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Bachmann Industries (Bachmann Brothers, Inc.) is a Bermudamarker registered Chinesemarker owned company, globally head quartered in Hong Kongmarker; specialising in model railroading.

Founded and with its North American headquarters based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, Bachmann is today part of the Kader group, who model products are made at a Chinese Government joint-venture plant in Dongguanmarker, Chinamarker. Bachmann's brand is the largest seller, in terms of volume, of model trains in the world. Bachmann primarily specializes in inexpensive high quality entry-level train sets sold in the mass market. The turnover for Bachmann model trains for the year ended December 31, 2006 was approximately $46.87 million, a slight increase of 3.36% as compared to 2005.


Founded in 1833 by Henry Carlisle, the company originally specialized in vanity products such as parasol handles and Spanish combs made of ivory horns. Its target market was aristocracy in the American South and Louisiana. After the Civil War it continued to make other types of hair ornaments and handles for walking canes now out of Tortoise shell and ivory. In 1899 Carlisle's firm merged with a competing firm run by Henry G. Bachmann and changed its name to Bachmann Bros. By 1902 Bachmann Bros. started to use celluloid for its products and by 1912 introduced optical frames that were made from it. It was around this time that Bachmann Bros. began experimenting in plastic. In 1927, shortly before they moved to their final Philadelphia address, they became the first American manufacturer of sunglasses. The line, "Solarex" would become very popular worldwide and would later be purchased by the US Army and United States Army Air Force for their personnel during WWII. During WWII Bachmann Bros. was awarded the coveted Army-Navy "E" Award for outstanding contribution to the war effort by an American company.

Other notable products include Birds of the World Model kits, Plasticville U.S.A., shooting glasses for Winchester Repeating Arms Company (now the U.S. Repeating Arms), and Stein Eriksen ski goggles.


Following the war's end, Bachmann came up with the product which made their name a household word..."Plasticville USA" essemble yourself kit of homes, stores, and other buildings to enhance train layouts. Plasticville USA products are still popular accessories for Lionel and American Flyer trains. Bachmann's Plasticville products, originally in O scale, and later expanded to H0 scale, and N scale were originally manufactured by Bachmann in Philadelphia, but later manufactured in Hong Kong. They have been made exclusively in China by plastics molding manufacturer Kader Holdings Company Limited since 1999. The hobby of collecting Plasticville has increased in recent years to the point that the Plasticville Collectors Association was founded in 1999 and incorporated in 2001.

Plastic models and other toys

During the 1960s Bachmann produced plastic models of animals (Animals of the World series, Birds of the World series, and Dogs of the World series) called Nature Craft Kits. They also produced their own Mini-planes, Slotcars, military models (with Fujimi) that include fighter planes, helicopters, and Tanks; and toy robots called "Toys of Tomorrow" (with Tomy). Bachmann would drop the toy robots within a couple of years. The Bachmann-Fujimi models would be dropped during the 1970s. Bachmann dropped Slot Cars and Mini-Planes from its product lines after the Kader takeover (see below) but instead entered the Radio-controlled Model market. In 1982 they revived their Nature Craft Kits as Birds of the World. By 1987 they have dropped all other toys and only concentrated on Model Trains and Accessories. In 1998 Bachmann did try to sell a short lived product, a radio controlled motorcycle.


Because of the sudden popularity of N scale model railroading around 1966, Bachmann entered the trains market by starting its N scale trains products in June 1968, with cars packaged in white jewel cases. However, problems of initial run led to a retooling the following year. In 1970 Bachmann entered the HO trains market. A second retooling occurred around 1973, when trains started to be packaged in black jewel cases . In 1978 Bachmann changed its logo to the present one. Trains began to be packaged in blue jewel cases. Bachmann Bros. held exclusive licenses to produce models of trains manufactured by Budd Company Passenger trains and United Aircraft's high-speed train.

Kader Purchase

In light of dwindling interest in model railroading, the Crowther Brothers decided, in 1981, to sell to their manufacturer, the Kader Group. Kader changed the name to Bachmann Industries and used the new brand to expand worldwide, such as the European market. It is also part of the strategy to take over other failing companies in Europe and put them under one single name. The packaging changed from plastic jewel cases to white paper boxes with cellophane window. Starting from 1982 Bachmann began to slowly retool individual product lines one by one. A typical example would be the replacement of metal gears to plastic ones in the Diesel locomotives. By 1992 all cars were manufactured in China.

Big Haulers

In 1990 Bachmann started to produce large scale train sets called the Big Haulers. These G scale models include trains, shays, and also streetcars. Their most famous line is the Emmett Kelly Jr. circus trains, introduced in 1993.


A Bachmann Spectrum 44Ton.
In 1988 Bachmann introduced the "Spectrum" line of higher quality equipment, including updated motors, more realistic paint schemes, and better detail. Spectrum was considered a totally different company from the regular Bachmann company. The initial offering was a GE 44 Ton Diesel. Later on, the Spectrum line expanded to include a Pennsylvania Railroad K-4 Pacific, an EMD GP30, and a General Electric Dash 8-40C. In 1998, Bachmann introduced their Spectrum H0 scale 2-8-0 Consolidation, which was selected "Model of the Year" by the readers of Model Railroader magazine. By 2000 Spectrum was no longer considered a separate product and became one of the Bachmann product lines, as Spectrum was finally included in Bachmann's regular catalogs.

Today and DCC

In an effort to gap the quality between the Spectrum brand and the regular Bachmann trains, Bachmann introduced a mid ranged "Bachmann plus" series in 1992 when production was moved to China. Eventually the entire product line would be upgraded to the quality of the plus series which led to the drop of the plus series and the birth of the current silver series in 1997. Bachmann doubled the MSRP of its products, and cars are now packaged in clear plastic display jewel cases. In 2001, Bachmann started to produce trains in On30 scale (O scale on HO tracks).

Since 2006 Bachmann has been concentrating on implementing a Digital Command Control ("DCC") system and products in its product lines, with the help and partnership of the German company, Lenz Elektronik, GmbH. Bachmann is expected to release its Dynamis DCC system in 2007, which would enable Bachmann to catch up with the rest of the other DCC companies technological wise. Currently Bachmann H0 Spectrum lines are DCC onboard, while the vast majority of its N Spectrum lines are DCC ready.

Global expansion

As well as introducing its own brands to North America, Kader, under the Bachmann brand, built itself up as the largest volume seller of model railways by purchasing other failing companies, using the Bachmann name to front a series of purchases in the rest of the world to combat the then poor perceptions of Hong Kong based production quality.

By 1985 Bachmann had established agencies in Corcieuxmarker, Francemarker, and also in Bolognamarker, Italymarker.

In 1989 a European division was set up initially reusing the molds previously used for the Palitoy Mainline model railway products to create the Bachmann Branchline models. It took over Palitoy's location and established its European headquarters in Barwell, Leicestershire, England, which continues today as the Bachmann UK headquarters.

In 1991 Bachmann established a sales office in Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, but had it closed down in 1996.

In 1992 it bought Liliput of Austria, and established its Continental Europe headquarters in Fürthmarker, Germanymarker. In 1997 it moved to Altdorf bei Nürnbergmarker, Germanymarker, which continues today as the German Liliput headquarters..

In 2000 it bought Graham Farish.

Bachmann started to work with the Chinese National Railway in 1999, and in 2000 started to produce its first model "East Wind 11 Diesel". Chinese outline models under the Bachmann China name, opening the world's first Bachmann speciality retail shop in Shanghai in 2005. Bachmann China is based in Shanghai.

Kader's business model for each take over, from its original purchase of Bachmann to the present day, is to buy a perceived quality brand in the target market or country. The company then closes local in-country production facilities. Armed with state of the art manufacturing machines and AutoCAD systems, Bachmann then improves quality by re-engineering the models in Hong Kong, and reduces cost by producing the models in its jointly owned plant in Dongguan, China.

In late 2007 Bachmann has been working on purchasing Williams, a move that will enable Bachmann to enter the O scale market.


Presently Bachmann offers trains in H0 scale, N scale (1:160 and 1:148), On30, 00 gauge , HOn30 (H0 scale on N tracks) and G scale around the world, in addition to buildings and accessories:


Bachmann has a Chinese name (百曼) from which Bachmann China derived its Chinese name (百万城, or Million City).

百万城 is part of 上海静瑞实业有限公司, which has a subsidiary called 静安分公司. The latter company in turn sells anything from computers to construction materials. 百万城 seems to be a joint venture of Kader with 上海静瑞实业有限公司, since the latter is a state owned company.

Kader does not have a Chinese name even though it is based in a Chinese speaking country. Since it was a private company for many years and is registered in Bermuda there is no need of having a Chinese name. Kader currently is working on picking a Chinese name so that it can be publicly traded in Hong Kong and China. A Chinese name is required for all companies that are listed in the stock exchanges of both Hong Kong and China. The expected name is 開達集團有限公司.

Z scale is the only popular scales which Bachmann does not produce.

Finance and acquisition

Bachmann Industries USA is currently only engaged in distribution and marketing activities. Its net worth is about $4 million dollars as of 2006. In March 2007 Kader, via Bachmann, acquired 16.5% share of the Robot Factory (Robot Galaxy) for $1 million, plus an extra infusion of $1 million to that company. No further acquisitions of other companies or investments are planned in the near future.


  • "About Us." Bachmann China. />.
  • Bachmann Brothers Catalogue 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1978
  • Bachmann Industries Catalogue 1982, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2006
  • Bachmann Industries European Catalogue 1985
  • Bachmann Industries Spectrum Catalogue 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Bachmann-Liliput. />.
  • Greenberg's Price Guide to N Scale Trains. 1981.
  • Kader Holdings Limited. />.
  • Kader Holdings Limited. 1999 Annual Report.
  • Kader Holdings Limited. 2000 Annual Report.
  • Model Railroader. June 1968.


  1. Kader Industrial Company Limited
  2. 1973 Bachmann Catalog
  3. 1969 Bachmann Catalog
  4. 1971 Bachmann Catalog
  5. 1985 Bachmann Catalog
  6. 1982 Bachmann Catalog
  7. 1987 Bachmann Catalog
  8. 1998 Bachmann Catalog
  9. Model Railroader
  10. 1968 Bachmann Catalog
  11. Greenberg's Price Guide to N Scale Trains. 1981.
  12. 1970 Bachmann Catalog
  13. 1978 Bachmann Catalog
  14. 1992 Bachmann Catalog
  15. 1990 Bachmann Catalog
  16. 1993 Bachmann Catalog
  17. 1997 Bachmann Catalog
  18. 1999 Bachmann Catalog
  19. 2000 Bachmann Catalog
  20. 2001 Bachmann Catalog
  21. 2006 Bachmann Catalog
  22. Bachmann China
  23. Bachmann-Liliput
  24. Bachmann China

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