rail....but I could be wrong...definitely do O scale though...In Australia , as kids , most of us had a link to Hornby in some way....Did Hornby make a dent in the US market but I expect with the iconic Lionel range and history , probably not..If you go to You Tube type in Hornby O Scale you'll find numerous videos on the English brand....Just interested on what the O ers ....think in comparison to American items...I'd say the type of rolling stock would be a glaring difference especially in the vintage styles...but that'd hold true with Hornby OO to HO too most likely... Cheers Rod....
 
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#2
I have a couple of Hornby oo scale drop side wagons. Been looking at their steam locos too.


Sent from Pete's Pad using Tapatalk
 
#3
G'day Pete......Thanks....English rolling stock is a bit unique ...even by our standards here in Australia...Ours , especially container cars and hoppers are much like the US R/S in many ways..The old English stuff is mostly only four wheels , not eight....Hornby also are part owners of the Tri-ang range too...Very similar to how it is with Lionel and American Flyer I believe....Steam locos very individualistic I think...Modern diesels totally different...but the tubular track and Hornby ballasted track ...looks to me a lot like Fastrack and the Lionel tubular track...Thanks again ..Cheers Rod
 

Bruette

Active Member
#5
Hey Rodney!

You got me curious about Hornby now too, I doing some research and I hope to contribute something informative to this thread in the future.
 
#6
G'day Louis...Thanks.....Especially good coming from someone like yourself with a huge passion for the scale that pretty much all others found their origins from.. I didn't ever have Hornby myself as a kid , nor since....but as with Lionel , American Flyer...etc from way back...it is a company steeped in tradition and deserves respect..At one stage I believe Tri-ang was a rival with Hornby...something akin to Lionel and American Flyer but ended up being partners but retaining the nameplates...I think you mentioned in another thread that Williams and Bachmann have done similar ensuring that all these great names don't silently fade into history without a whimper....Now that's what I call innovative and a lesson to other corporations in other fields...Cheers Rod
 

AndrewC

Mostly Harmless
#7
Hi guys. Just a couple of clarifications about Hornby. They stopped producing O scale in the 60's. Back in the 30's they'd established a factory in New Jersey hoping to break into the US market. This was later sold off to Gilbert.

Hornby Dublo was a brand name of Hornby Meccano and ceased to be in 1963. Tri-ang bought the company and the Triang 1:76 scale stuff was rebranded Triang-Hornby. The old Hornby Dublo became Wrenn Railways. Some of the tooling was transferred to Dapol after Wrenn closed. Triang (Lines brothers, Rovex, Dunbee-Combex-Marx, etc) went bust several times and finally the company today is just known as Hornby. It now owns Arnold, Riverossi, Lima, Joeuf, Corgi, Airfix, and Humbrol paints.

Their products from the 80s and early 90s were to be honest, crap. Their latest goods are now produced in China and some of the motor, gearing, and drive mechanisms share components with Proto. (at one time they shared part of the Sanda Kan factory with Athearn as well)

Hope the info helps. I won't go into the magic roundabout of some of the tooling ownership with British models. It would make your head spin.
 

AndrewC

Mostly Harmless
#8
Oops. Missed they also own Scalextric cars, and also acquired the Bassett-Lowke brand from Corgi. This is/was an O scale range with company origins in the 1800s. However, I don't think Hornby have released anything under that brand since they bought Corgi in 2008.
 
#9
G'day Andrew , Pete , Louis THANKS.....You are indeed very correct...Basset Lowke are apparently a high end manufacturer of O Gauge .however they do 1:43 not 1:48..and part of Corgi who are now part of the vast group of iconic British companies who are part of Hornby Trains..I suppose by that definition, indirectly Hornby have a foot in the door of O Gauge on that front , however their mainstay is the very popular OO 1:76 scale...It seems though that vintage Hornby O is pretty big and there are lots of great videos featuring them which is why I thought Hornby still did O Gauge...Sorry about that....They are involved in N Gauge I believe but DUBLO will be the bread and butter...I think Lima , and I know Tri-ang are hugely involved with Hornby too....Great info Andrew , Thanks/Cheers Rod...(PS...I like O Gauge very much indeed , not enough room or availability to do it justice here though so I'll stay a committed HO modeller which I'm thrilled and happy to be ).
 

AndrewC

Mostly Harmless
#10
Hi Rodney, at the moment in the UK there are only 2 O scale manufacturers of ready to run. Dapol and the Danish firm, Heljan. Everything else is kits or custom builders. Bassett-Lowke hasn't released anything since Hornby's takeover. The B-W website is gone and only directs to Hornby's main page. Sad, but it was extremely expensive and to be honest not up to today's detail or running quality. Think of somebody dusting off old Gilbert or 50's vintage Lionel tooling and producing something without using any updated technology or methods. When Corgi reintroduced the range it really sold as an upscale rich person's nostalgia toy.

Hornby's N range is limited to European models in the Arnold branding, and the Liddle End series of resin cast buildings. Lots of rumours of them doing N locos and stock but nothing has come of them. The UK is well provided for with N from Dapol and Farish (Bachmann). Again, Dublo and Tri-ang are brands that ceased to exist many years ago. anything you see with Dublo on it pre-dates 1963. Anything with Tri-ang or Tri-ang Hornby is older than 1979. The Lima name is now only used for European models with their old UK OO scale tooling having been transferred to Hornby. Most of that is now marketed under their basic "Railroad" branding.

Don't forget that in the UK O does represent 7mm = 1' scale or 1:43 as opposed to the American standard of 1:48. The reasons for this and for OO being 1:76.2 as opposed to using HO scale are long and complex and date back nearly 100 years.

To add more confusion, when Hornby took over the bankrupt Lima company (Lima, Riverossi, Jouef, Arnold) some of the Italian employees formed their own company called Vi-Trains. Again that is all in 4mm scale. aka OO pronounced "double oh". Where as Dublo was pronounced as "duu bluh oh" usually contracted to sound like "duu blow".
 
#11
G'day Andrew.....Great info....I think you've covered all the bases...Thanks.....You obviously know your stuff....The whole reason I began this thread was I found some O Gauge Hornby videos and a really good friend and a great forum person , Louis Bruette , is a keen and passionate Lionel person and really knows more than most on this great company..I was keen to see what he , and other American O Guage'ers in the USA thought of the similarly great British iconic company...especially on the strength of many good You Tube videos....Like you I am a HO modeller so my overall O Gauge knowledge isn't a great deal although Louis has taught me heaps already on Lionel particularly.
I'm glad you've cleared that up and was surprised to see you mention DAPOL as one other O Gauge maker..I knew of their scenery etc stuff but not of O Gauge building..Wow. The history of Hornby is still of great interest..Never done OO...dabbled in N to start but I love doing HO American BNSF/ATSF/BN transition to current stuff
Cheers again Rod....
 

AndrewC

Mostly Harmless
#12
Hi Again Rodney. I used to do the Tri-ang / Hornby repairs for a shop in Canada when I lived there. Back then I modelled in OO and British N. Since moving to the UK I've shelved my OO, sold off the N, and now model NW US and Canada in HO. Contrary or what?

I do have a few bits in UK O. All kits. Dapol are growing my leaps and bounds. Originally they were just producing bits from the old Wrenn (Dublo) tooling, and some of the old Airfix GMR that didn't end up with Bachmann. Then they started concentrating on N scale. Most recently they've got a small range of new OO models and some 7mm scale wagons and an as yet to be released O loco.
 

AndrewC

Mostly Harmless
#14
Cheers Louis. Interesting to see how many of those people have recently left the company. At the moment Hornby is going through quite the upheaval. The manufacture of Humbrol paints has been brought back to the UK from China due to quality issues. Airfix kits are in the middle of being moved from China. The main railway manufacturing has suffered all sorts of issues which are related to the same problems that Athearn, Walthers, Atlas, etc have had. Sanda Kan is/was one of the largest toy factories in the world. The original owner retired then passed away. Company went down hill fast, got bought out by Kader (Bachmann) who cancelled most of their competition's manufacturing contracts.

Getting back to the vintage Hornby I see the annual vintage exhibition is next weekend. http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/events/9014-31stAnnualVintageHornbyTrainExhibition This is great for me as its in walking distance. Assuming the Mrs doesn't have plans for me I'll wander over and take some photos.
 

tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#15
Just came upon this thread, thought I'd chime in with my O gauge experience. Goes back to the late 1940's in NZ when my parents gave me my first Hornby train set. Have often wondered how on earth they managed it with the rationing of everything that was the norm back then. There was a 4-4-2 LNER tank engine (clockwork) and a couple of wagons, although I can't remember what they were and an oval of tinplate track. This set would have been one of the more expensive made before WW2, with that type of loco.

I found a pic of it on google
580_l[1].jpg Unfortunately I think the governor must have been faulty 'cause it used to take off like a rocket and fly off the oval at the slightest excuse, always derailing the bogies (trucks). My father made a track down the wooden floor of the hall in the house we rented, from 1/4" Quad (1/4 round) wood moulding, tacked down. Me at one end to set it off and he to catch it at the other end. Later they advanced me to a Dublo electric set and the clockwork stuff was sold.

Never saw another till about 5 years ago, at our local Brisbane Model Train Show where there was a layout exhibit featuring lots of this old tinplate gear, would've been about 20'x 12' with what must have been just about everything Hornby had made back then. There was "my" loco, still with the keyhole in the side, but now electrified. Really enjoyed seeing that.
 

Bruette

Active Member
#16
Great Story! Fit for a King!

Thank you for sharing that, you won't read that in model railroading magazine!

Just came upon this thread, thought I'd chime in with my O gauge experience. Goes back to the late 1940's in NZ when my parents gave me my first Hornby train set. Have often wondered how on earth they managed it with the rationing of everything that was the norm back then. There was a 4-4-2 LNER tank engine (clockwork) and a couple of wagons, although I can't remember what they were and an oval of tinplate track. This set would have been one of the more expensive made before WW2, with that type of loco.

I found a pic of it on google
View attachment 45978 Unfortunately I think the governor must have been faulty 'cause it used to take off like a rocket and fly off the oval at the slightest excuse, always derailing the bogies (trucks). My father made a track down the wooden floor of the hall in the house we rented, from 1/4" Quad (1/4 round) wood moulding, tacked down. Me at one end to set it off and he to catch it at the other end. Later they advanced me to a Dublo electric set and the clockwork stuff was sold.

Never saw another till about 5 years ago, at our local Brisbane Model Train Show where there was a layout exhibit featuring lots of this old tinplate gear, would've been about 20'x 12' with what must have been just about everything Hornby had made back then. There was "my" loco, still with the keyhole in the side, but now electrified. Really enjoyed seeing that.
 

tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#18
Now that is going back in time, especially with by Meccano Ltd on the track. A school friend of mine had the black loco, but marked for NZR. Are they pre-war, the couplers on mine and his were the hook and loop type, early1950's.
 
#19
Mine are all post-war. Anything with the sprung steel loop coupling was pre-war. The Peco style of coupling was introduced when Dublo was relaunched on the market in 1947. The two in my post would have been made some time between 1949 (earlier models had a different magnet) and 1953, when Hornby finally reissued their models in British Railways colours.
 



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