A history of Hornby




Company founder Frank Hornby applies for a patent to protect his invention “Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for children and young people”

1907
With his patent granted, Hornby establishes Meccano. Factories are built across the world in France, Spain and Argentina

1920
Production continues during the First World War and in 1920 Hornby introduces toy trains. Five years later the first Hornby electric train is produced

1938
The Hornby Dublo ‘00’ launches using cast metal for the bodies rather than pressed metal – but production soon stops when the Second World War begins

1965
As the production of Hornby Dublo ends, Meccano is taken over by Lines Bros and becomes Tri-ang Hornby. Five years later the Tri-ang group disperses and is sold. The model railway system known as Tri-ang Hornby is renamed Hornby Railways

1984
Hornby Hobbies develops the High Speed Train, which soon becomes one of Hornby’s most successful models

1985
The Thomas Series launches to tie-in with the popular children’s books and television series about Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

1995
Hornby manufacturers move to China and create the “Far East” model – a Rebuilt Merchant Navy Class locomotive

2012
Hornby releases one-off London 2012 product samples, themed to represent the Olympics Organising Committee

Yesterday
Hornby issues profit warning after Olympic range fails to sell as much as hoped